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GONE by Randy Wayne White

GONE

By Randy Wayne White

Pub Date: Sept. 4th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-399-15849-0
Publisher: Putnam

After 19 manly adventures starring marine biologist Marion “Doc” Ford, (Chasing Midnight, 2012, etc.), White introduces a heroine who’s just as stubborn and capable and even more appealing.

All that Olivia Tatum Seasons has to do to inherit $90 million from her late father’s estate is sign a few papers. Since she hasn’t responded to phone calls asking her to do so, and her own fortnightly calls to check in with her executor’s office have been telegraphic, her uncle, Lawrence Seasons, suspects that her disappearance from the Ten Thousand Islands wasn’t entirely under her own control. He wants Hannah Smith to track down his niece. Hannah’s main qualification for the job seems to be the unflappable way she brought in her fishing boat from a sudden storm that threatened her clients, Seasons and his lawyer, Martha Calder-Shaun. No sooner has Hannah taken on the job, however, than new qualifications emerge. She’s sensitive and well-enough connected to extract some very personal information from local landowner Elka Whitney, savvy enough to zero in on Ms. Whitney’s handyman/boy toy, Ricky Meeks, as Olivia’s likeliest companion, and beautiful enough to snag an interview to be first mate of the Sybarite, a cruise ship that offers its well-heeled patrons an exceptional level of, um, personal service. Just as every step brings Hannah closer to Ricky and presumably Olivia, every step provokes further reflections and flashbacks that flesh out Hannah’s personality. The only ingredients missing are suspense and surprise: Hannah’s quest moves so deliberately that she might as well be swimming underwater, which she could no doubt do perfectly.

Now that big-boned Hannah, whom Doc Ford aptly describes as “a man’s woman,” has established her voice and her credentials, here’s hoping she’s back next time with a meatier case.