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The Heat Islands by Randy Wayne White
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The Heat Islands (1993)

by Randy Wayne White

Series: Doc Ford (2)

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263443,310 (3.72)6
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Truly enjoyable "detective" novel featuring Doc Ford who uses his rational skills to solve mysteries in Southwest Florida. ( )
  midwestms | Jan 8, 2014 |
Solid, well-crafted thriller with likeable protagonists and hateable villains. Within the genre of mystery-suspense-set-in-Florida, RWW has created enduring characters set in a nuanced environment-- Florida wildlife in the Gulf and Everglades through the viewpoint of marine biologist Doc Ford.

The water was flat. Clear, too, in the shallows. Ford could see his own shadow on the sandbar as he pushed the boat along. In a patch of turtle grass, a cowfish nosed a scallop shell. Then a stingray spooked, making a brief explosion in the sand. There was a big whelk shell, its operculum thrown back, feeding on a dead mullet—one of several dead fish that had washed up on the bar. Attached to the whelk were the buds of a tulip snail egg case. Beyond that were the spiraling egg cases of whelks, like prehistoric snakes, and the sand collars of moon snails.
Ahead, Ford could see the tracks of horseshoe crabs furrowing the sand ... then the animals themselves, tan shells as if stamped from plastic: three smaller males attached to a big female, locked in a slow fight to copulate.
A foot beneath the surface, the bottom was alive, one continuous interconnecting cycle, everything going on simultaneously and without pause: egg, sperm, death and decay; all obliquely keyed by tides and heat and a million years of having survived. Yet each random event, anchored in the moment of its viewing, implied small dramas that, to Ford, were as interesting as the source of his own breath. ( )
  feeling.is.first | Oct 31, 2013 |
Synopsis/blurb....
The eagerly-awaited follow-up to Sanibel Flats from the author the Tampa Tribune-Times calls "the rightful heir to John D MacDonald". When Doc Ford's friend--the simplest and sweetest resident of Sanibel Island--is framed for murder, Doc heads to Florida's dark side to save him and the island from a rising tide of land-grab schemes, blood money, and violence.
This was the second book in Randy Wayne White’s Doc Ford series. It’s interesting how he has been compared to John D MacDonald as spookily enough this is another author who I am endeavouring to read monthly. In MacDonald’s case his highly regarded series involving Travis McGee.
Ford gets involved when Marvyn Rios, one of Sanibel Island’s most hated residents turns up dead and his friend, Jeth Nicholes lands in jail accused of his murder. Nicholes apparent reluctance to plead innocent both puzzles and worries Doc; particularly as he cannot believe the Jeth he knows has it in him to kill anyone. The death has coincided with Rios’s own Tarpon Fishing Competition with its first prize of $80,000.
When the competition is won by Karl Sutter, brother-in-law of Marvin, Ford’s suspicions are roused. Especially when Sutter’s capabilities as a fishing guide and boatman are considered. Rios’s business associates and dealings also merit further investigation by Doc.
In tandem with the investigation, Ford has a burgeoning friendship with Dewey Nye, a young tennis professional that adds an element of personal intrigue to the mystery. There’s also the continuing presence of Tomlinson, Ford’s friend and several other minor characters that appeared in the first book – Sanibel Flats.
Doc Ford is an interesting character. He’s a marine biologist, operating a small fish supply business to colleges and universities throughout the US. In a former life he was an operative in the CIA, an occupation that taught him several skills useful in his amateur sleuthing capacity. An ongoing theme through the books, I’m guessing will be environmental concerns relating to Florida’s continuing urban growth. Ford’s day job offers White a platform to highlight some of these issues. The book was originally published in 1992, 20-odd years ago, I doubt very much the concerns of environmentalists and the impact of continuing population influx and tourism on areas such as the Everglades and the Keys have been pacified much in the intervening years.
I will be reading the next Doc Ford book in May, the 3rd in his series, but it is fair to say the author hasn’t yet over-taken Carl Hiaasen, James W. Hall or John D. Mac in my Floridian league table of favourite authors.
3 from 5
I bought my copy from Amazon. ( )
  col2910 | Aug 14, 2013 |
Karl Sutter isn't stupid. Or is he? Apparently only his mother knew. In RWW's sophomore effort as RWW, Doc Ford works to determine who, or what, killed the owner of Two Parrot Bight Marina. The police think they know, but Doc's not so sure.

With much better fleshed-out female characters and a lack of Central American shenanigans, this book is a tad better than Sanibel Flats. I read the majority of it in one day, and though at times predictable, White's descriptions of Sanibel and the surrounding environs held me in thrall and had me aching to move to Sanibel, or at least back to Bonita Springs. I would recommend this book to any who first start reading the Doc Ford books, in addition to those who love to read about the Gulf Coast barrier islands. RWW knows his back yard and brings it to you in The Heat Islands. ( )
1 vote phinz | Mar 23, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312929773, Mass Market Paperback)

Marine biologist and former secret operative Doc Ford is lazily poling his skiff along Southwest Florida's flat copper sea in search of sea anemones, when he runs into the body of the most hated man on Sanibel Island-Marvin Rios.

And when the Island's simplest and sweetest resident is arrested for the murder Doc heads straight into the heart of the sunshine state's dark side-to save his friend from being framed, and to save Sanibel Island from a rising tide of land-grab schemes, blood money and violence.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:53:30 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

When Doc Ford's friend--the simplest and sweetest resident of Sanibel Island--is framed for murder, Doc heads to Florida's dark side to save him and the island from a rising tide of land-grab schemes, blood money, and violence.

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