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.)
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