A tidy, compact debut in which four women, seemingly with nothing in common, attend meetings in various hotels in several cities and are joined for a drink by two clean-cut young men. The women wake up hours later with obscene things jammed into assorted body orifices--and a few days later receive blackmail notes and compromising photographs. Victim Suzanne Hilbourne contacts Houston homicide detective Tony MacIver, a chum from high school, and soon he's dodging sniper bullets and a car bomb, hiding her in his apartment complex (where she befriends a young boy who seems terrified of his ""father"" and never goes to school) and lining up a case against his old nemesis The Baron--whom he sent up 15 years ago and who now seems to be the brains behind the rapes/blackmail. Meanwhile, a helicopter blows up, taking with it the two rapists, and MacIver's would-be assassin is plugged before Mac can make his move. A gruesome elevator ride leaves two dead between the fifth and the fourteenth floors and provides a sickening finale to an old grievance. Persuasively detailed (coauthor Gunn is a former S.W.A.T. leader), and, though the motive here is a tad limp, the divorced Mac with his shared custody of cat Priscilla and the abducted-child subplot are first-rate. Nice--and grounds, perhaps, for a sequel.