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Looking for novels set in Florida

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Posted on Jun 23, 2012 2:01:53 PM PDT
C. DUPONT says:
JDAndersen: Wish he would write more. Loved those especially those set in Key West.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 23, 2012 7:02:45 PM PDT
'Red Dragon', by Thomas Harris - has a portion set in Florida. An excellent real, better IMHO than "Silence of the Lambs". The movie made from it, "Manhunter" (1986) with a young William Petersen (CSI), is superior to the later "Red Dragon" (2002).

(And I know how you feel, one of my grandchildren was born in Naples FL and I get a charge out of knowing some of the areas.)

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 3, 2012 12:43:14 AM PDT
I think you would like heather graham, I love her bone trilogies. They are set in the keys, and tell you what street and bars that are in the location. There is love , action and ghost. Enjoy.

Posted on Jul 3, 2012 8:48:55 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 3, 2012 8:53:22 AM PDT
Dee says:
I have to echo the comment about Randy Wayne White's DOC FORD mysteries ... one of my favorite series (have read them all). I am a Florida native and feel like I'm down in the Sanibel/Captiva area when I'm reading his books! Yes - mosquitos biting and the scent of the gulf air :-)

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 3, 2012 9:08:51 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 3, 2012 9:10:20 AM PDT
Hikari says:
Late to the party and this may have been mentioned but the second Kay Scarpetta book by Patricia Cornwell, "Body of Evidence" is set in large part in Key West. Excellent description of the island--probably one of my favorite installments for that reason.

Later in the series, Cornwell relocates Scarpetta full-time to Florida. I don't like the later books due to a quizzical change in narrational style; Cornwell switches Kay's voice from the very effective first-person to a disembodied third-person, present tense ("Scarpetta studies the insect on the slide." Weird.) But if it's locations you're after, Ms. Cornwell knows Florida very well.

And of course, there's Jeff Lindsay's "Dexter". Haven't read the novels, but the show does such a great job of depicting the seamy tropical decadence of Miami, I suppose the books do the same.

Posted on Jul 3, 2012 9:27:53 AM PDT
Dee says:
Someone mentioned earlier the "Killing Mister Watson" trilogy by Peter Matthiessen ... on my reading list is "Shadow Country" by Matthiessen. Some may be interested in this somewhat distilled, condensed, and rewritten single-volume version of the "Killing Mister Watson" trilogy published in the 1990s. It features the life of Edgar "Bloody" Watson, a Florida sugar cane plantation owner & alleged murderer and brutal outlaw who was killed in the remote Ten Thousand Islands region of southwest Florida in 1910. Reviews have said that Matthiessen fully captures the sense of the Ten Thousand Islands, which is still a quiet and isolated part of Florida. The book won the National Book Award for Fiction in 2008.

Posted on Jul 3, 2012 9:50:25 AM PDT
This is sort of a zombie thread which has been revived a couple of times. One of the earlier posters recommended H. Terrell Griffin and I second the recommendation. He's written a series of books about retired attorney Matt Royal who lives on Longboat Key, near Sarasota. I'm from the area and Griffin himself is (or was) an attorney in Sarasota. The books all capture the flavor and lifestyle of the Florida Suncoast. Although a bit uneven in quality, they are generally well-written and enjoyable. Here's a link to the first book in the series: Longboat Blues

Posted on Jul 3, 2012 10:33:06 AM PDT
mjr says:
I really enjoyed this trio of books by Nancy Pickard (I wish there'd be more in this series):
The Whole Truth
The Truth Hurts
Ring of Truth (Marie Lightfoot)

They are set in Florida and will hold your interest from start to finish!

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 3, 2012 12:20:11 PM PDT
C. DUPONT says:
Dee: I'm from north Florida and fortunately been all over the state. RWW's earlier books gives off that 'Florida feel' so well.

Posted on Jul 12, 2012 4:27:46 PM PDT
Tim Dorsey! Hysterical dark humor with an education on Florida history!

