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 A hunt through Seattle's darkest neighborhoods for Ralph Batista, one of the Irregulars who helps shamus Leo Waterman solve cases and put away booze, leads not only to sozzled Ralph, but to an unexpectedly helpful ally: savvy streetperson Selena Dunlap, who tells Leo where Ralph is likely to be staying, stands up to a police grilling when the Irregulars' rescue mission turns irregular, and casually mentions that she's the mother of Lukkas Terry, the rocker who'd been on top of the world until the cops found him with a needle sticking out of his arm. It's something for Leo to mull over while he gets on with his newest paying job: finding Karen Mendolson, the enterprising librarian who skedaddled with her underwear, her desktop computer, and $193,000 of the public library's money. Since the two cases don't come together till the last few pages, fans of Leo's first two outings (Cast in Stone, 1996, etc.), like the detective himself, will have to make do with shuttling back and forth between a computer- guided search for the larcenous librarian (not much to chew on here, though habituÇs of the DorothyL conference site will crack a smile) and poking around among the supernova heirs of the Terry estate trying to raise some hackles without getting Selena Dunlap killed. Both plots go flat in the end, but Ford's way with dialogue and characters--he's well on his way to becoming the Raymond Chandler of Seattle--may keep you from noticing. (Author tour)

Pub Date: May 22nd, 1997
ISBN: 0-8027-3299-2
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Walker
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 1997


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