Wallace, who edits the award-winning Sisters In Crime anthologies, has created a very credible central character for her own seventh novel (after 1996's Lost Angel). Competent, strong and credible, Claudia Miller is an independent building contractor in Manhattan who works off worries about current and future projects by cutting into blocks of marble. Wallace's skill at establishing her main character's powerful presence carries readers a long way into a complicated story of perverse revenge. Unfortunately, however, the plot soon sags into predictability. The relatives of people who worked with Claudia on the renovation of a building on New York's Mercer Street several years earlier are being killed off in ways connected to electricity (e.g., suffocated with electrical tape or electrocuted in various apparent accidents). Her father and young stepbrother are also attacked. Meanwhile, various rogue males who might well be the hotwired killer enter the picture: a strange writer from California; a pushy and sexist union organizer; a new employee very eager to please; a slick Russian entrepreneur. Claudia remains surrounded by a charge of energy, outshining her supporting cast and calling for a stronger vehicle to star in. (Feb).