A Southwestern town, Landing in Landing Country, is the scene for this tight novel about an aged county sheriff resisting the inroads of big-city crime cartels while suffering the scorn of his fellow officials. The widower sheriff, 64, became sexually impotent following his wife's death five years earlier. She had been barren and he had devoted himself to his 30-year vocation as a lawman. Experience has made him wily and he now recognizes that ""the circuit"" (read Mafia) is taking over the town and that the county is next. Because the town cops accept bribes, he takes some county deputies and stages surprise raids on the town's vice spots. However, the local political machine hasn't the slightest faith in his insight and doesn't believe the circuit even exists. Accompanying him is a nephew who wants to prove his manhood to the sheriff but who has a very circumscribed knowledge of organized crime. There are several murders and a rape by the mentally incompetent son of a leading citizen which lead to a tragic climax that is the result of the sheriff's ardor.... This is a reporter's novel, good on politics, so-so at characterization and best at revealing the give-and-take of office. Quite readable.