A complicated cat-and-mouse game in which both the Special Branch and the IRA manipulate Jane and her young son Noll to flush out her ``late'' husband Oliver, who absconded with over three million pounds belonging to the terrorists. When Noll is kidnapped, Detective Dog Cicero, facially maimed from an IRA car bomb, enters the case and is startled by the many inconsistencies--among them Jane's confessing to the murder of her son and her inexplicable release on bail. As Jonty Thrale, the IRA killer, and Special Brancher Tench counter each other other's moves, risking both mother and child in pursuit of her husband, Jane turns to Cicero for help. Two will die and a helpful priest will be unmasked before Oliver whisks Jane and Noll to Brazil; Cicero is stampeded off the force; and, with the help of her ``connected'' Uncle Endo in Las Vegas, the two meet up again for a denouement in a South American villa. Ruell (Dream of Darkness, 1991; a.k.a. Reginald Hill) seems intent on roasting that old chestnut--that there's not much difference between the morally bankrupt terrorist and the cynical copper--but he tells their story with a deftness and strategically placed revelations that are a cut above.