Ex-p.i. Truman Smith of Galveston, Texas, is painting houses, trying to forget the disappearance of his sister Jan a year ago and his all-out, failed efforts to find her. Tru's high-school football teammates Dino and Ray live in Galveston too. Dino is rich--retired from the prostitution rackets his uncles had begun decades before. Ray, who's black, is Dino's live-in gofer. Dino wants Tru to find his vanished daughter Sharon--unacknowledged until now--by ex- prostitute Evelyn Matthews. Tru soon learns that Sharon had just discovered the truth about her mother's background and that she had a boyfriend--Terry Shelton. Shelton turns out to be the first in a string of corpses discovered or created by our hero before the object of his search comes to light. Even the violence seems lifeless here, along with the mostly unappealing characters and the laconic narrative. Only the Galveston backdrop and history shed some warmth in a story far short of the author's best (Too Late to Die, etc.).