The Prairie Chicken Kill
That Truman Smith was sitting in a frayed lawn chair reading an old paperback copy of Tobacco Road was not remarkable. And strange as it sounds, it wasn't particularly noteworthy that someone wanted Smith to look into the murder of a prairie chicken; after all, he'd investigated and solved the murder of an alligator, hadn't he? More
THE TRUMAN SMITH PRIVATE EYE SERIES: Truman Smith operates on Galveston Island, not far from Houston. The first book in the series, Dead on the Island, was nominated for a Shamus Award by the Private-Eye Writers of America.
That Truman Smith was sitting in a frayed lawn chair reading an old paperback copy of Tobacco Road was not remarkable. And strange as it sounds, it wasn't particularly noteworthy that someone wanted Smith to look into the murder of a prairie chicken; after all, he'd investigated and solved the murder of an alligator, hadn't he? The Attwater's Prairie Chicken isn't really a chicken, it's a grouse. And there are only about 108 of them in the world. The murdered bird was on Lance Garrison's land, and part of his deal with the government was that the small flock would be protected. Garrison's wealth - and his radio station - made him a likely target for trouble, but this was unexpected. Also unexpected was the reason the prairie chicken was killed ... and all the deaths that were to follow, and not of other endangered species. Some people in Picketville, Texas, had decided that Truman Smith endangered them and that he had to be stopped. The result was a deadly game of chicken, with Smith everyone's favorite target.
BILL CRIDER : "I was born and brought up in Mexia (that's pronounced Muh-HAY-uh by the natives), Texas. The town's most famous former citizen is Anna Nicole Smith, whom my brother taught in biology class when she was in the ninth grade. I've always lived in small Texas towns, unless you count Austin as a large town. It wasn't so large when I lived there, though. I attended The University of Texas at Austin for many, many years. My wife (the lovely Judy) says that I would never have left grad school if she hadn't forced me to get out and get a real job.
I eventually earned my Ph.D. there, writing a dissertation on the hardboiled detective novel, and thereby putting my mystery-reading habit to good use. Before that, I'd gotten my M.A. at the University of North Texas (in Denton), and afterward I taught English at Howard Payne University for twelve years. Then I moved to scenic Alvin, Texas, where until 2002 I was the Chair of the Division of English and Fine Arts. I retired in August 2002 to become a either a full-time writer or a part-time bum. Take your pick."
FIND MORE OF BILL CRIDER'S BOOKS IN DIGITAL FROM CROSSROAD PRESS, including more Truman Smith mysteries, the Short Story collection The Nighttime is the Right Time, Westerns, and his long out of print horror novels under the name Jack MacLane.
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