Galveston, Tex., shamus Truman Smith, the slowest-moving of Crider's three series detectives (Gator Kill, 1992, etc.), reluctantly agrees to search for Outside Harry Mercer, a destitute homeless man who turns out to be the most popular fellow on the island. His friend Dino, Truman's client, is looking for him, of course, but so are his homeless buddy Ro-Jo (who thinks Harry might be holed up in The Island Retreat, an abandoned gambling den once run by the uncles, Galveston's homegrown illegal city fathers); ruined millionaire Patrick Lytle (who tells Truman he wants to give Harry a home on his skeletal estate); and Alex Minor (who says he's a lawyer working for Harry's sister). About the only folks who don't seem to be looking for Harry are Truman's boss, bail bondsman Wally Zintner, and his big, nasty bounty hunter Dale Becker-- except, of course, that they are. Why the sudden flutter of interest in forgettable Harry? Truman sneaks enough time away from his current reading--Look Homeward Angel, a great book for guys who aren't in a hurry--to tie Harry, together with Braddy Macklin, the onetime uncles' bodyguard he finds dead in The Retreat, to a plan to bring gambling back to the island. Shambling and shapeless, with lots of shooting in darkened rooms in lieu of the kind of suspense that might be sparked by your wanting to know what happened to people you care about.