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by Bill Crider and Clyde Wilson

Pub Date: Dec. 12th, 2007
ISBN: 978-1-59414-603-9
Publisher: Five Star

A veteran cop and a high-profile private investigator make an odd crime-fighting couple.

When his boss sends Det. Sgt. Ted Stephens to check out a case that isn’t his, Steve (nobody calls him Ted) senses an unsettling day looming. He’s right. For starters, there’s a pair of Dorothy Parkers, neither of whom ever said funny things to Robert Benchley, but both of whom, like the literary maven, are dead. The mother and wife of attorney Ralph Parker, these two have been mysteriously gunned down, just like him. What complicates matters for Steve is the antagonism of Det. Sgt. Wetsel, the homicide division colleague working the case. Before long, antagonism escalates into enmity that’s aggravated when Steve’s pal Clive Watson becomes part of the mix. Clive is no hardscrabble, bottle-in-the-drawer gumshoe. In Houston crime circles, he’s an acknowledged star, something of a legend. Too bad. Wetsel hates every private eye equally—maybe successful ones like Clyde a little more. Once the sides are aligned and the game’s afoot, though, little that follows will be unpredictable.

Few readers will overlook the connection between co-author Wilson, a retired p.i., and the fictional Clive Watson. Colorless prose and a limp plot, however, undercut authenticity. Co-author Crider (Murder Among the Owls, 2007, etc.), who’s performed so much better, might rethink the joys of soloing.