Too close for comfort

Reviewed by Linda C. Brinson

DEEP BLUE. By Randy Wayne White. Penguin Audio. Read by George Guidall.  8 ½ hours; 7 CDs. $40. Also available in print from G.P. Putnam’s Sons.

You’d think that, having written 22 crime novels starring Doc Ford, Randy Wayne White might be running out of plot ideas. After all, how many dangerous situations can a marine biologist living at a quirky South Florida marina get into? Even if that biologist used to be some sort of top-secret government agent and still disappears mysteriously from time to time on some sort of mission?

But you would be wrong, as Deep Blue, the 23rd book in this lively series, proves admirably. If anything, this is one of the best all-time Doc Ford novels. White is clearly on top of his game and on top of what’s going on in this dangeorus world of ours, whether it be the realm of terrorist violence or that of the latest in high-tech threats.

As the book opens, Doc sets off on what should be, for him, a fairly routine secret mission. He’s after an American working with ISIS, with the assignment of making sure this assassin doesn’t kill anyone else. The job takes him away from his home and lab at Dinkin’s Bay on South Florida’s Sanibel Island, where the odd assortment of residents and hangers-on who make up his community are counting down, jovially, to Christmas.

Once in Mexico, however, Doc finds that things begin to go wrong, in a complicated way with repercussions beyond even his wary imaginings.

Doc is usually able to compartmentalize, to keep the jobs he occasionally embarks on separate from his life with his friends at Dinkin’s Bay. This time, however, he’s aroused the ire and interest of an evil genius who is all too capable of taking the fight to Sanibel Island, even into the homes and private lives of Doc and his friends.

This fast-paced book is full of plot twists, surprises and suspense. It will have you reading way past bedtime, or, if you’re listening to George Guidall’s masterfully read audio version while you drive, speeding past your turnoff because you just have to know what happens next.

The suspenseful plot is bolstered by thorough research into state-of-the-art threats.

In Deep Blue, Doc must use all his wits to protect not only himself, but also the people he cares about and the casual way of life they all treasure. He makes it to the end of the book, but he’s ready for whatever he must do next – and so are we.



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