Just when you think Nora Roberts under any name can't possibly get any better, that classy lady pulls another rabbit out of her hat to amaze and delight her readers.

Lt. Eve Dallas and her millionaire husband Roarke have attracted quite a following across at least three genres as they cope with an assortment of villains in the latter part of the 21st century. This time murder strikes very close to home when a gruesome serial killing throws the spotlight of suspicion on the prickly Summerset, Roarke's long-time general factotum and erstwhile butler.

As one vicious homicide follows another, it becomes clear that the common thread between the killings leads to Roarke's murky past. Just what is the terrible secret that links the murderer with Eve's husband?

So now Eve has an even more desperate reason to catch this killer, whose ultimate target promises to be Roarke himself...

This knockout firecracker ofa mystery succeeds on a multiplicity of levels: taut pacing, nifty plotting, superb relational development and a subtle yet revealing peek inside the soul of a man who surely counts as one of popular fiction's most fascinating enigmas. (Oct., 368 pp., $6.50)

Reviewed by: 
Melinda Helfer