Houstonian JAMES HIME has built a global stage for retired Texas Ranger Jeremiah Spur and deputy sheriff Clyde Thomas to strut on in his second novel, SCARED MONEY (St. Martin's Minotaur). Spur (who also appeared with Thomas in Hime's debut, The Night of the Dance ) has been enticed by the feds into giving them a helping hand with a missing-persons case involving a CIA hit man turned Dallas businessman—and $10 million. Thomas, meanwhile, has his hands full with a police brutality suit, a slander suit, and a series of drug-related deaths in tiny Brenham. Hime sets 'em up and knocks 'em down with élan in this edgy thriller—sophisticated enough to sprawl from the cafes of Vienna to the alleys of Brenham without skipping a beat.

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