In his second novel, Simpson (This Way Madness Lies, 1991) ventures afield from suburban New Jersey into a world of blood- lusts and revenge that spans two generations and several continents. Matthew Chandler, the thirtysomething Manhattan lawyer who narrates the tale, tells us right at the start what the problem is: ``See, there's this woman. Good God, there's always a woman.'' In this case, the woman is Rachel, a blind artist whom Matthew has known since his schooldays and whom he shares (unhappily) with his best friend, Daniel Hawthorn. Daniel is a hybrid, sort of a cross between Owen Meany and Rasputin: half-WASP and half-Gypsy, he ranks in most of the world's tennis tournaments and hunts down Nazis in his spare time. He also manages to seduce Rachel as an afterthought, and nearly kills her in a traffic accident that leaves her sightless. Meanwhile, Matthew, who seems to have turned hatred of his suburban parents into a full-time job, finds a way to make room for Daniel and satisfies his resentments once and for all at the close. The Weldonesque tones of the narration here, full of asides and digressions, become something of a nuisance after a while--especially as they come from a character who seems to have formed no opinions or tastes whatsoever (apart from a loathing for his family)--although the story is decently paced and nuanced, and the character of Daniel is nicely drawn. A good read, with a few surprises: Simpson seems to be getting the hang of it.