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Sanibel Flats Leather Bound – January 1, 2005
|New from||Used from|
|Leather Bound, January 1, 2005||
- Publisher : Busted Flush Press; First Edition (January 1, 2005)
- Language : English
- Leather Bound : 244 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0976715716
- ISBN-13 : 978-0976715719
- Item Weight : 1.25 pounds
Best Sellers Rank:
#14,320,425 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
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White presently has nearly 30 Doc Ford novels under his belt (plus the Doc Ford's Rum Bar & Grille restaurant chain, two factors that should help prove just how enormously popular and successful this series is!), which, as a strict read-in-order book nerd, makes me wish I'd started on this series much earlier and had less of an uphill climb to face. On the other hand, if the rest of the series proves to be as enjoyable as Doc Ford's 1990 debut in Sanibel Flats, I'm not likely to mind having such a surplus of books to read.
Doc Ford is a former government agent (what agency he worked for and what he did for them is unclear) now living off a marina on Sanibel Island collecting sharks to sell to schools for dissection. He's lured back into a life of intrigue by an old associate, Rafe Hollins, whose son has been kidnapped. Hollins used to smuggle artifacts for a Central American revolutionary, to whom he is now in debt, with the life of his child hanging in the balance. Doc agrees to help, but when he goes to meet Hollins, he instead finds his former friend hanging dead and being picked apart by vultures.
Sanibel Flats is a surprisingly complex mystery with a lot of dangling threads a lesser author would have gotten caught up in and left flailing. White, though, proves to be incredibly competent at juggling all of the various intricacies woven throughout the narrative, and he keeps the plot bouncing from one subplot to another. This is a pretty densely layered noir that pulls in elements of marine biology, Mayan history, Florida land development, guerrilla armies, and romantic entanglements. Somehow, White makes sense of it all, even if the resolution ultimately felt a little too pat and a touch disappointing after all that had come before it.
I can forgive the squandered ending, though, simply because I enjoyed the characters so much. Ford is a nicely complex-but-trying-to-be-simple man, and it's a lot of fun to see the characters at the marina try to figure him out. They peg him as a quiet, bookish guy who wouldn't hurt a fly. Readers will instantly know different, and I had a blast watching his pals learn just how wrong they are when Doc's encounter with a snotty businessman goes south early on. I dug seeing Ford manipulate his way in and out of situations, social engineer those around him, and use a welcome combination of spycraft and science to keep the upper hand. He's a smart guy, as his pal Tomlinson, a hippie whose brains belies his appearance. Both men have cultivated disguises of sorts, and discovering who they really are is a lot of fun.
Wayne leaves you wanting more from each of them, and I'm certainly game for another adventure. Thankfully, I have a lot of catching up to do!
Though I really enjoyed the story I didn't give it five stars because there are some things about "Doc" that seem a little hard to swallow for a seasoned covert operative, like taking along a guy to help him who he isn't sure he can trust, and when captors barge into his room his gun is deep in his luggage where he can't get to it in time. Though kind of things seemed hard to swallow, but they don't ruin the great story line itself, which is certainly sharp and original. I will definitely read more in this series.
The book is very well written, with great descriptions of life in Southwest Florida, the heat and the sea, life in the marina, and some beautifully written scenes, like when Doc is fly flishing for tarpon, you really feel like you are there, your hands and knees shaking with Doc as the magnificent fish explodes out of the water. Great writing, fun characters, a good mystery. I have already ordered the next book.
My only criticism is our hero is way too good, no one is that kind, faithful, understanding, convincing, conniving, wise, and resourceful.
I bought it on the recommendation of a friend. Better written than most, but I had to search for this one, evidently, it's out of print.
I live in Florida, and enjoy reading stories located there. Having been to Sanibel, there's nothing in the book that stands out. You don't get a feeling for Sanibel from this, other than a highway number.
Top reviews from other countries
Its cool gulf breezes lured him from a life of danger. Its dark undercurrents threatened to destroy him.After ten years of living life on the edge, it was hard for Doc Ford to get that addiction to danger out of his system. But spending each day watching the sun melt into Dinkins Bay and the moon rise over the mangrove trees, cooking dinner for his beautiful neighbor, and dispensing advice to the locals over a cold beer lulled him into letting his guard down.Then Rafe Hollins appeared.How could he refuse his old friend's request-even if it would put him back on the firing line? Even if it would change forever the life he'd built here on Sanibel Island?
Over the years I have enjoyed a fair few crime fiction books set in and around Florida. A couple of names spring to mind as being near the top of the list of my favourites - James W. Hall and Carl Hiaasen. Both of these I have followed fairly closely, maybe not reading every book as it came out, but acquiring them later, to add to the ever-increasing pile on Mount TBR.
Possibly, there could be another name to add to the list. I say possibly, because I've only just read the first title in a series that to date runs to 20 books. A friend tells me the wheels fall off at or around book 12, in her opinion, but I've enjoyed this one enough to want to hunt down the 2nd and I'll stick with author White and Doc Ford for a while longer.
Ford is an ex-CIA agent now out of the business. He's living his life at a slower pace, getting by using his skills as a marine biologist to supply samples to schools and colleges throughout the country. He's formed some easy friendships with the locals without giving away too much of himself.
Cue mayhem; a call for help from his best childhood friend, Rafe Hollins rips apart his sedentary lifestyle. Hollins' son has been kidnapped and he wants to enlist Doc's help in recovering him, in exchange for the merchandise Hollins stole from them. When Doc goes to meet Rafe he finds a corpse swinging in the breeze instead. With his friend gone and his young son missing Ford starts looking into Hollins associates and past.
As the plot develops, Ford's investigation uncovers corruption in Florida, smuggled artefacts and he suffers a trip back to the same Central American war-zone that was the scene of his previous retirement.
Fairly fast-paced, interesting and at times informative, I enjoyed reading Sanibel Flats. There's a likeable cast of characters that White has assembled around the Doc that I'll look forward to meeting again.
4 from 5
I bought my copy on Amazon UK.