Oklahoma's Deputy Sheriff Milton Kovack, introduced in The Man in the Green Chevy, gets some bad news: his sister Jewel, unthought of for years, is in a coma in a Houston hospital--and her accountant husband Henry has been shot dead in what the police are calling murder and attempted suicide. Milt arrives in Houston to take care of Jewel's house and three children, as well as to try to find out what really happened. He has eager allies in next-door neighbors Chuck and Honey Lancaster, who are as unconvinced as he is that Jewel could have killed her husband. Meanwhile, Chuck confides to Milt, man to man, that he plays around and that Henry was a master at that game, with a string of short-lived affairs. So, when Jewel comes out of her coma long enough to remember a stranger in the house on the fatal night, Milt starts looking for a murder motive among Henry's office conquests and those at the After Hours bar, which he and Chuck frequented. He comes up with zilch--except for Lisa the barmaid, a conquest of his own. Then a series of attacks--including a booby-trapped stove and a bomb that blows up Chuck's Porsche--turns Milt's attention to Henry's employer, TPD Oil Industries, with no more productive result. The solution is out of left field, but believable in the macho blue-collar world the author depicts, with its relentless stream of four-letter words and unsettling mix of sentiment, guilt, sex, and violence. In Cooper's down-home, uncluttered style, they work to tell a story that's diverting and different.