Introducing Key West p.i. Mason Collins, who takes on a case for a nameless client who wants to know more about the death of Mason's friend Mesquite Charlie Donne, eaten by alligators in Everglades National Park. A little digging among such laid-back grotesques as coin-dealer Precious Adams, bartender Georgie Two Foot, and kiddie- pornographer Fat Dom reveals that Charlie's father's marine salvage outfit scored a big recovery that left some homicidal feelings among the participants. But as Mason dashes around the Keys trying to protect Charlie's four wives from his killer, he can't figure out whose account of the salvage to believe: Charlie's, his father's sinister sidekick Nick Andalusia's, or rival salvager Carlos (Switchblade) Marti's. Cody writes with a clipped, friendly authority rare in first- novelists, and Mason is the perfect hero for the setting and the case. Fans of Travis McGee have a treat in store.