Investigator Leo Waterman destroyed the plans, men, and millions
of dollars in materials and equipment of a white supremacist
group. Badly injured, Leo and his androgynous friend and protector
Gabe, have taken refuge to recover in Ocean Beach, California,
trying to keep a very low profile. Finding a body on the beach,
and being bitten by a homeless man, propels Leo into an investigation
which takes the pair into Mexico and the world of sex trafficking,
caught between two groups out to kill them.
Ford does create unique characters. From those one has met
before, such as Gabe and other Seattle characters; to Chub
and Lamar—one hopes never to meet them. Who else would
think up a guy with an afro and a barcode tattooed on his
forehead? But then there's SDPD officer, Sergeant Carolyn
Saunders. She is someone of whom one would love to see more
in the future.
Ford's perceptiveness—"Borders are lines in the
sand. Bloody lines. Lines that people fought and died for."—is
as good as his sense of humor—"You know how people
like to pretend they're more familiar with places than they
really are … That was us. …neither of us wanted
to admit we didn't quite remember the way…so we'd …wandered
…for half an hour before realizing our mistake and sheepishly
asking a truck driver for directions." He also takes
one places one pretends don't exist; places one doesn't want
to see where life is as one hopes never to experience. But
it is his humor which creates balance—"Take the
5 to the 8 … then over the bridge into Mission Bay."
"Ooooh … don't we sound like Californians now,"
The plot has a slowly-building flame with a very good intersection
between the two threads of the plot. What's nice is that it's
not all action. Ford also makes one stop and think along the
way. Still, he does take the story from crescendo to crescendo.
When things get serious, they get very serious and uncomfortably
relevant to today's issues, which are important and handled
on the Dead" is one cracking good, fast-paced, suspenseful
story. It is exciting, but it's way more than an airplane
book due to its focus. One thing is for certain: one never
gets bored reading Ford.