Last Ditch

G. M. Ford, Author
G. M. Ford, Author William Morrow & Company $22 (280p) ISBN 978-0-380-97557-0
Mass Market Paperbound - 320 pages - 978-0-380-79369-3
Paperback - 405 pages - 978-0-330-42755-5
Open Ebook - 300 pages - 978-0-330-52955-6
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It's hard work trying to keep a series fresh, and in Ford's fifth novel about Seattle private detective Leo Waterman (Slow Burn, etc.) the strain shows. Most of the recurring jokes--about Leo's powerful family and their embarrassment about his work, about his dysfunctional Fiat and his animosity toward the police department--fall flat. Even the Boys, the band of homeless drunks Waterman supports and employs from time to time, aren't quite as engaging anymore. When the 30-year-old remains of a gay-bashing, right-wing newspaper columnist named Peerless Price turn up on the grounds of the mansion belonging to Leo's late father, politician Wild Bill Waterman, it begins to look as if Wild Bill had shot his arch enemy. Because both his starchy uncle Pat and the Seattle PD warn him against it, Leo risks life, limb and ancient convertible to prove his father's innocence. What he finds out--from Wild Bill's old driver and other ghosts from the past (including an earless Oriental phantom straight out of Sax Rohmer; see the review of The Revenge of Kali-Ra, below)--proves more bizarre than exciting. (Feb.)
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