Spenser of Boston in another TV-episode-sized, awfully familiar scenario: this time he's hired to guard the temperamental star of a TV series (shooting on location in Boston) and to find how who, if anyone, has been terrorizing her with nasty phone calls and such. Is someone out to get sexy, boozy, fragile Jill Joyce, star of Fifty Minutes? Or is she just a nuts-o prima donna? Spenser takes Jill fairly seriously--especially after her stunt-double is murdered (by mistake?). He quizzes some of the men she's dumped: a mob-connected tycoon; a pathetic ex-husband living in grimy anonymity in western Massachusetts (the book's best vignette). Then, leaving sidekick Hawk to watch over Jill, Spenser flies to California to interview the star's alcoholic mother and dried-up father (long-estranged from each other and from Jill); he also uncovers the secret illegitimate child in her past. But only after another death and Jill's disappearance does the truth emerge--in a melodramatic showdown with a trendy, psychosexual twist. The windup's a disappointment here--especially when it leads to another one of Spenser's saintly excursions into the psychological rehabilitation of a damaged soul. But the repartee along the way is better than in other recent Spensers; there's a blessed minimum of the sleuth's cooking and preening; and Parker's TV-series experience shows nicely in the irreverent detailing of on-location production and show-biz dealings.