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"A chase after money and revenge had brought me to Texas, and a woman had kept me here," Milo explains. But trying to salvage a love affair, keep his PI business going, and run a tavern (whose real business is laundering drug money) hasn't kept trouble from following Milo--or maybe it's the other way around. When a man kills a drug dealer right in front of him, Milo can't help but track the shooter down, if only to keep the Texas cops from railroading him into the death chamber. Soon one beautiful woman frames Milo for the murder of a well- connected Texan, and another one with ties to both killings disappears, setting up the intricately plotted action of this fast-paced thriller.
Crumley's narrative gifts and poetic talents set this crazy-funny mystery apart. Milo is a consistently interesting protagonist, especially here, as Crumley depicts him in the fullness of middle age, a hard-boiled, bruised, and battered dick who, despite all evidence to the contrary, still believes in the redemptive powers of love--not to mention liquor, cocaine, and sex. Texas may not be Milo's natural habitat, but it's a big enough backdrop for his unique talents, and for Crumley's, too. --Jane Adams