After six books about Leo Waterman, a Seattle PI with an eccentric fondness for drunks and deadbeats, Ford created in Fury (2001) a very different kind of antihero—Frank Corso, an ace investigative journalist fired by the New York Times for fabricating a story. Fury was well received, but Corso himself often seemed a work in progress. This second time out, Corso lives, breathes and walks on his own solid legs through the Seattle streets Ford knows so well. He's making big bucks writing true crime books, living on board his boat berthed on Lake Union with a terrific view of the skyline (the description of Bill Gates's Mercer Island mega-mansion as seen from the water is dead on: "At first it looked like a park. Then maybe a trendy waterfront shopping center. Very Northwest. Lots of environmentally conscious exposed rock and wood"). Corso is the only journalist allowed to cover the federal trial of a nasty Russian hoodlum accused of causing the collapse of a Los Angeles hospital; his Fury lady friend—photographer Meg Dougherty, whose body was covered in hideous tattoos by a berserk former lover—winds up in the hospital after stumbling on two of the Russian's hired killers. Those killers, a pair of convincingly scary Cubans; a touchingly fallible female federal prosecutor with a slight drinking problem; a Cambodian apartment manager; a young medical student trying to understand his missing father—are all made so real so quickly that you might miss the considerable artistry involved. Welcome back, Mr. Corso—and Mr. Ford. (July 8)
Forecast:A plug from Dennis Lehane, national print advertising and a six-city author tour should help lift this one onto genre bestseller lists.