The Deader the Better (Leo Waterman Series #6)

( 2 )


Seattle p.i. Leo Waterman isn't looking for trouble when he and his forensic pathologist girlfriend Rebecca escape into the Washington wilder for a few days of relaxation — it just seems to find him. An old friend has purchased some choice property here in North America's only rain forest and his posting of "No Trespassing" signs has incurred the wrath of every sportsman for miles around. But what starts as irksome harassment by the offended locals soon escalates into the real of the lethal. And it's just ...

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The Deader the Better: A Leo Waterman Mystery

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Seattle p.i. Leo Waterman isn't looking for trouble when he and his forensic pathologist girlfriend Rebecca escape into the Washington wilder for a few days of relaxation — it just seems to find him. An old friend has purchased some choice property here in North America's only rain forest and his posting of "No Trespassing" signs has incurred the wrath of every sportsman for miles around. But what starts as irksome harassment by the offended locals soon escalates into the real 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.

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Editorial Reviews

Cleveland Plain Dealer
Unique, quirky, and sometimes hilarious...incisively written and thought-provoking...Waterman is single-minded, appealing, insightful, and tougher than a chain restaurant steak.
Washington Post Book World
If G.M. Ford writes five more years' worth of Leo Waterman novels, I'll be happy to read every one of them.
Library Journal
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. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780380804207
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/28/2001
  • Series: Leo Waterman Series, #6
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 1,058,801
  • Product dimensions: 4.18 (w) x 6.75 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Meet the Author

G.M. Ford is the author of six widely praised Frank Corso novels, Fury, Black River, A Blind Eye, Red Tide, No Man's Land, and Blown Away, as well as six highly acclaimed mysteries featuring Seattle private investigator Leo Waterman. A former creative writing teacher in western Washington, Ford lives in Oregon and is currently working on his next novel.

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Read an Excerpt

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."


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."

Visionwas 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 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 conne 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...

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2013


    I wish Harriet would justgive a review, instead of giving away the whole book

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    A BMW of a Waterman tale

    When he turns forty-five, Seattle private detective Leo Waterman will inherit a large trust fund. Currently, Leo lives with his long time partner forensic pathologist Rebecca, who loves him. Leo still has a foul taste in his mouth from his last case even though he successfully rescued a sexually abused teenage girl and placed her with her grandmother. <P>To escape the city, Leo and Rebecca visit her goddaughter Claudia and her family at their newly acquired fishing camp in Steven's Falls. Claudia's husband J.D tells Leo that the locals are out to destroy him because the town wanted the property he purchased. Leo figures J.D. being an outsider is just a tad paranoid by the aloofness of the townsfolk. After returning home, Leo reconsiders his opinion since J.D. is reported dead and Claudia and their children are missing. Leo and Rebecca investigate, but are injured when two vehicles run their car off the road. Leo refuses to kowtow to pressure and continues to place his life in danger from a town without pity, one that prefers to keep hidden at any cost its dirty secrets. <P>As in most of the novels in this superb series, the Quixote-like Leo's caring for the down trodden motivates him into action that leaves readers with an exciting tale. The smooth flowing mystery is fast-paced as expected from this triumphant series. Talented G.M. Ford is clearly a BMW of a writer. <P>Harriet Klausner

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