Owen Keane--Atlantic City copy editor, avocational private eye, and searcher after truth--makes his fourth appearance since his Edgar-nominated debut in Deadstick (1991). After tinkering with a 20-years-later newspaper feature on a local mass murder, Owen is put in touch with the crime's sole survivor: a college student still haunted by the slaughter of her parents and siblings. He begins to interview those concerned with the unsolved crime: frustrated cops, retired and still on the job; a Mob-linked widow whose husband, now dead, was implicated in the case; an exploitative cult leader turned self-help entrepreneur; a guilt- ridden neighbor. And then there's the young reporter who recapped the case and who challenges Owen to an investigative contest that ends in a sexual encounter. Throughout the search--which eventually loses him his job--Owen ruminates on past experiences and the nature of existence with an ex-seminarian solemnity that's his trademark. Fortunately, he also displays a gentle wit and compassion for those touched by a violence that proves to be not at all random. Faherty offers a dense plot, an excellent South Jersey sense of place, and a likable and unusual hero. But he should take more trouble with the motivations of his secondary characters-- murderers, just for starters.