Somewhere between Miami, where she called to let him know she was boarding the plane, and Philadelphia, where he waited in vain for her to get off, PI Dave Garrett's girlfriend Kate McMahan disappeared. Cold feet, says the local law; she probably just went back to her husband. But Frank McMahan, though he isn't exactly thrilled to hear from Dave, assures him that Kate hasn't returned. By now Dave has already gotten on the trail of a shady pair who may have lured Kate off the plane in Harrisburg, and he's off and running. And running...thanks to grit, fear, and an endless bottle of diet pills that keep him awake for three days and nights as he caroms from prostitutes in seedy Chester to drug-dealers outside suburban Selinsgrove to kidnappers who beat him, run him off the road, and frame him for the murders they leave in their wake--to cops who are eager to put him in the frame and lock him up till he dozes off. How bad does it get? ``In the last couple of days I'd hardly had any sleep,'' reflects Dave, ``except for the times I'd been knocked unconscious.'' A nonstop actioner whose breathless plot boldly finesses around the flaw in Dave's three previous adventures (Burning March, 1994, etc.)--their forgettable characters--by keeping Dave on the move past faces that flare up like match flames en route to a satisfyingly bittersweet ending. Albert's best book yet.