cover image Dead on the Island

Dead on the Island

Bill Crider. Walker & Company, $18.95 (192pp) ISBN 978-0-8027-5787-6

Anthony Award winner Crider introduces private investigator Truman (Tru) Smith in this promising start of a series. Having returned to his native Galveston, Tex., to try--unsuccessfully--to find his missing sister, Tru spends his days reading Faulkner and running. His old friend Dino disrupts his solitude when he asks Tru to locate Sharon Matthews, whose mother had worked in one of the string of whorehouses run by Dino's uncles when they controlled Galveston in the days of wide-open morality. At first Tru thinks the girl ran away after she discovered her mother's past. But when he finds Sharon's boyfriend murdered and then is beaten up outside a Houston nightclub, Tru begins to fear for Sharon's safety. The disclosure of a vital secret by Dino leads Tru to dig into his own and Dino's pasts to find the answers for several crucial questions. Crider ( Too Late to Die ) 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. (May)