Dr. Carey McKinnon, the risk-aversive bridegroom who’d made Jane Whitefield promise to stop the hazardous career of helping people vanish (Shadow Woman, 1997, etc.) now begs her to take his old mentor on the lam--plunging her into her most convoluted, if not exactly her most involving, caper. The police in tow states don’t have any doubts that eminent surgeon Dr. Richard Dahlmann murdered his equally eminent colleague, Dr. Sarah Hoffman--which is exactly why he needs to go underground, Carey tells Jane, while the case sorts itself out. But no sooner has Jane spirited Dahlmann out of the hospital where a police-pursuit bullet landed him--no mean feat, especially considering his weakened condition and the security cordon thrown around him--than she realizes that Dahlmann is just whistling in the dark in waiting for the cops to suddenly come to their senses. He’s in a frame tight enough to cause serious weight loss--a frame that can only be the work of professionals (presumably the two armed men she passed on their way to Dahlmann’s hospital bed) as good at their jobs as Jane is at hers. Why has Dahlmann been the target of such an elaborate campaign? The answer leads Jane not only to a series of three earlier murders nobody had even suspected, but to a ring of “face-changers”--people who, like Jane herself, are dedicated to helping people vanish, though they’re a lot less scrupulous about their motives and tactics and selection of clients. In order to vindicate Dahlmann (and get guileless Carey off an impending charge of accessory to murder for helping him escape), Jane will have to stop her furious crisscrossing of the 48 states long enough to unmask the copycats, get evidence of their criminal complicity, and stay one step ahead of her hundreds of pursuers. If this all sounds suspenseful, it is. But it’s also tangled, unevenly paced (though endlessly inventive), and ultimately as exhausting for Perry’s loyal fans as for his resourceful, long-suffering heroine.