4.5 stars out of 5
Aha - methinks I just found a great new (to me) series! This one actually is the eighth featuring private detective Leo Waterman, but it stands on its own very well. In fact, since I enjoyed it so much, I'm going to try and get my hands on a few of the earlier books.
The writing and the plot make this a plain old, hard-boiled, fast-paced detective novel in traditional fashion; no chapters shifting back and forth between past and present and no tense psychological drama or wishy-washy characters. I half expected Leo to crack, "Hey, doll, what are you doing in a joint like this?" at any moment. In fact, to my great amusement, he did utter some great lines (the best of which, alas, are a bit too ribald to put in print). And all that, IMHO, is a good thing.
It begins as Leo learns from his long-time but now former squeeze, county Medical Examiner Rebecca Duval, that two unidentified and apparently unrelated bodies have been found in the trunk of a car, inexplicably covered by a huge coat that belonged to Leo's equally huge father. The two dead guys appear to have quite dissimilar backgrounds, raising even more questions, and Leo - particularly curious about how the coat got involved - sets out to ID the pair and find the connection.
Enlisting help from Rebecca and a couple of other expert cronies, he finds links to a local "church" and a pastor who loves to make parishioners' hair stand on end with his sermons. His search for the truth leads to an out-of-the-way church camp with a lake (to which the title refers), a couple of trigger-happy bad guys and across-the-street neighbors who make the fights between Virginia Woolf and her husband Leonard pale in comparison. Amid all these crazies there's plenty of action that kept me turning the pages (the book isn't very long, so I breezed through it in just a couple of days of spare time).
In short, good job! Many thanks to the author and publisher, via NetGalley, for allowing me to read this book in exchange for a review.
Salvation Lake by G.M. Ford (Thomas & Mercer, July 2016); 226 pp.