Two cases for moody Texas p.i. Dan Roman (September Song, etc.): protecting his neighbor Warren Stillwell, a big, childlike genius, from getting killed by a pair of ruthless but curiously inept assassins; and tracking down Sherry Bascomb, the missing daughter of another neighbor, patrician old Lionel Whitecomb. Dan protests that he's better at finding missing persons than at running a bodyguard service; in the end, though, he'll fail all around--but not before enjoying some sweet sex with Warren's sister Anne Lawrence; hearing some flat-out incredible revelations about Warren's government service; discovering a clever but predictable connection between his two cases; and staging another installment of his will-we-or-won't-we mating dance with his ex-wife Susie. Mathis builds up the mystery skillfully before unveiling a secret--and a bloody climax--that should've been left on the cutting- room floor.