A crazed serial killer stalks Manhattan--so what else is new? Not much, in this tired variation on a hackneyed theme by Appel (The White Jaguar, 1986). Appel doesn't follow formula to the letter and pit a strong but sensitive 40-ish cop against the killer. Instead, he pits a strong but sensitive 40-ish psychologist, Kate Braverman, against former actor Carl Nasson, whose pleasure it is to torture and kill any woman who strikes his deranged fancy. The story opens with Carl busy stalking, snatching, and stabbing his eighth victim--a body-count high enough to bring Kate onto the case. Why Kate? Because she's burdened with one of the hoariest cliches of the genre--the ability to enter a killer's mind (""It's only the dark side of myself,"" she thinks. ""Everyone has a place where they meet their own demons""). That ability is paramount here, for protean Carl, master of disguise, varies his modus operandi with each kill, leaving no clues and just one red thread--that he murders only women with throaty, ""Lauren Bacall"" voices. Voices just like that of his domineering aunt (""Her""), who--surprise--sexually abused him as a child (""Soon they'll know my power, he said to Her""). Before Kate can figure this out, however, Carl, enraged by a news story about Kate, dresses up as a foxy lady and crashes a party (""Not wanting to appear unusual. . .he bit daintily into a floret of broccoli"") where he kidnaps Kate's daughter. Can Kate sniff out crazy Carl before he, ""breathing heavily,"" snuffs out her daughter? Tiptoe. . .right on past this bargain-basement Thomas Harris knockoff.