cover image Perfection


Walter Satterthwait, . . St. Martin's Minotaur/Dunne, $24.95 (327pp) ISBN 978-0-312-35244-8

In this grisly, stand-alone thriller from Satterthwait (Masquerade ), Florida detective Sophia Tregaskis and her older partner, former NYPD officer James Fallon, investigate a serial killer with a hatred of overweight women. Beautiful, enigmatic Dr. Eva Swanson, a psychologist, offers her services in profiling the killer. Some suspense builds as the detectives slowly comprehend who the suspect could be. The book's dialogue serves the needs of the plot, but the characters are pretty much clichés. Tregaskis continually employs Greek phrases when she thinks of her Greek mother; the brilliant serial killer is also a gourmet and lover of fine wine (and has an unfortunate tendency to refer to victims as "Wibble-Wobbles"). The narrative hurtles along smoothly if unpleasantly until the end, when a plot twist that requires far too much suspension of disbelief stops the story in its tracks, calling into question the entire novel and leaving the reader feeling more than a little cheated. (Feb.)