An expanded version appears on my blog, The Irresponsible Reader.
I'd forgotten how quotable Ford can be in the time between Waterman novels. This description of a lifelong, um, acquaintance and current gun dealer probably beats the competition in this book (by a hair):
Junior Bailey couldn’t have been more than a couple of Oreos short of three hundred pounds. A corpulent corpuscle in a hideous purple suit, he looked like a Cuban headwaiter who had been held hostage in a doughnut shop. Except for the rosebud lips, he bore little or no resemblance to his father.
How can you not like a book with lines like that? 1. It's funny, 2. You have a clear picture of this guy in your head, 3. Given the phrasing, you're pretty sure just what the narrator thinks of ol' Junior Bailey. This kind of writing keeps me turning pages -- I almost don't care about plot or character. Almost.
But despite the years, Ford hasn't lost a step with these characters -- Leo is still Leo. Yes, aged, and clearly affected by Rebecca's moving on. But still the same man -- and when called upon to come to her aid, he dives right in. The folks at the bar are still as fun (and tragic) and silly as remembered.
And the case? Rebecca's gone missing, her bad choice of husband is, too -- and no one seems to care other than her mother. Granted, she thinks Leo would've been a worse choice for Rebecca, but she knows that if anyone will look for Rebecca it'd be Leo. There's some brutal action, some good twists and turns to the tale, a few criminals that are requisitely evil and demented, and more than enough chuckles before reaching a very satisfying conclusion. I'm so glad to see that Ford's at work on another in this series.