Cover image for The deader the better : a Leo Waterman mystery
Title:
The deader the better : a Leo Waterman mystery
Author:
Ford, G. M. (Gerald M.)
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York, N.Y. : Avon Twilight, [2000]

©2000
Physical Description:
343 pages ; 22 cm
Language:
English
Geographic Term:
ISBN:
9780380977239
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

Leo isn't looking for trouble when he and Rebecca escape into the wilderness for a few days of isolation and relaxation -- it just seems to find him. An old friend has purchased some choice property in North America's only rainforest, and his posting of No Trespassing signs has incurred the wrath of every boater, hunter, and fisherman for miles around. What starts as irksome harassment by the offended locals -- evil looks and random acts of vandalism -- escalates quite quickly, however, into the realm of the lethal. And it's just Waterman's luck to be in the epicenter of this murderous mess at the very moment it bursts into flames.

When an ever-increasing body count is met with bland indifference by the local authorities, Leo realizes it's time to summon together a ragtag surveillance team from all walks of his life. And with a little help from his "residentially challenged" legmen -- those "Boys" back in Seattle -- Leo's determined to staunch the flow of blood that's despoiling an unspoiled land...while getting to the twisted roots of a homicidal greed that now has his whole motley crew marked for death.

If you've never met Leo Waterman, or wandered into his world, start right here. If you've previously experienced the tense and terrific fun of G. M. Ford, hang on and enjoy -- because the boys are back in town!

Leo isn't looking for trouble when he and Rebecca escape into the wilderness for a few days of isolation and relaxation--it just seems to find him. An old friend has purchased some choice property in North America's only rainforest, and his posting of No Trespassing signs has incurred the wrath of every boater, hunter, and fisherman for miles around. What starts as irksome harassment by the offended locals--evil looks and random acts of vandalism--escalates quite quickly, however, into the realm of the lethal. And it's just Waterman's luck to be in the epicenter of this murderous mess at the very moment it bursts into flames.

When an ever-increasing body count is met with bland indifference by the local authorities, Leo realizes it's time to summon together a ragtag surveillance team from all walks of his life. And with a little help from his "residentially challenged" legmen--those "Boys" back in Seattle--Leo's determined to staunch the flow of blood that's despoiling an unspoiled land...while getting to the twisted roots of a homicidal greed that now has his whole motley crew marked for death.

If you've never met Leo Waterman, or wandered into his world, start right here. If you've previously experienced the tense and terrific fun of G. M. Ford, hang on and enjoy--because the boys are back in town!


Author Notes

Gerald M. Ford was born on July 9, 1945, in Everett, Massachusetts. He received his B.A. from Hawthorne College, a M.A. in English from Adelphi University, and a second M.A., this one in political science, from the University of Washington.

Ford taught English and communications at colleges in Oregon and Washington for twenty years. He often thought he would like to write a detective story himself. In 1995, his first mystery, Who in Hell Is Wanda Fuca?, part of his Leo Waterman Series, was published, and since then he has also written Cast in Stone (1996), The Bum's Rush (1997), Last Ditch, and Slow Burn. Ford is also the author of the Frank Corso Series.

Ford has been nominated for the Anthony Award, the Shaumus Award, and the Lefty Dilys Award.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Seattle sleuth Leo Waterman assembles a truly motley crew--not only his familiar down-at-the-heels "boys" but also a perverted forger, a crippled wireman, a high-priced call girl, a gay burglar, and a couple of legbreakers--to get to the bottom of what happened to a friend in Stevens Falls, Washington. The friend bought a prime piece of property along a premier salmon and steelhead stream to pursue his dream of operating a fishing camp, only to wind up burned beyond recognition in a suspicious car accident that the authorities insist on calling suicide. Waterman and his longtime girlfriend, Rebecca, very nearly meet a similar end before Waterman calls in his reinforcements and declares war on the town's corrupt officials. The sixth of Ford's Leo Waterman mysteries has all of the enticements of its predecessors: intricate plotting, wonderfully specific locales, and a wealth of wisecracks from one of the most engaging private eyes in all of mysterydom. Ford fans will not be disappointed. --Dennis Dodge


Publisher's Weekly Review

Lots of smooth, wiseacre talk powers this agreeable caper past two major shortcomings: a near-overpowering intro section and a woefully underdeveloped big-scam ending that falls seriously flat. Freelance sleuth Leo Waterman memorably rescues a teenage girl from the Seattle streets, then heads deeper into the state of Washington to hang out with J.D. Springer, a fisherman pal. J.D. and his family have bought a place close to Native American land. He's made several enemies among the surly locals by denying them all fishing, hunting and boating rights. Soon J.D. is a charred corpse at the bottom of a hill, his cabin is burned out and his family has fled. Leo's initial inquiries lead to a car crash and copious injuries to both himself and Rebecca, his forensic pathologist girlfriend. All but abandoned by the more sensible Rebecca, Leo assembles a ragtag collection of career criminals for a projected megascam to root out the villains. The scam is barely under way before Leo incurs the wrath of the local cops and embarks on a romance with a wealthy local woman. Kindhearted, street smart and fast-mouthed, Leo possesses more than enough panache and personality to carry this slick yet slight work. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

