August 20, 2001 12:00 PM

by John Saul

Heart-of-darkness storyteller Saul weaves a creepy tale of murder, corruption and evil in a perfect setting: the New York City subway. The result is scarier than trying to do the Macarena between cars on a speeding F train. College smarty Jeff Converse winds up wrongly convicted of a brutal crime on a subway platform; instead of going to prison, he gets abducted and abandoned in a maze of chambers below the city streets. There he becomes human game for a secret society—the Manhattan Hunt Club “of fair-minded people who have the greater good of the city and its citizens at heart.” “The Most Dangerous Game,” meet The Warriors.

With a little help from a criminally insane sidekick, Jeff turns the tables on the predators, who track him with the aid of a double-dealing friend of the homeless. In the end it’s the power of love that helps the hapless and hangs the heels. Stirring social commentary, this ain’t, but it’s a hot tome for summer in the city. (Ballantine, $25.95)

Bottom Line: Happy hunting

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