This austere and cinematic Dutch novella (published abroad in 1984 as The Golden Egg) is KrabbÇ's first US appearance but has already served as the basis for two movies directed by George Sluizer: a 1988 version in Dutch, which has all the chilling, obsessive focus of the book; and an American remake, which recently bombed at the box office, even though the director softened the nightmarish aspects of its two sources. Perhaps the very notion underlying both the movies and the novel--that random murder can be ``an incredibly exciting mental game''--is too creepy for American moviegoers. As fiction, this story of a missing girl and her boyfriend's maniacal search for her has the same appeal as the heady, clinically precise novels of Ian McEwan or Paul Auster. And the sections told from the murderer's point of view, with his perverse scientific reason, seduce with the thrill of evil. For connoisseurs of intellectual horror.