Until the ruthless killer here begins murdering in bulk (he is ruthless), you might find yourself caught up in this no-nonsense, damsel-in-distress tangle--set (but not much landscape) in Washington state. The damsel is Andrea Sturgis, whose husband's car-crash death could have been murder and whose nephew is arrested--a frame-up--for the throttling of a blonde hitchhiker whom Andrea picked up. The two deaths are connected, a fact we learn from the italicized thoughts of the killer (unidentified but easily guessed) that alternate with the straight stuff. Andrea's befriended by the bitter ex-cop next door, and they head for romance as the body count mounts and disbelief surges. Still, it's as slick as any made-for-television suspense and skids right along, unburdened by atmosphere or style.