Done: Winning Can Be Murder by Bill Crider, 1996 (2000 paperback), 0373263546.
What the hell? I thought this was #2. It's #8 according to the bib on Crider's regular website. Damn it. This used to be a pristine paperback, too. I bought this at Bouchercon last year. The book was in a mylar bag and wrinkle free with no discoloration. Then I ruined it by asking Crider to sign it. Oh well.
Sheriff Dan Rhodes has more to deal with. This time a high school football coach is murdered after the team's nighttime playoff game. The winning team has the whole community excited and buoyant. This is the first big winning seasons in years. After the coach is found dead in his car of a gunshot wound most everyone's first concern is how the killing will effect the team's performance in the next game.
Rhodes has plenty of suspects and theories to go through. Including other coaches, players, Rapper, a local bookie, a slutty wife. Rhodes drives around a lot. Rhodes gets bested by Rapper. Rhodes eats crackers in his courthouse office. Ruth helps out. Lawton and Hack argue. Rhodes figures everything out and catches the killer.
1. Dr. Pepper love.
2. Bologna love.
3. Speedo the Dog's real name is Mr. Earl. No word on whether he never wastes time.
4. "I don't know, but I'm going to find out."
5. Rhodes sticks to his job yet again. Rhodes's dedication often leads to solving a crime that citizens would just as soon forget or ignore. Rhodes always faces resistance in investigations and oftentimes it comes from people in positions of authority or power.
6. Rhodes is the kind of policeman you want all real-life copes to be: he is honest, dedicated, and works for the victims. Rhodes gets angry. He gets confused. He makes mistakes. He keeps thinking it through.
7. Rhodes does not wear a cowboy hat like other sheriffs. This clashes with at least one novel's cover illustration.