On the eve of Judge Emmett Steele's appointment to the Minnesota Supreme Court, Twin Cities TV news anchor Alex Collier gets a red-hot tip that the judge has been picking up and abusing underage boys. The source: Alex's old girlfriend Pat Hodges, now married to one of Steele's protÇgÇs on the bench. Alex, a rolling stone new to Minneapolis, goes after the story despite his misgivings about seeing Pat (whom he's soon seeing plenty of again) but doing his own investigative reporting. With the help of an uncompleted news profile of Judge Steele by mysteriously missing reporter Daniel Grabowski and the testimony of young hustler Rick McDaniel, Steele's latest victim, and Roger Anderson, a former victim now turned houseboy for the judge, Alex is able to piece together a damning chain of evidence. But the judge, not one to sit still, counterattacks by putting pressure on Alex's weaselly boss Nicholas Hawke to kill the story and by kidnapping Roger, though he never quite manages to kill him. There's more, of course--including a nice climactic sequence in which Alex and Co., having decoyed Hawke away to a conference so that they can tape the story, try to figure out ways to delay his return (letting air out of his car's tires as it sits at the airport, locking him out of the control booth)--but not much you couldn't have thought of yourself, and you don't even have first- novelist Handberg's TV news credentials. The character stereotypes are forgivable, but the predictable plotting and wooden writing aren't. Better skip this one and go straight to the videotape.