White Randy Wayne

Doc Ford
Sanibel Flats Sanibel Flats (1990)
Its cool gulf breezes lured him from a life of danger. Its dark undercurrents threatened to destroy him.

After ten years of living life on the edge, it was hard for Doc Ford to get that addiction to danger out of his system. But spending each day watching the sun melt into Dinkins Bay and the moon rise over the mangrove trees, cooking dinner for his beautiful neighbor, and dispensing advice to the locals over a cold beer lulled him into letting his guard down.

Then Rafe Hollins appeared.

How could he refuse his old friend's request-even if it would put him back on the firing line? Even if it would change forever the life he'd built here on Sanibel Island?
The Heat Islands The Heat Islands (1992)
Marine biologist and former secret operative Doc Ford is lazily poling his skiff along Southwest Florida's flat copper sea in search of sea anemones, when he runs into the body of the most hated man on Sanibel Island-Marvin Rios.

And when the Island's simplest and sweetest resident is arrested for the murder Doc heads straight into the heart of the sunshine state's dark side-to save his friend from being framed, and to save Sanibel Island from a rising tide of land-grab schemes, blood money and violence.
The Man Who Invented Florida The Man Who Invented Florida (1993)
When solitary marine biologist Doc Ford focused his telescope on the woman in the white boat, he didn't know his life was about to be capsized: that his conniving uncle Tucker Gatrell would discover the Fountain of Youth, thatThe National Enquirer would write about it, and that the law would beat down his door in search of three missing men.

