Welcome to Bottleneck, whose population of 4,269 makes it the largest, and certainly the most gently crazy, town in Mingo County, Texas. Since there’s not usually much excitement in Bottleneck—the recent switch of old geezers Del Mooney and Jimmy Pope from checkers to chess still has the townsfolk talking—it’s no wonder that Deputy Sheriff Carter Jackson is fighting nightmares and daytime shakes from a shootout that left him with an official commendation and two citizens, one of them not a prison escapee, pushing up daisies. The chief of police wants Carter to take some time off, but Carter’s got a plan that’ll help him deal not only with his post-traumatic stress but his Uncle Lonnie’s mounting medical bills and his own mangled truck (a victim of his meet-cute with Dakota Wheeler, the mainstay of Venus Skywriting): he robs the local bank, then waits to be assigned the case. Problems inevitably arise. Dakota turns out to be involved with drugs and dealers; police suspect Doty Kindel, who used a cap pistol in his last robbery, and has surprisingly strong underworld connections; and Carter ends up partnered with an FBI agent who sticks his nose into the robbery for no good reason. But none of the threatened complications ever develops enough momentum to disturb the lazy, good-natured surface of Bottleneck, which seems happy, even at moments of drolly understated violence, to remain frozen in amber. Dilmore’s first novel is an agreeably shaggy evocation that generates about as much heat as watching the relatives squabble and shoot each other at somebody else’s family reunion.