A sequel to Guthrie's Wild Pitch, again featuring Sheriff Chick Charleston (echo of Nick Charles?) and Jason Beard. Jase, back from college but still under legal drinking age, is appointed as Chick's deputy to help pin down whoever's been rustling F. Y. Grimsley's cattle. Overnight, Grimsley's killed by a strange weapon that creased his bald skull and left red hairs in the cleft. Some kind of red ape? Jase wonders. Jessie Lou, the pretty little hashslinger-whore at the Commercial Cafe, tells him that Grimsley had been buying the favors of Chief Eagle Charlie's young squaw--perhaps Charlie did the murder. And practically overnight, Eagle Charlie himself is dead, his skull caved in by the same hairy weapon. The plot's workings have a kind of Hardy-Boys humor for adults, with lively (but not salty) dialogue, and with the sheriff's wide background in books lending him an aura of smarts. Clean, clear writing, a skimpy plot kept afloat with raspy insights and Jase's innocence--but nothing memorable or ambitious.