It takes a killer to catch a killer in this blood-soaked thriller. That's why the police are grudgingly staying out of the way of Roy Prescott, a private shamus who puts an end to uncatchable bad guys in untraceable ways. Only this time his prey is a professional hit man so coldly disciplined that Prescott's usual array of rattraps only whets the killer's competitive appetite.
It's no secret who the criminal is here, so the grisly homicides are there to provide a glimpse into the robotic precision of his methods. That tactic makes for an effective character study, and the cat-and-cat game has its pleasures as Perry charts the workings of two ruthless minds, but readers will grow numb to the violence. Pursuit should be stocked in the butcher's aisle. (Random House, $24.95)