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 5, 2012 3:16:05 PM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Sep 5, 2012 3:40:57 PM PDT]

Posted on Sep 6, 2012 8:00:24 AM PDT
Aren't the alphabet books set in Florida? e.g. B is for Burgler. They seem to give the sense that Florida is hot, painted nicely but kind of empty.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 6, 2012 8:42:03 AM PDT
Funny, to me Florida is a beautiful, lush jungle with fantastic storms, snow-white sand in great sweeping arches along the Gulf Coast, especially in the Panhandle, where I live. It's an overgrown fantasy land filled with alligators and snakes, wild flowers from bromeliads to wild orchids. I had a Florida panther run out in front of my car last year, and I see deer and wild turkeys almost every day. The emptiness is in what outsiders bring when they come to my state.
You're right, they've painted it up like a clown, like some over-aged streetwalker, trying to recreate some old circus poster they saw 'back home.' But Florida, to the natives, is very much alive, humid to the point that matches won't strike on the box, a humidity you never get used to, even if you're "born and raised" here, as we say. Florida seems to be empty only in the fact that everyone, once arrived, believes it started with them. But we've had a vibrant history since the mid-1500s, and that's just European history. Before that the Timucuan, the Apalachee, the Calusa, the Ais, the Chatot, so many indigenous people had thriving cultures until the 'Christian' Spanish arrived, followed by all the rest looking for land and treasure. Before that, the Paleoindians had settled here as long as 20,000 years ago.
The Timucuans had their own sports teams, bands and orchestras that traveled great distances to compete with other native Americans. The Spanish marveled at the warrior canoes, each holding 50 warriors that a Spanish captain once said could "row faster than a running horse."
Florida spawns great writers because its desolation rubs shoulders with its big cities. Go five miles inland, or away from any large city like Orlando or Miami and you're in swamps, so entangled with vines and brush you can't take a step without a machete. We've been the launching ground for hundreds of years for pirates, rum-runners, smugglers and people running away from things. They make great stories, and people write about them.
There are big music festivals here like the Florida Folk Festival and the Will McLean Festival, mostly celebrating Florida's music and musicians from troubadours like Will McLean and Gamble Rogers. The Florida cattle scene was once larger than Texas and Oklahoma combined, with outlaws and gunfights (two of my grandfather's four brothers were killed in gunfights, the other two killed others and escaped toward Texas, never to be heard from again). Up until a few years ago, Florida still had more cattle per acre than any state in the union, and that includes the big, obscene cattle lots along I-5 called Cowmageddon and Cowschwitz by the locals.
So, come visit my state, but travel through the length of it (it's almost the same length from Pensacola to Key West as Texas from Beaumont to El Paso). There's a lot more here than you'll see if you simply fly into Disneyworld or Miami then fly away again.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 6, 2012 8:54:06 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 6, 2012 8:55:09 AM PDT
Dee says:
Mike, great response ... as a native Floridian, I totally agree. And the natural diversity of our state is amazing. We live in north-central Florida and within a 2-hour drive in any direction we can experience a different landscape - from ancient oaks dripping with moss, to gorgeous beaches on the Gulf and Atlantic, to marshland, icy-cold and clear springs, and hilly lake country in Lake County. We always take the back roads to fully appreciate it. Yes, the heat and humidity get to me sometimes but I wouldn't trade this place for anything. Dee

Posted on Sep 6, 2012 8:54:53 AM PDT
Personally I like Florida, I like the nature in the south. I love exploring the parks and being able to look over the edge of a gangway and see a gator looking back at me. I also like a good thunderstorm and Florida does some of the best. I was just saying that B is for Burglar is set in Florida, maybe it wasn't a good example.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 6, 2012 8:59:49 AM PDT
And I wasn't scolding. At least, I didn't mean to scold. When you spend your life here, you get used to snide comments from visitors and maybe I get a little quick on the draw. My wife and I write and play music, and we've been touring from here to Ireland, from the bars in Texas to an East Coast tour with shows all the way up and through Nova Scotia, back for house concerts in Jersey City and Boston and home a few days ago. Everywhere we go we see beauty. I don't understand how people can come here and miss it.
Sorry if I came off too defensive, too personal.

