Faust's novels were well-received in the 1970s, but he couldn't find a publisher in the '80s. Now he delivers his third novel in two years (When She Was Bad, 1994, etc.)--a murder story on which he hangs a broad satire of the contemporary US. Ted Moon is a pitcher for a New York team more or less like the hapless Mets of several years ago. He's talented but has a history of violent behavior, alcoholic blackouts, and long, insane recovery periods at a remote hospital in New Mexico. Unlike Faust's In the Forest of the Night (1993), a meticulously plotted tale set in Central America, Faust's latest has almost no story. Moon is accused of murdering four transsexuals, and to escape arrest he takes off cross-country on a manic binge, finally establishing his innocence--of murder, at least--and rejoining his team in Los Angeles. The reader never really thinks Moon committed the murders. Faust's baseball episodes, the few that there are, are nicely rendered, no doubt because Faust was a professional ballplayer himself. But his interest is in Moon's wild, often hilarious send- ups of sexuality (a sports psychologist who counsels baseball players to plumb their feminine sides and not to be afraid of touching one another), feminism, tabloid journalism (which feeds the public appetite for salaciousness by treating intimate sexual subjects in a ``scientific'' manner), and every species of political correctness--which he gives us while watching TV, ``the black hole,'' in motel after motel. The novel is sharp, sometimes reactionary satire rather like Kingsley Amis at his most vicious, delivered in a circular, mocking, high-flying harangue. Incensed by one of his ex-wives' sensible refusal to let him visit his children, he says, ``It was not the lack of justice that I minded; it was the lack of shame for the lack of justice.'' Faust could be criticized for his indifferent plotting, but Ted Moon's outrageous manic tirade is strong medicine: hits hard, but has a tonic effect.