Here Gretchen is still on the loose and Archie is still hospitalized after his ploy to catch her went spectacularly wrong. They've entered a detente of sorts: Archie agrees not to kill himself if she agrees not to kill anyone else. But suddenly there's something else to contend with that might be worse - a zealous fan of Gretchen's, paying homage to the Beauty Killer by luring Archie and reporter Susan Ward to the scene of a grisly murder. At least they hope it's the work of someone new, for the prospect of Gretchen breaking her promise is more than Archie can bear.
"We've been down Hannibal Lecter Avenue many times, and these two books shouldn't work . . . but they do. Chalk it up to excellent writing and Cain's ferocious sense of humor. The Portland [Oregon] setting is refreshing too." (Stephen King)