Posted on Sep 6, 2012 9:02:41 AM PDT
No worries, I was just trying to join it. I like your passion.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 6, 2012 9:07:09 AM PDT
If you live near Lake City, do you attend the Florida Folk Festival in White Springs each Memorial Weekend? Maggie and I have been invited to play there for almost 10 years now, and it's a beautiful park on the Suwannee River probably not that far from you. The headliners are usually people like Arlo Guthrie, Emmy Lou Harris and Guy Clark, but there are several stages there with music all day and into the night, as well as the finest crafts you'll find anywhere. And it isn't just Florida music. In the last few years they've had the Masai warriors come for a show and demonstration, there's Flamenco, several dance groups from South America and Europe and everything from bluegrass to contra dancing.
Maybe we'll see you there.
And if you like cold, pristine creeks, we live less than a mile from the Econfina Creek in north Bay County. It's fed by seven natural springs and is ice cold even in August.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 6, 2012 9:14:43 AM PDT
Dee says:
Mike, We are actually a bit outside of Gainesville but have attended the White Springs Florida Folk Festival. We have friends who have a house in White Springs & they always go. We saw Arlo couple years ago - love him ... he was fantastic. I make beaded jewelry as a hobby but have not sold at that particular festival. Have not been to the Econofina Creek - will keep that one in mind. We are 10 minutes from the Rainbow Springs State Park - very beautiful & cold, cold, cold :)

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 6, 2012 9:21:25 AM PDT
We played there both times Arlo's been the headliner. We're a duet called Lucky Mud (from a Kurt Vonnegut novel called Cat's Cradle, where he says, "In the beginning, God made mud, and some of the mud was lucky mud. It got to get up and look around at all the other mud."). Rainbow Springs is beautiful. We'll be in Gainesville both the weekends of the 14th and the 23rd - a friend there named Brigit Kelly has a music night at her house and, as luck would have it, I'll be there both weekends trying to wrap up a non-fiction book I'm working on about the psychiatric department at Charity Hospital in New Orleans in the days before Katrina.
Wow, I'm more long-winded than usual today. Nice talking to you,

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 6, 2012 9:43:41 AM PDT
Dee says:
Clever name, Lucky Mud. My husband is a musician too. Well, nice talking with you too. All the best.

Posted on Sep 6, 2012 1:27:07 PM PDT
Try Devil's Moon by Rebecca Stroud, a Florida author and writer of animal rights stories. This one I recently gave a 5-star review on Amazon.

Posted on Sep 18, 2012 7:16:18 AM PDT
S. Burgess says:
Try reading the series by Bruce Thomason. He is the chief of police in Jacksonville Beach FL my home town for 22 years. His books are very good and all the action takes place at the beach which brought back many memories of the places I would visit or drive by. I am looking forward to the next book in the series.

Posted on Sep 19, 2012 8:53:17 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 19, 2012 10:30:51 AM PDT
The Britt Montero mysteries by Edna Buchanan were mentioned above, without the author's name. good feel for Miami.

I am an 8th generation Floridian (Western panhandle). Most everybody is a carpetbagger to me :) Growing up listening to what it was to older generations as well as seeing the devastation during my own life really hurts. Like Hiassen, I despise Micky Rat and what he has done to Florida ecologically.

Real Florida is mainly a matter of small towns, villages, and the country. Also note that it covers about 3 degrees of latitude and almost 7 of longitude and 5 USDA growing zones. That's a lot of space and variety. It's about as far in driving distance from the NW boundary of Florida to the Southern (not counting the Keys) as it is to drive to Chicago. Just in length, about as far from Raleigh, NC to NYC. OTOH, Real Florida is also in its cities/ eastern megalopolis.

Anyway, many different cultures and ecologies and even weather. And fortunately, many mysteries.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 19, 2012 10:29:25 AM PDT
Dee says:
Well said - my husband and I are native Floridians and feel the same about the changes to our state, especially around O-town and the Mouse House. I do enjoy reads that give a taste of the old Florida.
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Discussion in:  Mystery forum
Participants:  92
Total posts:  236
Initial post:  Aug 12, 2010
Latest post:  13 days ago

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