The folks at Dinkin’s Bay Marina, who like to think of themselves as a family, are devastated when word reaches them about Janet Mueller. In company with three others, she’d been a guest on a speedboat, scuba-diving off the west coast of Florida, when the boat swamped and went down, leaving Amelia Gardner as the only known survivor. Doc Ford, owner of the Sanibel Biological Supply (Shark River, 2001, etc.), is particularly shaken, since sweet-natured Janet had worked for him. And then things get worse as the mystery of Janet’s disappearance deepens. Have three strong, healthy people in highly colored wetsuits and inflated vests vanished without a trace despite an intense, prolonged Coast Guard search? To all sorts of self-proclaimed experts, it doesn’t compute, so inevitably, vicious rumors begin circulating: It must have been an insurance scam, a drug deal gone bad, or simply cold-blooded multiple murder. By the time a distraught Amelia Gardner comes to Sanibel Island looking for Doc, almost no one believes she isn’t guilty of something—except of course for Doc, who over the span of nine novels has never met a long-legged lady in distress he could resist. Amelia begs for help; he promises to give it; they have excellent sex, then depart for Cartagena, Colombia, where there’s good news and bad.
A promising idea undermined by helter-skelter subplots and a sometimes hectoring style whenever White launches into his increasingly inescapable soapbox digressions.