Nominated for the Shamus Award for Best First Private Eye Novel.
PI Truman Smith has become a loner after failing to find his sister Jan during a recent search of Galveston Island. He jogs on the Seawall, plays with his cat, and reads lots of Faulkner books. He is pulled from his self-imposed retirement when his old high-school football buddy Dino asks him to find a young girl named Sharon. As Tru begins his investigation, dead bodies begin to appear and Tru himself is attacked. His search for Sharon takes him to all sorts of interesting places on and near the Island.
Bill Crider spins a good mystery tale in a wonderful setting with interesting characters and enough plot twists to keep listeners guessing until the last few chapters.
©1991 Bill Crider (P)2011 David N. Wilson
"Crider has created another well-drawn protagonist, this time a moody, introspective PI in the finest tradition, who works in a seamy city smoldering with old and dangerous secrets." (Publishers Weekly)
This is a great example of the pure PI type mystery. Truman Smith has backed away from investigations after spending a year looking for his missing sister. His rich, old high school friend pulls him back into detecting when he asks Tru for a big favor--find his un acknowledged daughter born to one of his prostitutes. Sharon grew up believing her father was gone, and not knowing that her teacher-mother had once been a prostitute. At first Tru believes Sharon has run away after learning the truth about her beginnings, but the more Tue investigates, the more he suspects something else is happening.
This is a good start to this series, leaving the missing sister as an opening for future books. The story is told in first person, with Tru's voice. There is quirky humor throughout the story--especially Tru's "friendliness" with a rat as he runs along the Galveston, Texas waterways, bring it cheese to eat at one time. Crider definitely got the atmosphere of Galveston. The mystery kept me guessing as I got the clues the as Tru discovered them. Will be reading more from this author.
Liked the atmosphere. This is not the Texas of right wing nutcases. No climate change deniers in this book. Nobody treating gun ownership like a religion. Nobody hating gay people and quoting Fox news. These characters are from the Texas I've been to but never seen quoted in the news media. They are eccentrics living well close to the economic bone, not well off but well enough off to have their own thoughts and unpredictable relationships. They are generous without being showy about it.
As a mystery this book is a little slow, but it would have been more of a pleasure were it not for the narrator. Plenty of Audible reviewers rail against narrators whom I think are just fine, but this guy kept me from committing to the story. He's awkward. I was constantly aware of him reading text, instead of conveying a story. I like a narrator to disappear from notice. Martin Gollery never did.
I'm writing this after listening to another book, and I had a hard time bringing the plot of this one back to mind. What happened to the girl? Only after pondering it for some time did I remember, as well as remember who the killer was. Oh yeah. Him.
Not sorry I bought it. Considering it's the writer's debut book, pretty good. Love the rat, and the cat. Made me feel better about Texas, the way "Speed" made me feel better about the LAPD.
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