Dirty Pool

Steve Brewer, Author St. Martin's Press $23.95 (272p) ISBN 978-0-312-20203-3
PI Bubba Mabry (Shaky Ground, etc.) makes his fifth appearance in this funny and occasionally touching mystery. Texas millionaire Dick Johnson hires Bubba to deliver the ransom to release his kidnapped son, Richie. Bubba's nemesis, loud-mouthed PI William J. Pool, has been trying to find the errant scion but has had little luck. When it's discovered that Richie engineered his own kidnapping, Johnson sets the two private detectives off on a race: whoever finds Richie first can keep the ransom, a cool $200,000. Bubba, spurred by his wife, accepts the challenge, even though Richie has joined a skinhead gang that has already sent one of Pool's operatives to the hospital. Complicating matters is the sudden reappearance of Bubba's father, Dub, who abandoned Bubba when the boy was nine. Dub seems to have some serious mental problems, and Bubba tries to do the right thing, watching over him while running into and out of trouble on his current case. Then Richie is murdered. Though his writing can be flat, Brewer offers some clever twists and brings the threads of the story together in a surprising, and oddly poignant, fashion. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/01/1999
Release date: 03/01/1999
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