cover image Gator Kill

Gator Kill

Bill Crider. Walker & Company, $18.95 (186pp) ISBN 978-0-8027-3213-2

After he failed to find his missing sister, whose remains finally turned up in a bag in an overgrown field, Texas PI Truman Smith retired to become a housepainter on Galveston Island. But when an alligator is killed and its carcass left on display on a family friend's property, Tru is persuaded to search for the culprit. Soon the brooding gumshoe is stumbling over the bodies of dead humans, is shot at and run down by a souped-up four-by-four as he's embroiled in a plot complete with crooked police, a possible land-grabbing sheme and bad guys who, but for their lack of redeeming good nature, could be Damon Runyon inventions. Crider ( Too Late to Die ) places his likable, laid-back and offbeat series hero in an easygoing Gulf Coast setting, with Galveston acting as a poor man's New Orleans. Fans and new readers alike will hope Crider's reluctant PI, who would be happy reading the complete works of William Faulkner in the company of his cat Nameless, can be coaxed out of retirement again. (June)