Scott Brick is adept at slipping convincingly into the mindset of his characters. As Cannell's series protagonist Shane Scully, his voice is tense, with an undercurrent of almost feverish anxiety. The LAPD cop is under pressure from trouble at home and on the job. As Cannell piles on the pressure, widening the rift between the Scullys and adding threats, torture and narrow escapes to the crime story, Brick keeps pace, injecting elements of frustration, shock, anger and surprising tenderness. Cannell is particularly adept at dialogue and action, and Brick handles both well. This crime yarn is a little too convoluted, involving a mayoralty campaign, gangbangers, a tricky home security scam, a million-dollar beer contest and an attempted homicide by roller-coaster. Both Brick and the novel are on steadier ground with the more emotional and believable story of Shane and Alexa's struggle to save their marriage. Simultaneous release with the St. Martin's hardcover (Reviews, Nov. 12).