Galveston Island means much more than crab shacks and sunshine to ex-con Roy Cady, the narrator of NIC PIZZOLATTO’s gritty noir debut, GALVESTON. In the year 2008, Galveston is where the former mob goon—now a hunched-over, patch-eyed, dried-out drunk—takes twelve-step meetings at the local Finest Donuts. Twenty years earlier, it was the slightly seedy oceanside resort Cady ran to after gunning his way out of an ambush in New Orleans, with an eighteen-year-old call girl he rescued from the shoot-out and her angelic three-year-old sister in tow. Cady intended to bail and leave the pair to fend for themselves, but he stuck around instead, and Galveston became a faded snapshot of the three playing in the sandy beach along Seawall Boulevard. Pizzolatto uses misdirection, dangling a terminal medical diagnosis that’s critical to the plot but not in the way we expect. In the end, with Hurricane Ike bearing down on the Texas Gulf Coast, the patient reader is rewarded as Roy Cady’s real Galveston reveals itself. Scribner, $25