The Edgar- and Anthony-nominated author of Bird Dog (1997) returns with a slick sequel that will make readers leery of car salesmen for life. Harold Dodge leaves his lover, Marianna Perado, recovering from gunshot wounds in Chile and heads back to L.A. in hopes of scoring the money needed for the operation that will help her walk again. Dodge seeks out Vikki Covo, widow of his former boss, Joe, whom Marianna killed in a rage over a raw deal in the series debut. Dodge has the key piece of information that Vikki needs: the whereabouts of her husband's body. With a body, Vikki can claim the insurance and maybe get back her share of his car dealership, and Dodge can get the money he needs for Marianna. The policy won't pay off if Covo's death is ruled a suicide, but if Dodge tells the truth--that Covo was murdered--he could be charged. Mix in a handsome, sleazy insurance agent who can't afford to pay the claim, a nasty chop-shop owner and his opera-singing goon of a brother, and the stage is set for a rollicking bumper-car ride to see whose scheme will pay off first. Reed makes the ins and outs of the car business and insurance scams into a high horse-powered tale loaded with dark-humor extras. The ending leaves room for further adventures of Dodge in Reed's inimitable ""car noir"" series. (July) FYI: Simultaneous release of Bird Dog in Pocket mass market paperback.