CAPTIVA by Randy Wayne White


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In the seconds between touching off a homemade bomb in Dinkin's Bay and giving up the ghost, Jimmy Darroux asks ""Doc"" Ford's buddy Tomlinson to ""take care of Hannah."" But when Ford and Tomlinson make the trip to nearby Sulphur Wells to see Jimmy's salty widow, it turns out she hated him and his abuse and is delighted he's dead (and she's not the only one). So what did he mean, and how can they take care of her? At her invitation, spacey mystic Tomlinson settles in to help her work on a book about her family, while marine biologist Ford wonders why the invitation didn't go to him. He wonders too whether Jimmy was killed because he got in the middle of a battle over the banning of net fishing, or because he knew too much about a ring of boat thieves--or because of Hannah herself. As he treads a wary line between the equally untrusting camps of commercial fishers and sports fishers, Ford finds himself drawn more and more to Hannah Smith Darroux, and more and more threatened by the friends and admirers who've ringed themselves around her, till all three of them--Ford, Hannah, and Tomlinson--are in danger. Having established his Carl Hiaasen credentials with The Man Who Invented Florida (1993), White sounds a more ruminative note in this mixture of James W. Hall and John D. MacDonald. Ford takes every chance to stop and smell the hibiscus, and fans of tangled Florida intrigue will want to join him.

Pub Date: April 2nd, 1996
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Putnam