After the solid A Fine Red Rain (1987) and the even better, Edgar-winning A Cold Red Sunrise (1988): a disappointingly thin, contrived, and obvious trio of cases for downbeat Porfiry Rostnikov and his Moscow-police pals, the zombie-ish Emil Karpo and the younger, jauntier Sasha Tkach. Rostnikov's segment of the plot at least begins intriguingly: on a visit to wife Sarah (recovering from risky brain surgery) in the hospital, the aging inspector becomes curious about another patient--a bear-like shoe-factory foreman, suffering wild delusions after a nervous breakdown. Unfortunately, when Rostnikov investigates further (for not-very-persuasive reasons), he predictably uncovers corruption at the shoe factory and all too easily connects it to a KGB official. (See Josef Skvorecky's Boruvka series for much more convincing treatment of similar material.) Meanwhile, Karpo is shadowing the rebellious daughter of a Politburo member--because she and her boyfriend are planning (more or less) to assassinate the father. And meanwhile, too, Sasha is investigating a conspiracy by Turkistani separatists to blow up Lenin's tomb: the would-be terrorists have already hijacked a Moscow bus-and-driver as part of the plan. As before, openly modeling his series on Ed McBain's multi-plot procedurals, Kaminsky includes vignettes from the cops' private lives: Tkach, for instance, has problems with his live-in mother. But this time the slices-of-life are reminiscent of McBain at his tinniest, and the mini-mysteries border on the cartoonish. In sum: just serviceable, if that, with occasionally interesting backgrounds.