N.Y. columnist Pete Killharney, who annually features a ""Hit List"" of the city's 10 most heinous power-brokers, becomes a suspect and a super-celebrity when Someone starts killing off the biggies on Pete's list--in various disgusting ways. Then, when Pete begins getting messages from the Bible-spouting psycho, he's in even greater demand by the media, including carnal TV newswoman Melissa Sanchez (whose interviewing technique includes a ""device-assisted fuck session""). So eventually, after it becomes clear that Pete himself is in danger, the newsman becomes a quasi-sleuth, trying to find some method in the madness by interviewing the Hit List-ers who have not yet been gorily assassinated. Is the super-killer--the body count eventually reaches 13--an ""unknowable lone psychopath"" or a cunning fiend? The answer is far from surprising, even if complicated by fide-tangles involving the CIA, sexual perversion, Nicaragua, and the futures market. And the thin, talky scenario is only slightly enriched by first-novelist Downey's hard-working portrait of ribald, boozy divorcÃ‰e Downey (an overfamiliar type), the down-and-dirty N.Y. newsroom/bar atmosphere, or the cameo-Ã¡-clef sketches of such Manhattan types as a Murdoch-y publisher and a Stern-ish radio boor. Loud and bloody, but mostly just static and unpleasant.