But Doc Ford is about to find these things out-- the hard way. Because in the shadowy world of Southwest Florida, where gators yawn, cattle craze, and Indian bones are buried, mysteries great and small have found the man to solve them...
Captiva Captiva (1996)
From Publishers Weekly
White, who has always had the talent, moves firmly into the major leagues with his latest Doc Ford story (after Sanibel Flats) and its lavish panorama of cross-cultural and environmental issues played out passionately in south Florida. The Florida Keys uneasily contain rich pleasure seekers and subsistence-level fisherman; someplace in the turbulent middle, Doc, a biologist, and his existentialist buddy Tomlinson hang out. As a ban on net fishing engenders increasing debate, a man is blown apart when an explosion demolishes a jetty. The sultry voodoo-practicing widow soon has Doc and Tomlinson hopelessly spellbound; her host of admirers includes others with drug and land-development interests. By this point, the sweep of White's prose and the earnest intensity he brings to the ecological debate will likely blind readers to a story line with holes large enough for marlin to swim through. Tomlinson is fascinated by the socioeconomics of a small, insular key with nothing but fishing to support it, while Doc is more intrigued by the herbs the widow places in the hot tea they sip prior to bouts of strenuous lovemaking. The conclusion embraces some sinister business with drug smuggling and a minor miracle of modern medicine. While it isn't quite clear how White gets to drug cartels from the charred remains of a lazy brain-fried doper who liked hitting attractive, oversexed women, the whole weird trip, fueled by the author's thoroughly convincing re-creation of his chosen and much-loved world, is a blast.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
North of Havana North of Havana (1997)
From Library Journal
A few days before Christmas, marine biologist and former CIA operative Marion "Doc" Ford receives a call from a pal whose sailboat has strayed into Cuban waters. The friend needs Ford's help to bribe officials and get back his impounded boat. Complicating his life still further, an impossible love named Dewey has arrived that afternoon. Now Ford must go to Cuba, a dangerous trip because of his clandestine operations there that is made more dangerous by Dewey's insistence on accompanying him. What Ford encounters in Cuba is not simple government graft but a plot to eliminate Castro, and if Ford and his friends are to survive he must risk an alliance with a former Soviet agent, one of a cadre with its own reasons for wanting him dead. This is a fine addition to White's Doc Ford series (e.g., Captiva, Putnam, 1996), crackling with both tension and humor. For most popular collections.?Charles Michaud, Turner Free Lib., Randolph, Mass.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
The Mangrove Coast The Mangrove Coast (1998)
From Publishers Weekly
An awkward plot mars the latest entry (after North of Havana, 1997) in White's widely appealing Gulf coast of Florida series starring Doc Ford, marine biologist, former spook and reluctant detective. In the first chapter, Ford finds the body of Frank Calloway on the kitchen floor of the real estate baron's beach house. Eleven chapters later, readers return to Calloway's house to follow Ford, who decides that he'll look for the folder he'd come to see before he calls the police. The intervening chapters explain that Calloway had married?and later divorced?Gail Richardson, the widow of Ford's best friend, Bobby, who had been killed in Cambodia doing top-secret dirty work 20 years earlier. Gail and Bobby's daughter Amanda has asked Ford to find Gail, who is somewhere in South America with a man named Jackie Merlot. Ford learns that Merlot, a gross and depraved villain, has conned Gail into joining him in a rank business venture in the Canal Zone. Merlot is an arresting figure, but most of the action involving him happens so far offstage that his menace is largely wasted. And White's extended flashbacks are filled with pretentious ponderings about the human condition. From a writer whose work is usually marked by tight construction and wry dialogue, this fizzy tale is a misfire. Editor, Neil Nyren; agent Renee Wayne Golden.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Ten Thousand Islands Ten Thousand Islands (2000)
From Publishers Weekly
Of all the writers currently exploiting the Florida mayhem boom, only White can claim to have created a series hero, marine biologist Marion "Doc" Ford, to match Hemingway's memorable outdoorsmen and John D. MacDonald's much-missed Travis McGee. Some of the Ford books have been unfocused, but White's seventh (after 1998's The Mangrove Coast) is one of the strongest, rich with not only evocative images ("I spooked a school of redfish that angled away as a herd, pushing an acre of waking water") but also with an unusually deep cast of characters. Ford himself is in top form, quickly convincing readers that he cares as much about his real job (capturing snook for a lab working to improve the breed) as he does about solving a mysteryDin this case, why the grave of a 15-year-old girl who had an uncanny ability to find things has been desecrated. Somebody is after a 400-year-old gold medallion that she unearthed, a relic of the Calusa Indians. Besides Ford's scene-stealing druggy sidekick, Tomlinson, there are some very interesting female characters: the dead girl herself, with whom Ford turns out to have a strange connection; her gutsy mother, a tough waitress working to keep her daughter's memory alive and unsullied; a young archeologist and an older local woman who take Ford's mind off his former lover. Even the obvious villains, a wealthy and politically powerful father-and-son team, are saved from being clich s by some original touches. But the real star is the seascape of Florida, something that FordDand WhiteDknow intimately. National tour. (June)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Shark River Shark River (2001)
From Publishers Weekly
At a relatively quiet moment in marine biologist/errant knight Doc Ford's eighth adventure, Ford sets a trawl net to collect a dazzling array of sea creatures for a Gulf of Mexico census. The elaborate passage might serve as a handy metaphor for the novel, with its shifty plot involving a motley selection of characters, some slippery and treacherous as a giant-size manta ray. White (Ten Thousand Islands) adds a few new wrinkles and scars to his intriguing protagonist every time the Doc ventures from his laid-back life corralling sharks and pickling horseshoe crabs at Dinkin's Bay Marina on Florida's subtropical west coast. When Ford tags along with his perpetually stoned but intelligent pal Tomlinson to a posh island resort where the latter is leading a workshop on Rinzai Zen, the two get tangled up in murder, kidnapping, drugs, revenge and, for good measure, the sudden appearance of a mysterious Bahamian woman who claims Doc is her brother and seeks his help in discovering whether the "X" on her treasure map really marks the spot. Meanwhile, some very bad Colombians want Ford dead, and a billionaire with political connections to die for (and someone may) drafts Doc to look after his beautiful, sexy and endangered daughter. The story doesn't move in a single forward direction. Rather, it is woven knot by knot, the work of a master net maker. Tense action scenes, skillful character development and an unerring eye for local flora and fauna make White a match for any Florida storyteller. (May 21)Forecast: Outside columnist White may not have the national profile of a writer like Hiaasen, but he keeps going strong eight books into a generally excellent series. This won't be a breakout title for him, but it should satisfy locals and Florida dreamers around the country.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Twelve Mile Limit Twelve Mile Limit (2002)
From Publishers Weekly
Fans of the Florida Gulf Coast marine biologist Doc Ford, White's swashbuckling Travis McGee-esque hero, will applaud this ninth Ford suspense novel (after Shark River), though the literati will likely complain that White continues to fall just short of his near-mythic forerunner, genius storyteller John D. McDonald. In this latest tale, based on a real-life 1994 incident, a boat of scuba divers sinks at a dive site off of Marco Island. When a woman who works in his lab turns up among the missing, Doc jumps into the investigation (though not before he takes time out for an amiable menage-a-trois with two local sirens). The accident's apparent lone survivor, a sexy redheaded Sarasota attorney who swam four miles to the safety of a beacon buoy, confides to Doc that she saw her three companions taken aboard a foul-smelling shrimp boat. Ex-covert agent Doc calls on highly placed government pals to retrieve photos from a surveillance satellite, and the high-resolution images not only confirm the rescue but identify the boat owners as having a history of running drugs and smuggling illegal aliens. Accompanied by the dazzling survivor, Doc tracks the villains to Cartagena, Colombia, where he mounts an operation to free the divers, whom they suspect are about to be sold into prostitution. While this isn't the strongest of the Doc Ford escapades there's some sloppy plotting and gimmicky narrative twists it's plenty entertaining, and White's ironic touches will have fans shouting "encore."
