Action Adventure Series
Randy Wayne White penned Sanibel Flats over thirty years ago. This first in a long series is an action adventure featuring Doc Ford as an ex-operative returning home to focus on marine biology. His hopes for a quiet life are shattered by a request from an old high school buddy. The author creates plausibility for a return to action along with a gorgeous description of Florida’s barrier islands.
Key Characters Introduced
To be honest, I have read other entries in this series out of order. And I enjoyed them without the back story. However, if you have not read any of White’s novels, I suggest you begin with this one. He does an outstanding job of building character. After reading Sanibel Flats, I realize the depth of the various personalities throughout the series. And I understand how the serious character of Doc Ford and the laid-back hippie Tomlinson (one of my favorites) become so tight.
Furthermore, the author gives you a glimpse of Doc Ford’s double-standard thinking with respect to love interests. Every character needs a flaw. And each also needs hope.
Plot of Sanibel Flats
Doc Ford is newly returned to Sanibel Island. He is contacted by his long-ago best friend for help. Apparently, high school buddy, Rafe Hollins, kidnapped his son from a drunken druggie ex-wife only for the boy to be kidnapped by a Central American crime lord. Then Ford finds Hollins dead and knows rescuing 8-year-old Jake Hollins is his duty.
Convincing fellow marina dweller Tomlinson to come to the jungles of Central America is easy. And the action adventure begins. Moreover, the author introduces the many grey areas of a moral life. Sanibel Flats is not a novel for those who see the world as black and white. However, good and evil are easy to decipher.
A Descriptive Sanibel Flats
White excels at bringing locales to life. The descriptions of coastal Florida ring true for this former inhabitant. Thus, his jungle scenes of Central and South America are given credence. If a few readers get bogged down by the settings, action awaits at the turn of a page.
Sanibel Flats does not shield one from descriptions of violence and gore. Between the gunfights and the bedroom scenes, this book belongs in the hands of a mature audience. Since the book takes place in an area known for growing drugs, there are those who may find that objectionable as well. However, the story of rescue from a foreign locale without military aid merits the above-mentioned scenes.
The Doc Ford series is pure entertainment with moralism thrown in. The characters are human and very relatable. While I may not read the entire series as my spouse has, I know Sanibel Flats will not be the last. However, I do think I will go back and read the series in order.