A second outing for Bull Cochran (Strikezone)--pitcher-turned-writer-turned-amateur p.i.--gets him involved in the case of pitching ace ""Holy Joe"" Ahem, who, the cops say, killed Cordelia Mae Oliver, a prostitute, then turned the gun on himself. Bull doesn't believe it and agrees to investigate for Ahern's widow, Peg--quickly discovering that the day Ahem died, there was an explosion at his business partner Jerry Lamp's design office and a robbery of five million dollars earmarked for the El Salvadoran Relief Fund from Jerry's dad's ministries. Puckett, from Houston Homicide, is especially interested in Bull's findings, as is Bubba, a behemoth thug; so to protect Bull, his girlfriend Molly, a cop, arranges for some backup for him. But the backup and Bull are almost killed in a car compactor, and bodies will fly every which way before Bull can vindicate his late friend. Fierce, fast-paced, and slickly told. The plotting's less original than Strikezone's, but there's still plenty here for fans of the hard-boiled.