It's been a long fall from grace for NASA physicist Edward Boyes and his lover, Russian programmer Irina Varonyev, since they collaborated on the Phobos I project that sent two defective space probes to investigate the moons of Mars. Now, Varonyev languishes in a Moscow prison, and Boyes has been found shotgunned in a wintry swamp in Lincoln Park. The Chicago police have beaten a confession out of a local street kid, but Lt. Nora Callum, whose patrol car was shot at minutes after she dropped Varonyev's friend and colleague Olga Berggolts at the airport for her flight back to MIT, doesn't believe Eugene Easter has a clue about the murder or anything else. Nora is going to have a tough time, though, going up against her ham-handed boss when she's already under an IA investigation for killing an unarmed suspect--the suspect she thinks shot her prostitute friend Paris Viveka's bail-jumping new boyfriend.... Lots of familiar moves in Nora's second case (following A Wide and Capable Revenge, 1993), but Nora and the police work both have a welcome edge, and there's real tenderness in the doomed Phobos romance. Try finding that combination under any other rock in Chicago.