Still another Florida columnist jumps ship for the beguiling waters of the seriocomic thriller.
Whether or not they’ve been set up for the time they’ve done, not many guys emerge from the Federal Prison Camp at Bayport with Zack Chasteen’s prospects: a chauffeured ride courtesy of his well-heeled girlfriend, Tropics publisher Barbara Pickering, to the nearest airport, a jet to the Bahamas, some quality time watching a fashion shoot, and happily every after. But Zack’s pipe dream doesn’t come off quite as planned. His limo driver isn’t comely Barbara but lug Chip Willis, who normally handles security for Ruby Booby’s topless club; he’s soon stranded without his belongings; he learns that Barbara’s hired her ex-fiancée, photographer Bryce Gannon, to finish the shoot; and when he finally sneaks onto Harbour Island without his passport, he gets no closer to Barbara than a sighting through binoculars before she’s reported kidnapped along with Lord Frederickson Downey, a ga-ga family friend whose entourage sets new records for suspicious behavior. Teaming with his old Taino Indian sidekick Boggy and local police inspector Lynfield Pederson, whose behavior is equally suspicious, Zack battles recalcitrant witnesses, enforced idleness, the obligatory hurricane, and a tendency to explain himself a bit too fully.
Despite blurbs from Carl Hiaasen and Dave Barry, Morris’s conscientiously plotted debut, stalwart rather than satirical or funny, is more like the studly adventures of James W. Hall’s Dick Thorn or Randy Wayne White’s Doc Ford.