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The Deader the Better

Cover of The Deader the Better

The Deader the Better

Leo Waterman Mystery Series, Book 6
by G.M. Ford

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.

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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Excerpts-
  • 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.

About 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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