Full of karate, pistol-whipping, and other malevolent mayhem, Catherine Coulter's The Maze could be described as a junior-varsity version of Silence of the Lambs. As in that novel, the heroine in The Maze, Lacey Sherlock, becomes an FBI agent to help unravel the mysteries of her own past. Seven years after her sister was brutally slain by a serial killer (the wonderfully creepy "String Killer"), Lacey is assigned to the FBI's Criminal Apprehension Unit (CAU). The CAU, headed by brawny bureau egghead Dillon Savich, uses computer modeling to catch the baddest guys around--it's like profiling, but with databases. Before you know it, Dillon and Lacey are tangling with the String Killer. Even when the scenarios are not terribly inventive--"Let's use Lacey as bait! What a great idea!"--Coulter makes sure that her bad guys are good and twisted. A touch of bloody-mindedness can cover up a multitude of sins, and on that score, The Maze satisfies.