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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Superb story, but you should start with earlier titles first
I finished the first book I've read of Randy Wayne White, Tampa Burn. A pleasant surprise, and I'm sure I'll be reading more of his stuff down the road.
Doc Ford is a marine biologist with a murky past as a government agent involved in some killings in foreign locales. He's living a quiet life around Tampa until he gets a call from Pilar Fuentes, the mother of his...
Published on July 13, 2004 by Thomas Duff

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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Tampa Burn
I am a great fan of Randy Wayne White, but this latest in the series disappoints. Too many side trips, everything gets solved in the last 10 pages, with enough cliff hangers to let you know there's another one coming. Pilar disappears as a character half way through-although she is one of the main parts to the story. EVERY other character we've ever met seems to play a...
Published on July 25, 2004 by J. I. M.


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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Superb story, but you should start with earlier titles first, July 13, 2004
This review is from: Tampa Burn (Hardcover)
I finished the first book I've read of Randy Wayne White, Tampa Burn. A pleasant surprise, and I'm sure I'll be reading more of his stuff down the road.
Doc Ford is a marine biologist with a murky past as a government agent involved in some killings in foreign locales. He's living a quiet life around Tampa until he gets a call from Pilar Fuentes, the mother of his child and former wife of a corrupt Central American general who wants him dead. Their son has been kidnapped, and Pilar wants Ford's help. The kidnapper is a killer who is called Incindiaro, as he's fascinated by fire deaths and in fact is severly burned over most of his body. The kidnapper appears to want the kid's skin for a face transplant, and Ford isn't about to let that happen. To complicate everything, Pilar now wants nothing to do with Ford romantically, Ford's new love overhears his confession of love for Pilar and dumps him, and his sidekick Tomlinson may not be who Ford thinks he is...
Nice plot and pace, with some left-field (but reasonable) plot turns as the story comes down to the final pages. There was definitely the potential for an "everyone *doesn't* live happily ever after" ending, but it resolves without being overly sappy or abrupt. If I had read other books in the Doc Ford series first, I'd probably give this a top rating. Starting here, there's some character development that's left out (and I assume is covered in earlier books). Still, a very good read and well worth the time.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hotter Than Ever!, June 5, 2004
By 
Susan Williams (Haddonfield, NJ USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Tampa Burn (Hardcover)
Tampa Burn heralds the eleventh appearance of Doc Ford, whose cover as a marine biologist from Dinkins Bay on the Southwest coast of Florida masks his role as an agent engaged in deadly assignments well outside the limits of international law. Doc has previously wrestled with coming to terms with his essentially predatory nature, but when his son Lake is kidnapped by a homicidal pyromaniac, all introspection comes to an abrupt halt as Doc goes after the villain with every primal urge to hunt and kill on red hot alert. The ensuing action is full of the pulse pounding scenarios for which White is justifiably famous. The author's love and intimate knowledge of the land and water, flora and fauna of coastal Florida come vividly to life as White paints a lush and vibrant backdrop for Doc and his hippie pal Tomlinson as they race against the clock to rescue Lake from the clutches of a truly gut wrenching predator. Many authors have series based on continuing characters, but White's collection is set apart by the brilliant character development that continues with each new adventure. The reader comes to know and care about Doc and his friends on a very personal level. Doc's desperate search for his son is set against his own discovery of the depth of bonds of family and friendship, forged by blood and choice. Tampa Burn is thoroughly entertaining on it's own merit, but the real treat is beginning with the first book, Sanibel Flats, and following Doc as each adventure tantalizingly reveals a bit more about the complicated psyche that powers this engaging yet imperfect man. No wonder that die-hard fans' number one complaint is waiting a year for each new book to be published! Buy and enjoy Tampa Burn, and if you are extremely fortunate, snare a signed copy, as this author is headed for the stratosphere of literary success.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tampa Burn by Randy Wayne White, June 24, 2005
By 
Christy T. French "author" (Powell, TN, author, "The Bodyguard") - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Tampa Burn (Hardcover)
Doc Ford is the ultimate good guy-bad guy. A former assassin and spy, Doc's retired to the Florida coast, where he is a self-employed marine biologist living a lazy life. When his former lover, Pilar, shows up with the news that their son, Laken, has been kidnapped, Doc's world turns upside down. He must deal with the loss of his new love, Dewey, while frantically searching for his son, kidnapped by a madman whose favorite pastime is burning his victims.

