January on Galveston Island means that one can still go fishing when northern sections of Texas and the United States are experiencing the brutal joys of old man winter. While one can stand on the gulf coast pier and throw a line into the ocean until the pier closes at five that does not mean the fish will cooperate. They certainly aren’t cooperating on this beautiful day when Dino comes out on the pier to talk.
Truman Smith has known Dino for a lot of years. Rarely does he come out and Dino never ventures out over the water even if it by way of a solid pier. Not only did Dino have to pay three bucks to come out onto the pier, he is missing part of his lineup of reality television talk shows that were so prevalent back in the 90’s. Whatever he needs is very important, at least to Dino, through Truman Smith isn’t exactly thrilled with him for a variety of reasons.
He is less thrilled when he hears what drove Dino to actually leave his home. Dino wants to hire Truman Smith and his private investigator skills to find the legendary local guy known as “Outside Harry.” An island fixture the man has been homeless for decades. Outside Harry has been homeless and probably always will be once he is found safe. It is a lifestyle choice for Outside Harry and one that will make him harder to find than the average person. Dino, who never was a part of the family business when gambling interests ran Galveston Island, has been making use of his contacts and can’t find him. Dino and his wife, Evelyn, want him found simply because he is missing and they are worried something might have happened to him.
“Besides,” Evelyn went on, “if you don’t look for him, nobody will. Nobody cares what happens to an old man like that.” (Page 8)
There is that as Truman is well aware. Dino is willing to pay in terms of cash and sweetens the deal with an unopened box of Tender Vittles for Truman’s cat, “Nameless” so Truman agrees to do a little looking. That search for Outside Henry leads him to a legendary island building, more than one ambush, and plenty more in “When Old Men Die: A Truman Smith Mystery.”
Third in the series following Dead on the Island and Gator Kill the read is a complex tale of mystery and deceit along with a touch of Texas History. Darker in tone than the Sheriff Dan Rhodes Series, the Truman Smith series features a private investigator that is trying to come to terms with his past and the guilt he feels. As such, each book finds him a little further along that path as he slowly copes with recent events. There are the occasional small flashes of humor, but mainly this book and the series in general is more action orientated with serious situations that are more detailed than in some of the author’s other books. This is a very good series that should be read in order due to the numerous events referenced in When Old Men Die: A Truman Smith Mystery. This series, much like the author, does not get the recognition that is well deserved.
When Old Men Die: A Truman Smith Mystery
Walker and Company (subsidiary of Bloomsbury Publishing)
192 Pages (available in audio cassette and e-book versions)
Material supplied by the good folks of the Plano Library System.
Kevin R. Tipple ©2015