Here, game-legged Floridian p.i. Fred Carver (Blood Fire, etc.), a former big-city cop, agrees to check out Henry Tiller's neighbor. Henry, a retired cop now living in the Keys, thinks the 300-pound Rainer is up to no good--maybe drug smuggling on his Miss Behavin' when he runs it without lights at night. Henry soon becomes a hit-and-run statistic, and Fred, with the help of his drug-savvy girlfriend Beth (she used to live with a drug kingpin), spy on the Rainer estate from Henry's cottage and the Oceanography Research Center across the way. Several tails and a break-in later, Fred, despite being warned off, begins to understand the connection between Henry's murder, the Oceanography chief's suicide, the disappearance of a supposed welfare couple whose young ``son'' washed ashore, and Rainer's midnight runs to Mexico, resulting in a confrontation with the obese one and his homicidal henchman Davy at the Oceanography shark tank--with biting results. Lutz, the current president of the Mystery Writers of America, represents state-of-the-art private-eye writing: lean, mean, and eminently readable.