Immensely skilled and likable page-turner by bestseller DeMille, who returns to the military surroundings of Word of Honor (1985) and whose mastery of background, as with the Long Island rich of The Gold Coast (1990), equals his hand at characterization. One moonlit night at Port Hadley, Georgia, Captain Ann Campbell, the tomboy military brat of base commander General Joseph ""Fighting Joe"" Campbell, a hero of the Gulf war, is found strangled to death on the firing range--and not just strangled but spread-eagled and tied to tent stakes, naked, and possibly raped. On hand and working on another case is Warrant Officer Paul Brenner, an undercover agent of the Army's Criminal Investigation Division, who is handed the murder. Brenner is seconded in the case by a rape-investigator for CID, Cynthia Sunhill, a married woman with whom he had a failed affair the year before in Brussels. The reader accepts this unlikely event, for the sport of it, and then becomes hooked securely as Paul and Cynthia trade wry quips throughout without once slipping into false bonhomie. As it turns out, Ann Campbell, attached to Psychological Operations at Hadley, was a supremely promiscuous woman out to undermine her father. The murder suspects include about 30 officers whom she brought down to the secret sex-room in her otherwise model house. Ann's motives stemmed from a shocking crime that happened ten years earlier, when she was a West Point cadet--an event that gave her a Nietzschean fixation on the abyss into which Paul and Cynthia must follow her: ""There is a sort of spirit world that coexists with the world of empirical observation, and you have to get in touch with that world through the detective's equivalent of the stance."" What follows is a deductive novel of unwavering excellence. A knockout. DeMille's done it again.