In Pepperfish Keys, the fourth in Austinite Darryl Wimberley’s mystery series, Detective Barrett “Bear” Raines—a black cop on Florida’s racially charged Redneck Riviera—struggles to tell the good guys from the bad. Is Senator Baxter Stanton the people’s servant or a sleazebag who bribed his way out of a money-laundering investigation? Will TV talking head Sharon Fowler backstab anyone who stands between her and a big-market news job? And the biggest question: Where was each when Stanton’s daughter, Beth Ann, had her throat slashed in the senator’s mansion? Raines, gritty but not indestructible, endures bloody mayhem before sorting out the answers. Pepperfish Keys marks the lawman’s first appearance since 2001’s Strawman’s Hammock and prolongs a comeback of sorts for the author, whose intense novel The King of Colored Town has proved to be one of 2007’s literary highlights. It’s a good year to be Darryl Wimberley. Thomas Dunne, $24.95
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