What are the Halcones--that shadowy paramilitary group behind the violent government repression of student demonstrations back in 1970- -up to now? First, they plant a corpse in Roman soldier's dress--an assistant to the late magician/bodybuilder Zorak, who trained the Halcones--in the bathroom of Mexico City p.i. HÇctor Belascoar†n Shayne; next, they spirit it away again, warning him to keep out of the murder case and enclosing the photo of a second dead Zorak associate and a plane ticket to New York; then, in response to HÇctor's inevitable inquiries, they hunt him down with rifles and, when he shoots back, swear to avenge their dead. Not bad for a state organization that hasn't exited officially for years--and whose members are now dispersed among bodyguards, subway cops, the army, and everywhere else people have a right to carry guns. Despite HÇctor's characteristically waggish interludes to buy zarzuela records and plan his wedding, this is much tighter and darker than The Shadow of the Shadow (1991) or Some Clouds (1992). A huge (400,000) printing is planned for Russia, where Taibo's manic antiestablishment paranoia should sell very well indeed.