McDonell (Half Crazy) is a bit too true to the originals that inspired this first in a new series, which introduces Nick Sayler, a damaged PI somewhere between Lawrence Block's Matthew Scudder and John D. Macdonald's Travis McGee. Nick, who lives on a barge called Dumb Luck on the Jersey side of the Hudson, crosses the river after receiving a call from an ER doctor at Manhattan's Bellevue hospital about an unidentified amnesiac woman. She was the victim of a brutal attack and was carrying Nick's business card. Her misshapen feet suggest she's a ballet dancer. When the doctor who called Nick turns up dead, and Nick and his friends narrowly fight off a raid aimed at the dancer, it becomes clear this was no random attack and that the dancer is still a target. The unsurprising, straightforward plot stalls in telling Nick's tragic backstory, but readers will appreciate the colorful supporting cast, including beautiful women for Nick to protect from loathsome bad guys. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.