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Everglades Everglades (2003)
From Publishers Weekly
This 10th novel in the series featuring ex-CIA spook turned marine biologist Doc Ford (Twelve Mile Limit, etc.), finds Doc wallowing deep in his own doldrums. Out of shape, overweight, depressed and drinking heavily to escape from his turbulent past, Doc gets a surprise visit from Sally Minster, a former lover, whose real estate developer hubby, Geoff, is reported to have been drowned in a boating accident off Bimini six months ago. Soon to inherit his estate, Sally is being followed by an insurance investigator who may have evidence her husband is still alive. Accompanied by his hippie Zen master pal, Sighurdhr Tomlinson, Doc follows the insurance investigator deep into the Everglades, where Geoff turns out to have been in cahoots with a phony guru, Bhagwan Shiva, founder of the International Church of Ashram Meditation Inc. Geoff helped him build one of his new "theme" ashrams to attract rich South Floridians and jet setters, destroying precious Everglades forest in the process. The Bhagwan and his henchman, Izzy Kline, a Mossad-trained former Israeli soldier, are plotting to engineer a series of explosions, enacting the mythic Seminole Chief Tecumseh's earthquake prophecy of 1811. Free-love religious cults, ecological destruction, murder and kidnapping propel Doc and his band of quirky Florida Gulf Coast beach denizens on a dizzying airboat race across the Everglades, where Doc battles his own demons when he's not battling a real live bull shark. The busy plot gets a bit ragged in places, but while it's not White's career best, this satisfying, madcap fare could well go seismic on the regional bestseller lists.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Tampa Burn Tampa Burn (2004)
From Publishers Weekly
White churns out another title in the Doc Ford series, this one alternating between compelling action sequences and pointless digressions. At the start of the novel, Marion Ford has settled into the life of a gentleman marine biologist on Florida's Gulf coast, leaving behind his past as an assassin and spy. All this is upended when a pyromaniacal carnival freak kidnaps Ford's son, Lake. The boy's mother, Central American beauty Pilar, tries to overcome their estrangement and turns to Ford for help in rescuing the boy. Seduced by his ex-lover just long enough to be caught in a compromising situation by his current girlfriend, Dewey, Ford is distracted by the sight of Dewey's car as she storms away: "She'd sold her 'Vette and bought a new two-seater Lexus. I can never remember the model. The roadster showed impressive stability as she spun it around in the parking lot." Soon after, Ford finds himself in real trouble-and spouts more extraneous commentary. On the way to saving his son, he reflects on the fauna of Florida and Central America, skin transplants, electroshock therapy, port security and the winter residence of choice for circus people. These might have made great ingredients for another whimsical Carl Hiaasen/Elmore Leonardesque madcap novel, but White's meandering prose isn't tight enough to tie them into a convincing whole.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Dead of Night Dead of Night (2005)
From Publishers Weekly
Bioterrorist attacks on DisneyWorld, gun-toting Russians and flesh-eating worms aren't enough to stop spy-***-biologist Marion "Doc" Ford in his 12th adventure. When Ford reluctantly agrees to check in on a friend's brother, Jobe Applebee, a reclusive hydrobiologist, the simple favor escalates to horrific proportions. Ford stumbles onto a brutal interrogation scene, scares off Applebee's attackers, returns to find Applebee has hung himself and later learns that Applebee was "host to a feeding, breathing, sub-community of parasites." White barrels on full throttle: pretty soon Ford's uncovered a madman's plot to unleash ravenous guinea worms into local waterways and piranhas into Texas lakes, which will send property values plummeting—and thus make them ready for a quick snapup once the threats have been taken care of. With the help of his sidekick Tomlinson and a slew of other returning characters, Ford must hunt down the bad guys and find the miracle cure before a statewide infestation begins. Meanwhile, he's fending off Stokes's security—the sexually deviant Russian Dasha, the slow-witted Alexis—and assuring his pregnant girlfriend he'll be home in time for Christmas. White's latest is deliciously addictive and nail-bitingly suspenseful. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Dark Light Dark Light (2005)
From Publishers Weekly
The 13th installment of bestseller White's aging but still solid series featuring Doc Ford (after 2005's Dead of Night) finds the retired CIA operative picking up in the aftermath of a hurricane that's ravaged the Florida coast. Hired to sift through the old wreck of a pleasure craft, the Dark Light, that's been spotted after the huge storm, Ford and his salvage team discover items inside the boat that stir deadly vengeance—Nazi artifacts. Ford runs into trouble immediately from Bern Heller, a nearby marina owner who claims his company has rights to the wreck site and doesn't hesitate employing violence to get his way. At issue, Ford soon discovers, is more than just old Lugers, war medals and a few gold bars. The real prize lies in the ownership of thousands of acres of Florida beachfront property. While the novel peaks in a typical burst of satisfying action, the plot takes too long to get underway and lacks the overall crispness of the author's best work. 80,000 first printing; author tour. (Mar. 16)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Hunter's Moon Hunter's Moon (2007)
From Publishers Weekly
The 14th Doc Ford Florida thriller (after 2006's Dark Light) from bestseller White requires more suspension of disbelief than most readers may be willing to provide. Marine biologist Ford, a shadowy figure with multiple links to the intelligence community, gets an unusual commission from Kal Wilson, a former one-term president who recently lost his wife in a mysterious plane crash. Wilson, who has a terminal illness, asks Ford's help in slipping his protective detail so that the politician can search for those he believes responsible for his wife's death. Implausibly, the psychotic serial killer who's Ford's bête noir, Praxcedes Lourdes, appears to have been involved in the attack on the former first lady, giving the covert op a personal incentive to assist Wilson. The action sequences, especially those involving Wilson, are less than convincing, and the climax is particularly far-fetched. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Black Widow Black Widow (2008)
From Publishers Weekly
Bestseller Ford's 15th Doc Ford thriller (after 2007's Hunter's Moon) may baffle newcomers with a backstory relating to the murder of Ford's parents. Ford, a marine biologist and covert operative who lives on Florida's Sanibel Island, is busy serving his shadowy U.S. government masters by researching the potential use by terrorists of jellyfish and other venomous sea creatures when he receives a desperate appeal for help from an old friend. Shay Money, a successful 26-year-old businesswoman who's about to be married, fears her future happiness is in jeopardy because an extortionist has videotaped her and three female friends in sexually compromising situations. While Ford manages to get the tape in exchange for a sizable payment, his suspicions that the criminal isn't done with Money are soon confirmed. His efforts to protect her lead him to the Caribbean and a sophisticated blackmail racket with a lengthy list of victims. Despite some awkward prose (The combination of flesh and death, the orderly geometrics of my wound, struck me as indefinably profound), series fans should enjoy the ride. Author tour. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Dead Silence Dead Silence (2009)
Bestseller White's high-octane 16th thriller to feature Marion Doc Ford (after Black Widow) opens with a splash as Ford deep-sixes serial rapist Bern Heller into the ocean a mile off Sanibel Island, Fla. Killing Heller is a sidebar to Doc's primary mission: rescuing Will Chaser, a 14-year-old Indian boy from Oklahoma, from two Cuban psychopaths who in a bungled kidnapping attempt wound up with Will instead of their intended target, a U.S. senator. Will is the real star of the show—a tough, resourceful juvenile delinquent with rodeo skills and a propensity for rage that make him a pretty even match for the two demonic kidnappers, who are demanding valuable information found in the belongings of the now-deceased Fidel Castro. Despite some confusing backstory and an unnecessarily complicated plot—White drags in many of Doc's sidekicks from earlier books for not much apparent reason—the action roars along as Doc does what Doc does best: kick butt. Author tour. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Deep Shadow by Randy Wayne WhiteDeep Shadow (2010)

