In Merritt's first novel, the heir to a publishing fortune tries to find an unusually productive serial killer--one whose own family fortune allows him to roam the country, executing wrongdoers in the cruelest and most bizarre fashion. Gloomy journalist Michael Manning's European wanderings end abruptly with a worried call from his press-mogul father--and the news that his young stepmother has been found full of birdshot in the arms of her equally dead lesbian chum. The shock has been the near death of Dad, who lies surrounded by life-support systems in the family's Virginia manor home. Manning, bent on vengeance, uses the family's journalistic resources to identify the killer--and quickly learns that the executions were just the latest in a long string perpetrated by a phantom with an especially violent theory of justice. Collaborating on the household computers with attractive and perky shrink Dr. Karen Daniels, Manning also learns that he is tracking a handsome madman with limitless cash and a weakness for Holiday Inns. But when he gets too close to the phantom, Manning himself becomes the object of the phantom's respectful attention, and the two begin to hunt each other with intent to kill. Lots of blood. Lots of chases. Plenty of peril. Unbelievable.