An unusual, nonderivative mystery from newcomer Grissom, whose Galveston-based boat-salvager John Rodrigue can be companionably crooked (if the mood suits), drunk more often than not, and as beddable as Travis McGee, though somewhat scruffier. When Buck Greenhouse, ""self-made millionaire, maybe even a billionaire,"" asks John to sink a boat tied up to an unmanned oil platform so that the owner can claim insurance on it, John agrees--setting in motion the murder of his newest bedmate, Sandy, and his best friend, reporter Mike Ferguson; his own kidnapping and drugged debriefing by special agents; a sea chase around the Caribbean; a shark impersonation; and extreme discomfort in Leland Marchand's household and campaign headquarters. What happened on that boat before John sank it? Murder. Drug-running. A few payoffs. And since Belize has no extradition treaty with the US, John and the local cops arrange to release the guilty parties in Mexican territory, for their comeuppance. The plot holds up, but it's the patois (""Ah ben ahn da sea frahan day bruk""), the divers' and boat owner's shoptalk, and the hard-driven personality of Rodrique--squinting skeptically at the world from only one good eye--that make the book interesting. More escapades aboard Rodrique's Haulover Queen are in the works; clearly, the hard-boiled brigade has increased by one very touchy hombre.