cover image When Old Men Die

When Old Men Die

Bill Crider. Walker & Company, $19.95 (192pp) ISBN 978-0-8027-3195-1

When Truman Smith, Crider's Texas Gulf Coast semiretired PI, muses, ``feeling guilt is one of the things I do best,'' readers will not argue. Smith, who last felt inadequate in Gator Kill, can't find Outside Harry, well-known indigent of Galveston Island, whose missing status was first noticed by Smith's boyhood chum Dino. Dino, agoraphobic scion of the family of ``uncles'' that once ran the Island's now defunct gambling casino, hires his pal to find Harry. In the course of the search, which meanders around the Island and involves a couple of generations of colorful characters, the ex-bodyguard of one of the uncles is shot dead and another homeless man is killed. Smith, attacked a few times himself, uncovers and defeats a trio of murderers. The guilt-ridden Smith, who reads Look Homeward, Angel and listens to Elvis recordings, doesn't evoke much sympathy here, though he does solve some crimes and get Dino out of the house. (Nov.)