Bay Area oral surgeon Dr. Charlie Adams's second hardcover case (Gone to Earth, 1990) spirals outward from a telltale bang during a visit to unlikable old school chum Jonathan Randolph on the Cape. What that shot leads to is Doc's amazed identification of a John Doe found in political hopeful Northrop Chesterton's closed-up house (next door to Randolph's) as another old acquaintance, George Brenner. Why did the killer deliberately arrange to have Doc and his wife Mary on hand to witness the fatal gunshot? Why does an investigation into Brenner's background turn up such contradictory testimony about his behavior? And how is the murder tied in to Chesterton's mysterious intimacy with his houseboy, Owen Lightner, and a drug ring identified by the ""Yellow Bird"" logo on Brenner's missing T-shirt? Dense plotting, solid detection, and the usual Spenserish heroics. But don't expect to see all the loose ends tied up: the complications are still unreeling at the final shootout.