Hearing a dying stranger call you by name would leave anyone full of questions. When it happens to private eye Leo Waterman, the more he learns about the late lottery winner's rags-to-riches-to-ruination life, the more he wants not just answers but justice. That means a road trip to Idaho to find out how a good-hearted young man with millions got skinned - in more ways than one. It's all downhill from there as Leo gets roped into an ugly battle between elderly ranchers and a ruthless developer who knows how to make a killing. Money can’t buy happiness, but trying to take it from the wrong people could leave Leo a lot worse than miserable.
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A bit about the Leo Waterman series: G.M.Ford has been writing novels in this series for more than 20 years. Leo is the son of a very wealthy and famous crook. He has been lazy and useless for much of his life. He inherited a vast fortune, but his dad set up the inheritance so that Leo could not have access to any of the money until age 45. Leo became a private eye working as little as possible until he reached age 45. He arrived at the magic age in the 6th novel in the series. Chump Change is the 8th novel. The series is set mostly in Seattle, but there is some travel to other parts of the US northwest and western Canada.
Chump Change, released in 2014, is filled with humor, action, and suspense. It is also more than a bit unrealistic, but it is a wild and fun ride. So the reader should suspend disbelief and enjoy the ride.
I’ve read police procedurals, courtroom dramas, PI and covert operator novels by Grisham, Haig, Clancy, Fury, Connelly, Crais, Flynn, Eisler and the rest, so after a while one learns how trained professionals behave in given situations. Apparently Mr. Ford doesn't read them or otherwise know what he’s talking about, so the book is painfully amateurish, unbelievable and riddled with contradictions. This is not a book for a discerning reader; in fact I would say it one of the worst books I’ve read.
The millionaire PI hero Leo, demonstrates his pugnacious character when confronted by a cop who harasses him on the way to his destination. Turns out the bad guys own the destination town too, so after another confrontation, he retires to a hotel room and waits for them to come for him with the lights on and the TV blaring (one doesn’t normally illuminate oneself as the target further adding the distraction and noise of a TV, duh). He has brought along plenty of firepower; a Glock, an assault rifle with heh, a “60 round clip” and a Smith and Wesson snub nose 38. He has set the remote alarm on his car should they tamper with it, which of course they do. When the alarm sounds, he turns off the TV and lights and sneaks outside to the parking lot with his least practical weapon, the .38. Making a silly story short, he finds two perps ransacking his car and yells at them from behind another car to leave. No, he doesn’t call the cops nor does he identify or confront them, he just asks them to leave!
Later, running from pursuers on a dark night, he runs off a ledge he couldn’t see in the dark, landing in a canal with his pursuers close behind. In the canal he discovers and swims inside a large metal culvert. Once inside, he confronts the pursuing attack dog, and later the dog’s owner, and ‘seeing their moves’, is able to fight them, finally killing both. Then he moves further inside and ‘sees’ a bend in the culvert. I trust I needn’t explain the impossibility of all this. There are many more ridiculous vignettes of this nature. The story lurches from one implausibility to another which was mildly entertaining for a bit, just to see how ridiculous it could get, but finally it was just irritating, I could not finish it.