G.M. Ford's unconventional private detective, Leo Waterman, jolts the p.i. scene like a double shot of espresso from a sleek Seattle coffee bar. Aided by his band of scruffy irregulars -- "the Boys," a team of residentially challenged connoisseur of inexpensive spirits -- Leo remains Seattle's most unorthodox p.i. Now, SLOW BURN ignites the fuse on the most combustible entry in the waterman cannon.
Anticipating disaster, a prestigious global restaurant convention hires Leo as Special Security Officer. His assignment: monitor the movements of two adversarial steakhouse competitors whose "beef" has previously made for some nasty confrontations and a food critic who's caught in between the warring factions. Leo sends the Boys off to shadow all three parties and report back to him. But even the simplest of plans can casade into catastrophe. And Leo soon finds himself served up as the prime suspect in a murder...realizing that both his life and career are at stake.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful: Slow Burn Never Catches, August 18, 2002 Reviewer: sweetmolly from RICHMOND, VA USA Mr. Ford's excellent "Fury" led me to purchase this book, my introduction to Leo Waterman. It was a disappointment. Leo seems like a pale imitation of James Crumley's Milo Milodragovitch with a little of Robert Parker's Spencer thrown in for good measure. The plot is confusing and depends too much on visuals; nice in a movie but a strain in a book. Leo is hired to protect the good name of the La Cuisine International who are holding their first non-European convention in a five-star Seattle hotel. Employer Sir Geoffrey Miles feels some of the member/participants are in "mortal danger." Two competing magnates of chain steak houses are briskly skirmishing in the courts, a food critic of enormous influence is playing a ruthless game of "who gets the five-stars." Except for the fact that all the characters in "danger" seem uniformly disagreeable, it is difficult to see a compelling reason to kill them. Leo employs his Army of the Homeless for surveillance purposes, much chasing around ensues, great efforts are made to keep one of the steak house owners from having a giant barbeque in downtown Seattle and the food critic is knocked off. The reader solves the mystery about 100 pages ahead of Leo leaving not much but a series of anti-climaxes. There are some bright spots: Sir Geoffrey Miles is deftly characterized as a Nero Wolfe par excellence and is amusing and entertaining. Mr. Ford does Seattle very well, as I noted in "Fury." He makes it sound so attractive I have to keep repeating to myself "Remember the Rain, remember the rain!" The homeless characters and their lifestyles are interesting and handled with sensitivity. Perhaps Mr. Ford just had a bad outing. I will try another book, probably without Leo, and hope it rekindles my enthusiasm for Mr. Ford's books. Give "Slow Burn" a pass.