Richly gripping, nonoccult thriller about telepathic twins- -from the author of Bella Mafia (1991) and writer of the much- acclaimed British PBS series Prime Suspect. Ruda and Rebecca as children were subjects of experiments in telepathy by Dr. Josef Mengele at the Birkenau death camp, where he told them that the stacks of newborn babies they saw weren't dolls but actually loaves about to be baked in the ovens. Carrying deep psychic wounds, the girls were parted when the Russians liberated the camp. Ruda became a child whore in Berlin, dreaming of getting to America and having herself attended to medically. Rebecca went to an orphanage, later was adopted by an American couple, and raised in Philadelphia. A fat, tantrum-y child beset by color- flashes, she grew up to become a pencil-thin New York model and drowned all memory of Ruda. She married Baron Louis de Marechal, lived amid fabulous wealth in Europe, and had four children, but each birth was followed by a mental breakdown. Now, Louis has brought her to Berlin to the hypnotherapy clinic of Dr. Franks, Louis's last hope before committing ``Vebekka'' (she has changed her name). Meanwhile, Ruda has married a dwarf in order to get to America. But he's imprisoned for theft and she moves on to an over- the-hill lion-tamer, Luis Grimaldi, whom she marries and brings back into the circus ring with a pride of great cats. Luis teaches Ruda, and at last she becomes perhaps the world's greatest lion- tamer (and you can believe it: Ruda's many scenes hustling huge hissing cats through their paces keep you rigid). It seems, however, that unbeknownst to the sisters, when they live near each other, Vebekka suffers flashes that signal a breakdown.... A pinch of the paranormal assures massive paralysis of the neckbones as you claw through the pages and hiss for privacy.