Another chapter in the tension-fraught life of p.i. Sharon McCone (Till the Butchers Cut Him Down, 1994, etc.), now heavily infiltrated by computer, cellular phone, fax, and tape recorder. An unidentified bomber (the ``Diplobomber''), who's been responsible for several deaths at diplomatic posts in several cities, is threatening once againthis time the consulate of an Arab emirate in San Francisco. Sharon's friend, Inspector Adah Joslyn, has been appointed to a task force working with the FBI. And Sharon herself has been recruited by the powerful RKI security firm that guards the consulate (and of which her lover, Hy Ripinsky, is a partner). Consul-General Malika Hamid lives at the consulate with her daughter-in-law Mavis, an alcoholic, and her nine-year-old granddaughter Habiba. Son Dawud, according to his mother, disappeared years before. It turns out, however, that he's very much alive, and into big-time gambling, drinking, and lechery, if not worse. After Habiba is almost killed by a package bomb, she and her mother are shipped out to the remote Caribbean island from which Dawud and partner Speed Schechtmann run their phone-betting operation. Mavis never makes it, and Sharon's mission is to rescue Habiba from her father's clutchesa feat that involves rough waters, solo flying, a network of helpers, and more, much more. Meanwhile, Adah has been taken hostage by the bomber, who, after a last, vicious act, will negotiate only with Sharon. You can bet who wins that one, but it isn't easy. Overpopulated and overplotted, but gripping from first-page attention-grabber to last-page irony.