Summertime in that bucolic retreat, Green Lake, Kansas, and the living is easy--if you don't mind the assortment of perverts and grotesques that Epperson left out of The Neighborhood (1995). Reeling from the suicide of her husband, anthropology professor Madeleine Heron accepts her sister Jacqueline's offer of a cabin in Green Lake. The nearest neighbors, Sherman and Gudrun Tanner, like to dig in their yard (and other people's) so much that Jacqueline calls them Earthworm and Mole Woman. A little further off, there's unemployed Ronnie Lyman, who's just dropped his youngest daughter off at his mother's so he and his wife can pretend she's been kidnapped and angle for publicity and sympathy cash. Of course Madeleine can't forget Bruce Beckworth, the good old boy whose determined advances have to be beaten back by conservation officer Dale Russell, whose smooth good looks and political connections (his aunt is governor of Kansas) would make him a great catch if he weren't a murderous child molester. So there's nobody left for Madeleine, ``dying of boredom and anxiety,'' to take up with but Dale's fellow-officer, Eris Renard, a scarred Sauk-Fox Indian she somehow kindles a romance with despite her diffidence and his sullen reserve. Eris has been looking for years for the birth mother who put him up for adoption, and he finds her just as his affair with Madeleine is at its steamiest. Naturally, she turns out to be just another threat to her peace of mind--a wealthy, possessive artist who wants Eris to come and live with her in Santa Fe and isn't crazy about his fling with a white woman. This volatile cargo of creeps mostly broods on their injuries and resolves to avenge them; the final tally will be five fatalities, no arrests. Even so, Epperson's seventh formula thriller is atypically sunny, with only scattered clouds and little real menace to the heroine. The rest of the cast is too busy killing each other off.