Wright's police detective Karl Alberg solves another murder in the British Columbian village of Sechelt. Here, as in her A Chill Rain in January (1990), Sleep While I Sing, (1986), and The Suspect (1985), Wright has created live-wire characters plugged into unhealthy vibes. Alberg and librarian friend Cassandra are on a boating holiday when the body of Steven Grayson, belted with a money cache of thousands, plummets from a high cliff. Approaching Steven on the cliff, observed only by him and the reader, is handsome, charismatic, unforgettable Bobby Ransome. Returned from eight-plus years in jail for drug dealing, Bobby is the James Dean of Sechelt--sexy, affable, but with eyes that ``kind of glowed empty.'' He's had affairs with two women: Wanda, whom he'd married and divorced while in prison; and Annabelle, now a married mother of three, battered, and once again Bobby's passionate lover. In the August heat, sunburnt Alberg sleuths and grapples for clumsy knots of coincidence, but it's Bobby, the good boy on a bad spin, who inadvertently sets things to rights. Wright's portrait of a fallen angel is bright and appealing, and Alberg, the heavily earthbound cop, is always good company. Although some characters tend to dim when the troublemaker flicks on, still this is an involving psycho-study of exotic varieties of human nastiness with a lively mystery attached.