A year ago, when motel tycoon George Winton's daughter Vicky was kidnaped, Winton obeyed the kidnappers, didn't call the police, paid the ransom, and was rewarded by Vicky's return. Now that newspaperman Evan Kiley's son Robin has been snatched, Kiley, who's heard rumors about Vicky Winton's disappearance, turns up blaming Winton for allowing the kidnappers to go free and at the same time begging him for help. The case is especially delicate because the perps left Kiley's neighbor Irene Suttle, who'd been minding Robin, behind to die, and Kiley can't even inform the police of her death without alerting the kidnappers. So Winton agrees to help Kiley hide the death from the authorities while Kiley negotiates with the people who have stolen his boy, even though Kiley admits the outside chance that Robin was taken by his estranged wife--and even though it swiftly becomes obvious that cautious Winton and nervy Kiley loathe each other, their unwilling conspiracy having all the makings of a disaster. Australian Carlon (The Running Woman, 1998, etc.), who first published this novel in England in 1965, borrows some of the edgy psychology and the briskly inescapable logic of Patricia Highsmith and Margaret Yorke--but the twists she puts on this vintage nightmare are all her own.