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Shark River (Doc Ford) Mass Market Paperback – June 4, 2002


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

At a relatively quiet moment in marine biologist/errant knight Doc Ford's eighth adventure, Ford sets a trawl net to collect a dazzling array of sea creatures for a Gulf of Mexico census. The elaborate passage might serve as a handy metaphor for the novel, with its shifty plot involving a motley selection of characters, some slippery and treacherous as a giant-size manta ray. White (Ten Thousand Islands) adds a few new wrinkles and scars to his intriguing protagonist every time the Doc ventures from his laid-back life corralling sharks and pickling horseshoe crabs at Dinkin's Bay Marina on Florida's subtropical west coast. When Ford tags along with his perpetually stoned but intelligent pal Tomlinson to a posh island resort where the latter is leading a workshop on Rinzai Zen, the two get tangled up in murder, kidnapping, drugs, revenge and, for good measure, the sudden appearance of a mysterious Bahamian woman who claims Doc is her brother and seeks his help in discovering whether the "X" on her treasure map really marks the spot. Meanwhile, some very bad Colombians want Ford dead, and a billionaire with political connections to die for (and someone may) drafts Doc to look after his beautiful, sexy and endangered daughter. The story doesn't move in a single forward direction. Rather, it is woven knot by knot, the work of a master net maker. Tense action scenes, skillful character development and an unerring eye for local flora and fauna make White a match for any Florida storyteller. (May 21)Forecast: Outside columnist White may not have the national profile of a writer like Hiaasen, but he keeps going strong eight books into a generally excellent series. This won't be a breakout title for him, but it should satisfy locals and Florida dreamers around the country.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

The skeletons in Doc Ford's closet are on the loose. The marine biologist's former career as an operative in a covert wing of the CIA has a way of breaking in on his quiet life gathering specimens on Florida's Gulf Coast, but this time it's a full-frontal assault. Doc and his hippie pal Tomlinson (his closet isn't skeleton-free either) are enjoying a working vacation on Guava Key when Doc stumbles on a kidnapping-in-progress. Drawing on remembered tradecraft, he foils the plan but soon finds himself on the hit list of a Colombian drug lord. Not to mention that the father of one of the women whom Ford rescued seems inordinately interested in the biologist's past life. The skeletons in Ford's personal closet want equal time, too, as seen by the arrival of a black woman who claims to be Doc's sister. It all comes together in a rousing finale in which Ford, Tomlinson, the drug lord, the would-be sister, and all the skeletons gather at in a tropical island version of the OK Corral. Ford remains the most consistently entertaining of the latter-day Travis McGees, as White continues to mix action and introspection in just the right proportions. Bill Ott
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Doc Ford (Book 8)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley; Reprint edition (June 4, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425185214
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425185216
  • Product Dimensions: 4.1 x 0.8 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (103 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #55,207 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By mrliteral VINE VOICE on June 24, 2002
Format: Hardcover
At one time, the classic Florida mystery novel came from John MacDonald and the Travis McGee series. Since MacDonald's passing around fifteen years ago, various authors have tried to fill the void left by McGee's absence. Randy Wayne White and Doc Ford is the one of the best at filling this niche.
Ford has some similarities to McGee, but he is also distinctly individual. An ex-government agent who is not trying to live a quiet life as a marine biologist, Ford occasionally is drawn into perilous situations as a result of either his own past, or as in this story, accident. In this case, Ford happens upon and averts a kidnaping attempt, which entangles him in the lives of both the victim and the kidnapers. In addition, Ford has to deal with a woman who claims to be his sister, who involves him in a legacy left by his shady uncle.
This is not the best Doc Ford novel. In particular, the story tends to meander at times, and there is no truly nasty villain (unlike previous books) to oppose Ford. Some incidents in the story, in particular an incident where Ford tries to reconcile two lovers, contribute nothing to the story and offer only minimal insight into Ford's character.
While there are flaws, this is still a good book and if you like mysteries, especially those set around Florida, this one will be worth your time.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By ellen free on July 9, 2001
Format: Hardcover
All the Doc Ford novels are superb: literary, funny but also full of action. They might be a tad sophisticated for some, but I await each new release with anticipation, then try to savor them slowly. With Shark River? Impossible. Once I started I couldn't top. I'd give this book nine stars if I could. (I give it ten, but I could have used a little more of sidekick Tomlimson's philosophizing, and a tad less action>) The action IS warp-speed, the characters vividly drawn and the plot is laced with intrigue and suspense leave no doubt that Randy Wayne White is one of the finest writers in America today. Doc Ford's marine studies on the island of Guava Key are interrupted when he finds himself in the middle of a deadly kidnapping plot involving Colombian drug traffickers and the daughter of a powerful US diplomat. Added to the mix is a beautiful Bahamian woman claiming to be Doc's sister ( A wonderful woman character!), a pair of Rastafarian thugs, and a real live sunken treasure. Once again, Mr. White creates a vivid sense of place with his descriptions of southwestern Florida, and includes what has become his trademark O'Henry encking. Also recommended: The entire Doc Ford series, begining with Sanibel Flats, which, I was pleased to discover, was selected by the Independent Myster Booksellers Association (edited by Jim Huang) as one of the 100 best mysteries of the 20th century...
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Susan Williams on May 18, 2001
Format: Hardcover
The growing legion of Doc Ford fans eagerly awaiting the eighth book in this popular adventure series are richly rewarded with the release of Shark River. Fast-paced action, vividly drawn characters and a plot laced with intrigue and suspense leave no doubt that Randy Wayne White is at the top of his game.
Doc Ford's marine studies on the idyllic island of Guava Key are abruptly interrupted when he inadvertently finds himself in the middle of a deadly kidnapping plot involving Colombian drug traffickers and the daughter of a powerful international diplomat. Heavy fire power, bone-cracking combat, and careening high powered test boats leave the reader breathless...and this is just in the opening chapters. The ensuing action threatens to reveal details of Doc's shadowy paramilitary past that he has taken great care to bury. Add the complications of a beautiful Bahamian woman claiming to be Doc's sister, a nasty pair of Rastafarian thugs, a trail of hidden treasure and a menacing atmosphere of life-threatening danger, and you have the ingredients for a gripping story that the reader will be hard pressed to put down. Once again the author creates a vivid sense of place in his descriptions of southwestern Florida, and his trademark of brilliantly researched detail and a surprise twist ending place Shark River at the top of the must read pile.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By John R. Linnell on August 19, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Randy Wade White knows his stuff....about the ecology of Florida, the workings of the CIA...the swamp that Columbia has become and the life of those who live on or near the water in "God's Little Waiting Room." We learn a lot more about Doc's background in the CIA in this book as a well connected Washington insider, whose daughter he has saved from a hostage taking, uses Doc as bait to rid them both of a ruthless Columbian drug dealer whose brother has been turned into a paraplegic by Doc. We learn more about Tomlinson also, the self absorbed mystic who spends most of the book trying to put lead in his pencil in several humorous situations. I used to think that Carl Hiaasen was the king of this type of Florida novel. I now suspect we may have a new claimant to the throne. This book has action, intrigue, sex, information about the ecology of Florida and numerous other entertaining aspects that will make you glad you picked up this book. If this is your first experience with RWW and Doc Ford, I predict it will not be your last.
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