Christmas Eve brought a pleasant surprise in the mail—my autographed copy of Houston Homicide. I had been looking forward to Clyde Wilson’s debut novel for several months—ever since collaborator Bill Crider made the announcement about this Five Star offering. It delivered everything I expected.
This excellent police procedural introduces us to Detective Ted “Steve” Stephens. Steve finds himself assigned to a triple murder case already being worked by Wetsel and McGuire. Wetsel, the lead on this team, is lazy and looks for the easy answer to all his cases. The Lieutenant wants Steve to cast a more objective eye on the case. His crumbling home life doesn’t help the investigation any. To the chagrin of Wetsel, Steve turns to his friend private detective Clive Watson for help in solving the case.
Happily, Steve’s marital woes take a positive turn as the book progresses, if his relationship with Wetsel doesn’t. By the conclusion of just over 250 pages our hero has solved the case despite having to face reassignment because the case is moving to slowly and taking a self-imposed, long overdue vacation in order to patch things up with his wife.
Crider, highly recognized mystery writer who introduced us to Sheriff Dan Rhodes two decades ago, is no stranger to sharing the pen. (His first book was a collaboration on a Nick Carter spy thriller.) Unlike previous collaborations with the likes of Willard Scott, Bill Crider’s influence is not readily evident in this superb book. It appears that Bill is along in a more advisory capacity in this outing, sharing his literary acumen to this ancient novice writer (I’m sure he’ll let me know if I’ve missed this call). The voice in Houston Homicide comes straight from the retired Houston private eye—Wilson.
I’m looking forward to future offerings by this debut author, he’ll be looking out at the award audiences with his own acceptance speech if this freshman effort is any indicator. Readers will be rooting for Sgt. Steve in all aspects of his life. It doesn’t hurt that
Houston Homicide gets a whopping 4 ½ out of 5 reading glasses. If you’re a fan of Crider, you’ll want it. If you enjoyed the 57th precinct novels, this is a good addition to your library. Even if you can’t get a copy signed by both authors delivered to you on Christmas Eve, you’ll want to read this book.
—Benjamin Potter, January 5, 2008