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Mangrove Coast


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About the Author

Randy Wayne White is the author of seventeen previous Doc Ford novels and four collections of nonfiction. He lives in an old house built on an Indian mound in Pineland, Florida.


An awkward plot mars the latest entry (after North of Havana, 1997) in White's widely appealing Gulf coast of Florida series starring Doc Ford, marine biologist, former spook and reluctant detective. In the first chapter, Ford finds the body of Frank Calloway on the kitchen floor of the real estate baron's beach house. Eleven chapters later, readers return to Calloway's house to follow Ford, who decides that he'll look for the folder he'd come to see before he calls the police. The intervening chapters explain that Calloway had married‘and later divorced‘Gail Richardson, the widow of Ford's best friend, Bobby, who had been killed in Cambodia doing top-secret dirty work 20 years earlier. Gail and Bobby's daughter Amanda has asked Ford to find Gail, who is somewhere in South America with a man named Jackie Merlot. Ford learns that Merlot, a gross and depraved villain, has conned Gail into joining him in a rank business venture in the Canal Zone. Merlot is an arresting figure, but most of the action involving him happens so far offstage that his menace is largely wasted. And White's extended flashbacks are filled with pretentious ponderings about the human condition. From a writer whose work is usually marked by tight construction and wry dialogue, this fizzy tale is a misfire. Editor, Neil Nyren; agent Renee Wayne Golden. (Oct.)

Doc Ford, marine biologist and former government intelligence agent, temporarily abandons his research to rescue the wife of a former colleague in this, White's (North of Havana, LJ 4/15/97) sixth novel featuring the unpretentious scholar and environmentalist. When Gail Richardson-Calloway disappears after meeting someone through an Internet chat room, her daughters enlists Doc Ford's help. Tracking the pair to Colombia and then Panama, he discovers that Gail is being held a virtual prisoner by a psychotic predator who has stalked her and her daughter for years. In a bold rescue attempt, Ford relies on former contacts and long unused skills against all but impossible odds. Master of the thrilling climax and surprise ending, White leaves the reader breathless and satisfied. A good read, although it starts slowly and the plot is not as tightly knit as White's earlier tales.‘Thomas L. Kilpatrick, Southern Illinois Univ. Lib., Carbondale

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