cover image Murder Takes a Break

Murder Takes a Break

Bill Crider. Walker & Company, $21.95 (246pp) ISBN 978-0-8027-3308-5

The fifth appearance of Anthony Award- winning Crider's Rockford-like PI, Truman Smith of Galveston, Tex., (following Prairie Chicken Kill) is a thinly plotted tale. Persuaded by his reclusive friend Dino to take on a missing-person case, Tru agrees to look into the disappearance of college student Randall Kirbo, missing since spring break, whose parents are displeased with the official investigation. A look at the police files leads Tru to think the police investigation was perfunctory. Then he finds out that local vice queen, Big Al, owned the party house where the youth was last seen and learns that the body of a dead college girl washed up on a local beach after the same break. Linking the two cases, Tru employs his professional skills of lying and foolhardiness to determine Big Al's involvement in the crimes. When Tru discovers that Dino's daughter was at the same party and then someone subsequently shoots at her, he realizes there's more going on than student partying. Tru and Dino are a pleasantly contrary pair and Galveston Island's an appealing setting, but the mystery here is run-of-the-mill. (Oct.)