It seems most of the characters in this book are not particularly likeable, which makes the read all the more interesting. Prax, the fire-burning madman, is wonderfully evil -a guy you love to hate. A suspenseful, interesting read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hot Author, Hot Title..., June 6, 2005
By 
sfarmer76 "sfarmer76" (Savannah, Georgia USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Tampa Burn (Doc Ford) (Mass Market Paperback)
My favorite read of recent months, Tampa Burn, was assembled by New York Times Bestseller Randy Wayne White - with additional input from his sons. I've read that March 2005 paperback release twice now. The novel, told in thirty-eight meandering chapters, concerns a ruthless kidnapping with the potential to turn deadly. This isn't `routine' seizure for payment we're talking. This excessively personal abduction, performed by a hideously disfigured assassin, targets the sole biological offspring of series-protagonist Doc Ford, and our pulse-taking author deftly wrings all the action from this plot that he can muster.

An Ohio native transplanted to Fort Myers, Florida, Mr. White is primarily recognized for his first novel, Sanibel Flats. However, the publication of Tampa Burn sees Randy Wayne's talent ratcheted up a notch, and this fever-pitch plot of his just happens to be on par with any mystery by Dean Koontz. White's scribed twelve of these yarns so far, centered around environmentalist hero Marion `Doc' Ford - an ex-government agent - with corrosively strange friends and a haunted past. He's also penned two non-fiction works, and he writes columns that appear in Men's Health and Outside magazine. For more about Randy Wayne White, see the Jay McDonald article - posted on Bankrate.com on April 26, 2005 - or visit the author's own website. Alternately - Bob Minzesheimer contributed an insightful article about White that appeared in USA Today on March 16, 2005, and that one's worth bookmarking.

Shortly after Laken Fuentes is snatched from his home in Masagua, Central America, Doc Ford finds himself in a life-changing situation... where he must intercede to save the boy's life. Failure on his part is not an option. Doc Ford's old lover Pilar Fuentes turns up in Florida at the outset of the book, which necessitates that he sort out all these leftover feelings for his old flame while they're both attempting to navigate the pressure cooker of rescuing their son. Praxcedes Lourdes is the villain here... he's a crazed maniac who's earned a notorious reputation throughout Masagua and surrounding republics for his profound love of setting people on fire. A more notorious villain could not be dreamt of.

After Ford's impromptu reconnect with ex-girlfriend Pilar, many doubts about his present course are brought to mind. These observations threaten to throw a monkey wrench into Doc Ford's once predictable love life. When main squeeze Dewey Nye catches Doc and Pilar in a steamy lip lock, this drives a wedge into their relationship and threatens to tear them apart. This rift must be resolved by the end of the book - unless Ford wants to chart a new course for the series. Anyone familiar with Randy Wayne's work (such as Oline Cogdill) knows the author has a propensity for mucking things up in the last half of his books. This is something White might stand to improve on.

Giving this major thought - my first suggestion is that, in the future, White should work backwards by penning the endings first. If this reliable tactic doesn't improve White's books, I would encourage him to write a "one off" before tackling the series again. I know Randy Wayne White is capable of writing a #1 New York Times Bestseller. We just haven't seen him make the necessary adjustments to achieve this yet. Mainly, he should concentrate on writing numerous shorter chapters. White should also request that his book titles be featured at the top of the cover - since people perusing the paperback racks typically only see the upper portion of the jacket. For cover purposes, he might also consider shortening that three part moniker.

Usually, I sketch a third - or even a half - of the plotline in my reviews. But I'm going to give you precious few details on this outing. This is an entertaining thriller, with touches of international intrigue, which is meant to be savored. Consequently, I don't wish to give that much of the book away. Better that you read it all `cover to cover' for yourself. And I'm sure you'll thank me later, for treading lightly on the turns in the plot. But I will tell you this much, Randy Wayne White is smart enough to avoid a cliffhanger, and by the end of the book he and Dewey Nye have arrived at a new understanding.

