Sheriff Dan Rhodes must cope with bootlegging, murder and a dazzling fictional alter ego.
Something rare, something phenomenal, is about to happen in backwater Blacklin County, Texas: a book signing. Claudia and Jan, those writing ladies from out of town, have performed as promised, and the result is now between lurid hard covers. Blood Fever stars “a handsome, crime-busting sheriff” named Sage Barton, modeled, the authors say, on handsome, crime-busting Sheriff Dan Rhodes. He’s embarrassed, of course, but a touch of celebrity can be heady as well as irritating. So he agrees to make an appearance at the event, autograph pen in hand. Meanwhile, there are more workaday matters requiring his attention. Someone has pumped two bullets into Terry Crawford just before blowing up his mobile home, leaving Larry Crawford minus a twin and a roof over his head. Why does the surviving twin seem less stricken than he should be? Following the whisky fumes and the money, Sheriff Dan finds a passel of crimes, busts the perpetrators and thumbs his nose at invidious comparisons.
Shrewd, low-key Sheriff Dan (Murder Among the O.W.L.S., 2007, etc.) remains an engaging lawman who runs his tiny department with all the professionalism of the 87th Precinct.