Another earnest, somewhat overwrought, but fairly absorbing case for Texas private-eye Dan Roman (From a High Place, etc.), who responds to an S.O.S. from Vietman-war buddy Ward Bannion down in the small mid-Texas town of Jerico Falls. Bannion, the town's police chief, needs help with a nasty, personal murder-case that he can't investigate himself: his nephew Steve and Steve's girlfriend Lisa Caulder, both 18, have been found shot dead, execution-style. Could the killings have anything to do with a longstanding feud between the Bannion and Caulder families? Perhaps. But Dan's sleuthing quickly reveals a far more likely source of mayhem: Steve and Lisa were heavily into drugs--and were apparently buying large quantities from some enigmatic ""Big Bwana"" of drug-smuggling. There's a big final twist here, with one of several subplots suddenly leaping into the foreground: the plot-contrivance is strained, even if many readers will see it coming a mile off. Still, thanks to steady pacing, crisp dialogue, and Dan's low-key warmth (with wife Susie, with old pal Bannion), this is sturdy detection-with-melodrama, dark-toned but unpretentious.