Seattle private investigator Leo Waterman travels with girlfriend Rebecca to a friend's place in the Pacific Northwest rainforest. Unfortunately for the friend, local residents become murderously angry over his no-trespassing signs. A solidly entertaining series addition. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

The Deader the Better A Leo Waterman Mystery Chapter One Nowadays, he was just a pimp with a limp. A wiry specimen with a head too big for his body and a string of two dozen call girls he ran out of a limousine service in south Seattle. The girls called him Baby G, but I remembered a time when he was plain old Tyrone Gill, a playground legend who could take you off the dribble and stick it in the hole with the best of them. The Rocket Man, we'd called him ... after that old Elton John song. That was back before he made what he now liked to call "a series of unfortunate self-medication choices." Back before a rival procurer tried to amputate his foot in a Belltown alley. Back before a lot of things. For both of us. "Gonna call it Ho-Fest Two Thousand." He nudged me hard in the ribs. "Can you see it, man? The tents. The banners. The food stands." "Food stands?" I caught his feigned astonishment from the comer of my eye. "Man do not live by pussy alone," he said gravely. When I reckoned how he might be right, he went on. "Culturally coordinated, too, my man." "How's that?" "You know, man, like we got one tent set up for the regular trade. Missionary position types. Right next store we got some comfort food. Strictly meat and potatoes. Grits and gravy. That kinda shit." "Oh?" He cut a swath with his hand. "'Cross the way we got the Greek tent. You know ... for the backwards types." I pulled one hand from the wheel and held it up. "No. No. Let me guess. Dolmas, kabobs, and rice pilaf." He grinned and nudged me again. His big head bobbed up and down like one of those spring-loaded dolls. "I knew you was a man of vision, Leo." Vision was precisely what I didn't have. The Explorer needed new wipers. Despite slapping back and forth at breakneck speed, the worn blades merely flattened the intermittent rain across the glass, smearing the muck into pulsating blobs of form and color that reminded me of long-ago light shows and psychedelic drugs. The unwanted memory tightened my lower jaw and sent a shiver sliding down my spine. I clapped my free hand back onto the wheel and scrunched down in the seat, peering out at the thick traffic through a small, unsullied crescent of glass at the bottom of the windshield. Baby G snapped me back. "That's why you got to help me out wid this," he said. "Ain't nobody else could do it but you, man." I shook my head. "You got to get real here, G. No way anybody is going to give you a city permit to stage..." I looked over at him. "What did you say you wanted to call it?" He wore a blue silk suit. Three-piece. Tailored to him like it was made of iron. And a bright yellow tie. "Ho-Fest Two Thousand," he said. "Not gonna happen in any city park, man. No point even talking about it." As G opened his mouth to protest, I leveled him with the coupe de grace. "Even my old man couldn't have pulled that shit off," I said. He recognized this as a serious rejoinder, indeed. His face clouded. He closed his mouth so hard he looked like a large-mouth bass and then began staring sullenly out through the windshield. My old man had parlayed an early career as a union thug into eleven terms on the Seattle City Council. In the course of his storied thirty-year career of public service, Wild Bill Waterman had tilled previously unimagined ground in the fertile fields of influence peddling, insider trading and familial hiring preferences. When I turned forty-five, I was in line to inherit a bundle of ill-gotten downtown real estate, and to this day, twenty-five years after my father's death, nearly every city department is still being run by somebody related to me either by blood or by marriage. That's how come G had spent the ride from downtown filling my ear with his nonsense about wanting me to use my connections to help him get a permit to use Discovery Park for some kind of a superbowl of suction. Mostly, though, he was just talking to hear himself talk. He was nervous about our errand tonight, He wasn't letting on, but I could tell. Those huge hands were twitchy. "There's Darlene," she said. First time she'd spoken. G had introduced her as Narva. The professional makeup job made it hard to tell, but I made her to be about thirty. Better than six feet, light green contact lenses, short blond hair, smooth and curled under. Impeccable in a blue microfiber raincoat, she sat in the center of the backseat, her perfect face as smooth and unmoving as a figurine's. If I hadn't known better, I'd have made her for a corporate type. Big-time Ivy League. Stocks and bonds. Maybe a junior partner attorney. Never for a hooker. No way. Up ahead on the right, wedged between Watson's Plumbing Supply and a boarded-up beauty college, the Pine Tree Diner lurked in its own shadows, like one of those Edward Hopper paintings. At once welcoming and onerous, a classic silver diner, back before they added on and became "family restaurants." From a distance, the rounded silver edges and the solid band of light along the front facade made it look like a jukebox buried to its neck in asphalt. I moved the Explorer into the right lane. Just as you'd never make Narva for a whore, you'd never make Darlene for anything else. The girl had the look down. Texas teased hair, a white fur bolero jacket over what appeared to be a red rubber dress. Knee-high white boots that laced up the side. The Deader the Better A Leo Waterman Mystery . Copyright © by G.M. Ford. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold. Excerpted from The Deader the Better by G. M. Ford All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.