As for White's novel, you'll likely conclude the third quarter of this book is weak and worthy of condensing. I'm dejected that White let Praxcedes Lourdes live in the final act - he must be planning a return engagement for this awful pyromaniac. My chief complaint about Tampa Burn arises from slotted appearances made by characters - from previous installments in the Doc Ford series - that White is overly fond of. Randy Wayne has fallen into this trap of revisiting too many old favorites when he should be concentrating on the story at hand. Tampa Burn dissipated slightly after Pilar stopped traveling with Marion and Tomlinson, and the tone of the book drifted. White seems to favor incremental change, instead of taking big risks, when it comes to preserving certain elements of this series. I urge him to make gigantic gambles in the 13th installment by killing off at least one of the series regulars - perhaps the annoying Ransom Gatrell. I loved Tampa Burn, for its descriptive intensity, but the Editor could've easily trimmed the book a healthy ten percent.

______________________________________________________

The Book:

Tampa Burn, $6.99 US

G.P. Putnam's Sons Hardcover

May 2004

Berkeley Mass-Market Edition

March 2005

Pages:

394 Pages

Rating:

4 Stars

Chapters:

38 Numbered Chapters

If You Like Tampa Burn, You Might Enjoy:

Dead of Night

Everglades

Twelve Mile Limit

or

Skinny Dip

The Hot Kid: A Novel

4th of July

Visit the Official Websites:

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A strangely motivated kidnapping, May 2, 2005
By 
Cory D. Slipman (Rockville Centre, N.Y.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Tampa Burn (Hardcover)
Randy Wayne White's "Tampa Burn" is a rapidly paced action thriller abounding with colorful and quirky characters.

Sanibel Island marine biologist Marion "Doc" Ford was busy conducting an experiment concerning spawning tarpons when he received an unexpected visit from former love interest Pilar Fuentes. Ford who clandestinely works for a shadowy arm of the CIA as an operatine and sometimes assassin met Pilar while on assignment in the tiny Central American country of Masagua. Pilar the former wife of military dictator General Balserio, bore a son father by Ford, a result of a torrid love affair. Ford had only recently learned of the existence of his teenaged son Lake and was in the process of connecting with him. Pilar arrived at Dinkins Bay to tell Ford that their son had been kidnapped.

The fanatical General Balserio commissioned a maniacal pyromaniac known as Praxcedes Lourdes to abduct the boy for his own personal reasons. Lourdes known in Central America as the fabled and feared Incendiario got his kicks by setting people ablaze, incinerating them. Lourdes was actually Jimmy Gauer son of a pair of carnival sideshow performers. His father was a midget and his mom was a highly muscled Amazon like female wrestler. Lordes while performing with his dad fell on his head and had been disturbed, enamored by fire since them. Lourdes also had suffered horrible burns all over his body. His face was a patchwork quilt of both failed and successful skin grafts. He suffered from searing migraines as a result.

Ford's mission with the aid of his best friend Tomlinson was to track down the boy without involving the authorities. Tomlinson also a weird character was a burned out hippie, the heir to a huge family fortune which he had forsaken. He was now a highly regarded Zen Buddhist teacher.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars the power of blood kinship, June 14, 2004
By 
doc peterson (Portland, Oregon USA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Tampa Burn (Hardcover)
In Randy Wayne White's latest installment in the Doc Ford series, Doc's son is kidnapped by a psychopathic pyromaniac - Ford must rescue his son before harm is done. As the story progresses, we learn a little more about the past of White's characters - Ford, Tomlinson, and Pilar, Ford's ex-lover and the mother of his son. Throughout the book the issue of "family" is visited and revisited, with all its various meanings and implications. A great theme to tie the sub-plots together, and a brilliant way of providing more depth and detail to the characters. White's descriptions of the coast of southwest Florida give the reader a "you are there" feel to it, while keeping the story moving at a fast pace.
The only issue I had with an otherwise fantastic book was the way in which points would be made but the reader was given resolution only after hints and allusions. While it was effective in keeping me riveted to the story, it was a bit frustrating as the issues were not directly related to the main plot line.
Nonetheless, a really enjoyable read, and the best Ford book since Ten Thousand Islands. Randy Wayne White is certainly evolving into a first-rate writer, as _Tampa Burn_ demonstrates. Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story populated by interesting characters, July 25, 2006
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This review is from: Tampa Burn (Doc Ford) (Mass Market Paperback)
Doc Ford (the protagonist) is fun to read. Period. White does his homework and fills the pages with in-depth information about marine biology, politics, and the environment. While I may sometimes disagree with his interpretations, they are always intelligent and well-thought out. That makes reading his fiction more realistic...in spite of the absolutely insane characters. The ending of this novel is truly open...I went out and bought the next one immediately to see what happened.

