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Deal With the Dead Hardcover – February 19, 2001

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 302 pages
  • Publisher: G. P. Putnam's Sons; First Edition edition (February 19, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399147047
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399147043
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,908,506 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

A new Deal is always cause for celebration. In this sixth outing for Standiford's broody antihero, the Miami contractor is ready to break out the champagne and celebrate the big contract he's just been awarded. The job will not only put DealCo in the black again, it may also restore the luster on the family business that was tarnished by the suicide of its founder, Deal's larger- than-life old man.

But Deal soon learns there are strings attached to the contract, and they are all tied to his father's friendship with Lucky Rhodes, a long-dead gangster whose son wants something besides the multimillion dollar project he's hired Deal to build. It's not only Richard Rhodes who needs Deal to find the treasure entrusted by Lucky to Barton Deal for safekeeping a generation ago. The corrupt federal agent who set Deal's father up as a snitch and maybe even a murderer back then is still looking for Lucky's money and has no compunctions about trapping Barton's son in the same snare. Deal with the Dead shows off Standiford's superb pacing. The action doesn't stop, but no nuance of character development is sacrificed to the swiftly developing plot. The suicide of Barton Deal and its effect on his son has been an underlying theme in Standiford's thrillers since he first introduced John Deal in Done Deal. Here the talented author not only explains this back story, but he uses it to tell a powerful tale of redemption and family honor. The result is the best so far in a long-running and justly popular string of thrillers that will more than satisfy readers who may have enjoyed and appreciated Standiford's recent non-Deal mystery, Black Mountain, but still missed the popular series hero. --Jane Adams

From Publishers Weekly

After a 30-month-long hiatus that produced the Deal-less action chiller Black Mountain (Forecasts, Jan. 31), erudite suspense author Standiford brings back urban Miami builder John DealAa sort of "Galahad with a claw hammer"Ain this artfully crafted, ingeniously layered noir fiction. Moving easily back and forth from the late '50s-early '60s (when Deal's construction mogul father, Barton Deal, played a major part in building the Gleason/Sinatra-era skyscrapers of Miami and Miami Beach) to time present, when John is struggling to restore the fortunes of DealCo, the novel also hopscotches from Turkey to Paris, the Caribbean and South Florida, taking scion Deal and his ex-cop sidekick Vernon Driscoll on a collision course with the past. When Deal learns he has been selected as the winning bidder on a lucrative government-funded project, he is visited by a mysterious figure claiming to be a federal spook. John is told that, to save himself from bankruptcy, his father was coerced into an alliance with a Mafia kingpin, then forced to turn informer for the same covert government agent. Caught between the forces of good and evil, Deal's father was ordered to assassinate his friend Grant Rhodes, a high-rolling owner of a gambling ship and several casinos. His betrayal of the mob led to the elder Deal's apparent suicide. In time present, John is caught up in a similar quandary as Rhodes's son shows up to collect his father's treasure stash. Standiford endows his sixth Deal adventure with a gloriously labyrinthine plot, Arthurian characters and Gatsbyesque atmospherics, proving once more that he is a master of crime fiction. Considering that Deal fans have been waiting more than two years for their fix, this satisfying addition to the series should enjoy brisk sales. (Feb.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Old Man Bigler on May 29, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I know I'm swimming against the tide on this one, but this, the first Deal I've read, left me cold. It wasn't the story that bothered me, but rather the writing: unnecessary words in most every sentence; unnecessary sentences in most every paragraph; unnecessary paragraphs in every chapter. In a nutshell, I guess the major problem I had with this book was that unlike in real life, there is no danger of failing to read between the lines because Mr. Standiford beats you over the head with the obvious so often that there is no in between the lines.
Here, try this on for size:
"They were high enough up in the building that the linoleum in the hallways had turned to carpeting, and no indoor-outdoor crap with a pattern meant to disguised coffee stains, either. This was carpet that cushioned your steps, the kind meant to remind you-if you were to tread upon it every day-that you were somebody now. And the walls themselves were different, as well. Instead of gray-green finished concrete, there was wooden paneling halfway up, then some tasteful dark-blue linen wallpaper the rest of the way to the stuccoed ceiling. Every half-dozen steps there was a brass sconce set that threw light out in a golden glob, just so."
If this is your notion of vibrant language, gracefully and economically expressing an idea, then maybe Deal With The Dead is the book for you. But to me it sounds clunky and for my money, there are a lot better books out there plowing the same terrain.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Gerard C. Smith on March 14, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Les Standiford's sixth John Deal novel is a humdinger. All the suspense, all the action, and all the humanity that we've come to expect of Standiford's "Deal" Novels is there. The story is one of redemption. John Deal redeeming his knowlege of his father who had apparently been a crooked builder and a suicide; redeeming his family's good name; and, finally, redeeming himself. Can he do it? You bet. But, not without all kinds of barriers and impediments to climb over or push out of the way. Standiford is the worthy sucessor to John D. MacDonald and his Florida based Travis McGee stories. But, Standiford's John Deal is more a real person than MacDonalds McGee. Read DEAL WITH THE DEAD. It's the real deal.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on February 15, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Miami builder John Deal wants to restore his deceased father's company to the hey days of the 1950s-1960s when Barton Deal was a major player in the construction boom. When John wins the bid on an advantageous government contract, he feels he has taken a large step back to what once was.

However, sometimes you get what you wish for, especially if one is not careful in what they ask. Tied to the contract is a shadowy individual claiming to be a Fed. He informs John that Barton bartered away his soul in order to succeed. The government arranged for Barton to befriend the local Mafia and subsequently provide information against the mob. Ultimately a pressured Barton killed a friend while his disloyalty to the Mafia led to his alleged suicide. John finds wearing his father's shoes pinch more than just his toes as history seems ready to repeat itself.

After waiting for two and a half years even with a well-written filler (BLACK MOUNTAIN), readers will rejoice in the return of John Deal. His latest adventure, DEAL WITH THE DEAD, is extremely complex as two major story lines in two different eras blend together into a fantastic plot. With superb plotting, fantastic characters, and the return of old friends, ultra talented author Les Standiford is trapped by how fantastic the Deal novels are. When he ventures outside of Deal, readers feel let down even if the book is better than just about everything else on the market. Well, no depression as this novel is the real deal for fans of suspense.

Harriet Klausner
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By MacGeezer on January 12, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
a generic thriller featuring a Miami contractor that's too dumb to be believable(how can you empathize with an idiot?) and dialogue that sounds like a 1950s teen prom; two major negatives that ruin a decent plot but is typical of the series; one would expect better of Standiford who is, or recently has been, a professor of creative writing in a southern university
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