This lively newcomer to the good 'ol boys' school of writing introduces Milt Novack, head of Homicide in the Sheriff's Department of Prophesy County, Oklahoma. Milt is late 40-ish, just divorced, lonely, and facing a series of murder-rape cases in which the victims are old ladies living alone, His only solid lead is a blond man in a beat-up green Chevy, seen on a little-used road by Laura Johnson, neighbor of Beatrice Munsky, one of the murdered women. Laura is married to farm-machinery salesman Jerry, and mother of three, but that doesn't stop Milt from instant infatuation, which, before too long, is enthusiastically reciprocated. Meanwhile, Milt's deductive powers seem befogged by his steamy clandestine affair. Cattle-rustling, local fights, car crashes get handled with aplomb, but old ladies keep dying--and not until the killer slips up does Milt get a handle on a solution, lagging way behind the reader. A fresh and sometimes funny first novel, with believable characters, gritty homespun dialogue, and a sensitive, self-deprecating hero who has an ironic, slightly bitter edge and whom one hopes to meet again.