It's interesting to watch the characters in this series develop over a period of time. I do agree with an earlier reviewer...read some of the earlier books first. In fact, I'd read them all. The knowledge of the characters makes it much better of a read.

White still has work to do developing these folks. However, it took a "few years" for Travis McGee to flesh out. We can wait a while for Doc.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Once Again, June 23, 2004
By 
Gerald Layher (Ann Arbor, MI United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Tampa Burn (Hardcover)
RWW keeps the bar set high. Doc is getting more sensitive with age but he appears to be growing in a good direction. RWW has written about these character so much that they are truly coming to life. I think that the direction the characters are taking seem natural and not forced. I feel the series is coming to a close becuase I think that Doc is about ready to settle down:( However I think this is another exapmle of RWW timeless literature. I think that this is a book that my children will read years from now and still feel the great sense of adventure that RWW incorporates in all of his work.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pushing the envelope a bit, but worth reading., September 7, 2004
This review is from: Tampa Burn (Hardcover)
I had mixed feelings after reading "Tampa Burn".

White expands on his charactor development of Ford and Tomlinson, and further explores their complex history and relationship. But other aspects of the book, the overly convoluted plot and general tone of the writing, I found somewhat disconcerting. White seemed at times to be writing more in the style of some of the other "off-beat" Florida mystery writers(Hiaasen or Tim Dorsey), which felt out of place in this novel.

That being said, "Doc Ford" is still the best series being written today, and "Tampa Burn" is well worth reading.

Randy Wayne White is still better than all the others at what he does.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At the top of his game, December 16, 2006
By 
This review is from: Tampa Burn (Hardcover)
Randy Wayne White's Doc Ford series started out rather modestly about a dozen years ago. Marion "Doc" Ford is a sort of a cross between Travis McGee and Jacques Cousteau, a marine biologist with a murky past who lives in a house on stilts in the harbor of an island off of Florida's West coast. Ford is the main character and narrator of a series of novels in which he deals with various bad people, loves various women, and enjoys long, interesting conversations with his friend Tomlinson, and weird unrecycled hippy who has one of the strangest personalities in current mystery fiction. Tomlinson's into almost every new fad, knows more than he should about a lot of things no one should be involved in, and is a Buddhist monk to boot.

As the series has progressed, we've learned more and more about Doc and especially about his past. At first all we knew was that he'd worked for some murky government agency, and that he'd sort of retired. Lately, though, his adventures have led to us learning a great deal more about what he did in his youth, and how it's affected him in the years since. I won't tell you what we've learned, and I'll second other reviewers' recommendations: you really ought to read the books in sequence, it's better if it unfolds slowly.

The current book involves Ford being contacted by a former lover from Central America, and informed that the boy they'd had together has been kidnapped. The boy is now a teenager, and Ford and he have developed a long-distance relationship, so Ford is more than a bit upset. He goes on the warpath, intent on rescuing his son.

This is a great novel, interesting in its characters and setting. The author introduced at least two new characters who will presumably return in later books, and also left plot threads open for at least two sequels. This is a truly satisfying entry into the series, and I would recommend it to all Doc Ford fans. Like I said, if you haven't read one before, though start with the first.
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Tampa Burn (Doc Ford)
Tampa Burn (Doc Ford) by Randy Wayne White (Mass Market Paperback - March 1, 2005)
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