Putnam, August 2004, 23.95, 270 pp.
Helen and Henry meet in a bar and after some small talk he takes her home. In the middle of the sexual encounter, Helen takes a knife and puts it through his heart. She didn't go to the bar for a pick-up; she went there to find a man who would hit on her so she could kill him. The police don't give the case very much attention figuring the woman knifed Henry because he was raping her. Not long afterward another man Helen meets in a bar gets killed in a car wash.
San Francisco Police Department Inspector Rose Burke doesn't link these two murders until a third body is discovered in Golden Gate Park with evidence from the first homicide. Rose assumes they have a serial murderer on their hands. Helen's boyfriend Jimmy is her partner in crime and helps her with some of the killings. After a thorough investigation Rose and her partner zero in on the two suspects but getting them to surrender will prove to be an impossible task.
While Rose is having marital problems and is pregnant, Helen is decompressing and the time between the need to kill a man who hits on her is growing shorter from the very beginning. Readers know Helen is a killer, and Jimmy helps her in the murders whenever she lets him. The motivation for the killings is hard to understand but that won't deter readers from finishing this enthralling police procedural thriller in one sitting. Frank Devlin doesn't need a knife to cut the heart of the reader, he just uses a word processor to make an emotional impact.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner