Olson's feverish novels (Utah, 1987, etc.) have always leaned toward menace, and it's not surprising to see him try his hand at a true-blue detective story. His hero, Provincetown cop Peter Blue, is investigating the rape of Beth Charters--and trying to get over shooting drug-runner Jimmy Hale, who was carrying Beth's phone number in his wallet--when his wife Sara, called back to Wisconsin by her mother's illness, decides to return to her old home without him. Things get worse: Peter learns that Beth's been attacked again, raped, and killed. It's obvious that there are connections between Beth's killing and Jimmy's survivors--including a cantankerous father and a sinister cousin who have already been harassing Peter; what isn't obvious is the strange shapes these connections, forged in a gay bar and another smuggling racket, will finally take. Instead of dragging down Olson's imagination, the formulaic conventions actually provide backbone for this pipe-dream of a cop story.