June 16, 1997 12:00 PM

by Eric Bowman

Beach Book of the Week

FICTIONAL BRITISH WRITER TERENCE KEYES HAS A FIENDISH idea. This time, however, it has nothing to do with the plot line for his next bestseller. The author plans to stage a series of actual, high-profile murders and makes a respected national news anchor his first victim. As an added twist, Keyes—under the guise of researching his new book—has cleverly arranged to attach himself to the hotshot Manhattan detective heading up the murder investigation.

The boldness of Keyes’s scheme is matched by that of the pseudonymous Bowman (whom the publisher will identify only as the award-winning author of several screenplays and miniseries), tipping the trump card of most mysteries—whodunit?—on the very first page. It’s a gamble that more than pays off thanks to the novel’s ingenious construction, fascinating forensic details and mesmerizing cop/killer mind games. (Putnam, $24.95)

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