In January 2002, former fashion writer and single mother Christa Worthington was found murdered in her home in Truro, Mass. The crime -- which is still unsolved -- riveted the press, as Worthington's fairy-tale-in-reverse life, filled with ex-lovers and dead ends, became public. There's not much more to add to those in-depth accounts, especially with the killer still at large, but here, Flook brings her vivid novelist's imagination to Worthington's life and death. It's a stunningly dreadful mistake. What is meant as compassion on the author's part comes across as a kind of narcissistic association, and the luridness of the Cops-like re-creations is distasteful at best. So Worthington had lovers. But did we ever need to imagine her, as Flook does, waiting for one of them while dreaming of ''the sticky down on his testicles, the low vibrato of his joyful release''? That a writer thought this was a good idea is bizarre; that an editor didn't stop her is unacceptable.