cover image Houston Homicide

Houston Homicide

Bill Crider, Clyde Wilson, . . Five Star, $25.95 (263pp) ISBN 978-1-59414-603-9

This disappointing procedural captures the tedium of real police work too well for its own good. It's the summer of 1969, a man is about to walk on the moon, and Det. Sgt. Ted “Steve” Stephens has a welcome distraction from the mire of self-pity he's been wallowing in since his wife left him: the professionally executed assassinations of a prominent Houston attorney, his wife and his mob-connected mother. A rival detective is convinced that the attorney's hippie son did it, upset at being cut out of the wills of both his father and his grandmother, but Stephens is too good a cop to fall for easy answers, and he runs down all the leads with the assistance of a mentoring private investigator. It's too bad that Anthony-winner Crider and real-life celebrity PI Wilson couldn't come up with characters who exhibit actual personalities instead of a collection of quirks, and the plot is resolved through a literal deus ex machina that leaves much to be desired. (Dec.)