In Cripple Creek, this unfocused sequel to James Sallis’ acclaimed 2004 novel Cypress Grove, trouble returns to the loamy Southern town where ex-con Turner works as a sheriff’s deputy. It arrives in the person of Judd Kurtz, a Mustang-driving stranger with Jack Daniels on his breath, a trunk full of cash, and some trigger-happy friends. But Sallis doesn’t follow up on this classic suspense set-up with the kind of tight little thriller he delivered in last year’s Drive. Instead, this slender, mannered novel wanders from the pleasures of slow-cooked rabbit stew to Turner’s rocky family history to his girlfriend’s plans to hit the road as a banjo-player. Sallis’ terse, elegant prose style can’t carry this aimless narrative.