Top positive review
The same hand as the Marion Ford novels. I'm going to read another one.
Reviewed in the United States on November 3, 2016
Randy Wayne White is my guy. If it wasn't for his fiction--the first few devoured while staying at a house on his beloved island, Sanibel--I probably wouldn't be writing fiction as well. Him and Don Pendleton actually, because White stands on Pendleton's shoulders. Pendleton is arguably the inventor of the men's action fiction genre. But I Iike White best because he does place-based fiction like few others. Put him in fellow Florida writer Carl Hiaasen's box, though there are occasions I enjoy Hiaasen more. And thankfully, because I've read all that both authors have written, there are still others...
Like many of White's readers, I took up with White's Hannah Smith series because waiting on a new Ford adventure is tough, even with the subtle changes White has made to his character over the last couple of years. While I'm moved by other writer's criticism that Randy should just write two Marion Ford novels a year rather than do one of each, I don't blame him for wanting a little variety.
This is my first of the Hannah Smith books. I'll read the others. Here's a couple of observations about this first one:
1) The steady hand of the Florida-based adventure writer is clearly present, beginning and end, though at times I wondered if the book, or parts of it, were being written by others. Especially when the writer is applying tone and details about the women he's writing about. By the end of the book however, I concluded White's hand was there. So maybe the generalizations about women--some of them quite common, many of them male--are the result of a first book in the series. Still, I wonder...
2) I enjoyed the usual technical knowledge White brings to his efforts. This time, I learned a little more about geography I was already familiar with. I liked hearing what it was like to be a fishing guide, about the archeology of the area (something he's written about in his other books). I believe his observations about money on Sanibel Island--some of it old, some of it new--was spot on. There's a reason, you know, that there's a car charge for that bridge from Fort Meyers to Sanibel. It's to keep the riff raff out.
3) The plot, pace, twists and turns deserve mention as well. They show the hand of a master writer in the genre. And they are one of the reasons I continue to read him.
All in all, my thanks again, Randy. You kept me entertained. You didn't fill my mind with nonsense about towns and characters that don't exist, and you deepened my understanding of those that do. Atta boy...