Albany, N.Y.'s gay shamus Donald Strachey (Death Trick) doesn't like the employer--but he likes the assignment--when he's hired to look into vandalistic death threats against grandmotherly lesbian activist Dorothy Fisher. The employer? Millpond Plaza Associates, a mall-building company which has been pressuring stubborn Mrs. Fisher to sell them her property. Is Millpond itself behind the harassment? Apparently not. So Strachey talks to a couple of Dorothy's neighbors--who will benefit financially if she sells up. Then the case gets even nastier: gay poet Peter Greco, one of Dorothy's houseguests, is kidnapped, with a $100,000 ransom demanded. And, after some tedious kidnap-negotiation filler, he'll turn up dead--just as gay activist Fenton McWhirter (Greco's lover and another houseguest) is likewise kidnapped. The plot here is a teased-out, surpriseless clinker. The details of Donald's sex-life (unlike lover Tim, he can't help being promiscuous) won't interest most readers. But the narration is sometimes wryly amusing, with neat glimpses of Albany and promise of better episodes to come--if Stevenson can move (like Joseph Hansen) beyond the gay-propaganda mode.