Horror writer Cantrell (the paperback The Manse, 1987, etc.) can't quite straddle genres with this attempt at a creepy, Stephen King-like mystery in which ""the Boneman"" (i.e., death) comes to Phoenix City, North Carolina, mesmerizes a few lowlifes, then settles down in several comfy dark alleys waiting for policeman Dallas Reid to come to him. Dal, newly paired with an on-loan FBI agent, pretty Jackie Swann, is hot on the trail of junkies and pushers when he senses that...something is behind him. Jackie feels it, too, and Dal's best pal J.J., a newsman trying to write a superhero series, is soon waylaid by whatever it is. By the time Dal finds J.J., he's clinically dead--but Dal refuses to believe it, heads off in the direction of the creepy something, and the two go mano o mano--with Dal winning, at least this time. J.J. comes back to life; Jackie decides not to go undercover anymore; and Dal, after his brush with death, reexamines his footloose, uncommitted ways. Raises few goosebumps, no hackles, and the mix--nitty-gritty cops-on-stakeout with the ectoplasm from hell--doesn't jell. Likely to disappoint procedural and horror fans both.