Bill Crider and Clyde Wilson
Five Star, Dec 2007, $25.95
In 1969, Houston Police Detective Sergeant Ted “Steve” Stephens has had wild mood swings since his wife walked out on him; at times he rages at her while at other moments he wallows in self pity. He fears he will never move on and prays his humiliation is not impacting his work or locker room talk.
Steve finally receives a welcome distraction from his personal depression. A professional hitman executed prominent Houston attorney Ralph Parker, his wife Dorothy and his mob-connected mother. Rival detective Wetsel, who detests Steve, insists that the victim’s hippie son killed his parents and grandmother after they removed him from their respective wills. However, Steve thinks otherwise and with the help of Clive, a private investigator, seeks the truth that the brass prefers closed.
This is an interesting historical police procedural starring a cop who is at his best when he goes through a diatribe about his wife that runs the gamut from self incrimination to holding her culpable to a macho fear that his peers will think he is a wimp. The rest of the cast especially the cops are two dimensional stereotypes. Although an improbable and out of nowhere late spin resolves the case, sub-genre fans will enjoy Houston as Armstrong is about to take a giant step.