This time out, Doc Ford must cope with a wicked plot to kill off practically everybody.
Marion “Doc” Ford, the marine biologist with the brain of a nerd and the heart of Rambo, begins his 12th (Tampa Burn, 2004, etc.) reluctantly. Frieda Matthews, a friend of long standing, asks Doc to check on her “identical twin” brother, reclusive world-class biologist Jobe Applebee, who’s been even more reclusive than usual. To Doc, the invasion of another’s privacy amounts to venial sin, yet Frieda has never been one to fret over nothing. So Doc checks—too late, as it turns out. Bad guys have gotten at poor Jobe in indescribable ways. Wherefore? Since Jobe can’t tell him—and soon Frieda can’t either—Doc must begin his investigation from square one. Almost at once he learns disquieting truths about the life cycle of the Guinea worm and the terrible things that can happen when parasites are pressed to serve as weapons of mass destruction. Are fanatical ecoterrorists at work here? Or something older, like a murderously greedy wolf in another wolf’s clothing?
Not much story, but Doc’s fans are used to that. What might bother a few, though, is a certain lack of engagement, as if even Doc can’t take the goings-on all that seriously.