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. At the start of bestseller White's outstanding 17th Doc Ford thriller (after Dead Silence), two low-life ex-cons, King and Perry, are on the lam after killing a family of five in a burglary. They end up in Doc's neck of the woods, or rather his neck of the swamp, in central Florida. Doc; his boat-bum hipster pal, Tomlinson; troubled Indian teen Will Chaser, who played a key role in Dead Silence; and Arlis Futch, a crusty old fisherman, have arrived at a small lake, which they intend to search for Batista's treasure plane, which disappeared in 1958 while flying the ex-dictator's looted booty out of Cuba during the Castro takeover. King and Perry, who are as bad as they come, quickly take control of the others, forcing Doc and friends to continue diving in the lake, after which the pair plan to kill them all. Throw in a giant, mysterious swamp creature with an appetite for cattle, horses, and divers, and you've got a nail-biter that's virtually impossible to put down. Author tour. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Non-fiction - Cooking
Cover of ISBN: 159228096X Randy Wayne White's Gulf Coast Cookbook cowritten with Carlene Fredericka Brennen (2006)
Randy Wayne White's Gulf Coast Cookbook is a memoir of his thirteen years as a full-time, lighttackle fishing guide at Tarpon Bay Marina, Sanibel Island, on Florida's Gulf Coast. This collection of one hundred photographs, anecdotes, and recipes revisits a time and place that inspired his New York Times best-selling Doc Ford series.


Randy Wayne White's picture

Learn more about Randy Wayne White.

Check out more Mystery books set in Florida.

Visit It Takes Place in Florida and discover more books with a Florida setting.

More pages