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Chris NelsonThe amount of writing talent blossoming in the sunny climes of Florida is truly astounding. Established authors such as Elmore Leonard, Edna Buchanan, Dave Barry and Carl Hiaasen are being joined by dozens of other writers earmarked for the top. And among the best of the latest bunch is Les Standiford. His Deal series is already a success and this latest effort,Deal on Ice, will do nothing but good for his growing reputation. The Deal in question is building-contractor and sometime detective John Deal, who makes a refreshing change as a private eye without the usual superhuman abilities which always appear to afflict his peers. In Deal on Ice, he finds an old friend and bookseller murdered as a mega-book barn moves in across the street. It's not just coincidence, and more and more corpses quickly start littering the Florida landscape. As the story rattles along, two startlingly different killers emerge — a husband and wife who outwardly resemble a retired Florida couple, yet hide the inner nastiness of geriatric Charlie Mansons. As Deal stumbles on this pair of murderers the plot gets more twisted and leads to the head of a strange cult intent on using the World Wide Web for some type of global domination. It's all heady stuff, but Standiford writes so well and with such pace that the otherwise awkward jumps in the plot are easily forgotten. Even at this early stage it's obvious the Deal series is going to be hugely popular. So readers might as well get in on the ground floor and enjoy the ride.