Cover image for Twelve mile limit
Twelve mile limit
White, Randy Wayne.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : G.P. Putnam's Sons, [2002]

Physical Description:
x, 322 pages ; 24 cm
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X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
X Adult Fiction Central Library
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Randy Wayne White's Doc Ford stories continue to grow in audience and acclaim-"We'll always drop anything to read a new White novel, and be glad we did" (The Denver Post)-but in Twelve Mile Limit, he has written his most powerful novel of all. On a Friday in early November, four people head out from the west coast of Florida to dive a deep-water wreck fifty-six miles offshore. Two days later, one of them is found alive, standing atop a 160-foot light tower in the Gulf of Mexico, naked and waving her wetsuit. But the other three appear to have been swept off the edge of the earth. One diver is Ford's friend, Janet Mueller. It is then that the rumors begin-whispers of everything from fraud to smuggling to murder. To clear Janet's name, Ford knows that he must discover what really happened that night, way out on the Gulf Stream. The answer that he eventually does find is something both less and much more than the whispers, the result of a quest that will take him halfway around the world and very nearly kill him. It is a truth that will haunt him for the rest of his life. Filled with passion, rich atmosphere, and some of the best suspense characters anywhere in fiction, Twelve Mile Limitis a brilliant piece of storytelling.

Author Notes

Randy Wayne White was born in Ashland, Ohio in 1950. He is an outdoorsman, journalist, and novelist. He worked for the Fort Myers News-Press for four years before becoming a light-tackle fishing guide at Tarpon Bay Marina in Sanibel Island, Florida for thirteen years. His first articles on travel, natural history, archaeology, anthropology, and politics were published in Outside Magazine. He also writes a bimonthly column for Men's Health magazine.

His first novel, Sanibel Flats, was published in 1991. He writes the Doc Ford series as well as non-fiction books including Batfishing in the Rainforest: Strange Tales of Travel and Fishing, An American Traveler: True Tales of Adventure, Travel, and Sport, and Last Flight Out: True Tales of Adventure, Travel, and Fishing. He also writes under the names of Randy Striker and Carl Ramm. In 2015 his title Cuba Straits made The New York Times Best Seller List.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

"We like small, brave people who find small, brave ways to endure and achieve." So says Doc Ford, marine biologist, about his fellow boat people at Dinkin's Bay Marina on Sanibel Island. Ford himself is plenty brave but only wishes he was small. In fact, he's a former dirty-tricks expert for the CIA who gamely tries to live a quiet life. This time the trouble comes when one of his marina pals is lost at sea during a diving trip off the Florida's Gulf Coast. With the help of the sole survivor, Ford attempts to learn what really happened after the divers' boat went down. To get the answers he needs, Ford must return to Colombia, scene of his former CIA dirty doings. White sticks closely to formula in this series: a small, brave person gets in trouble, and Ford, reluctantly shrugging off his Clark Kent disguise, does whatever it takes to rescue the imperiled soul, realizing in the process that violence still attracts him. Formula, yes, but White enlivens it with crisp action, thoughtful reflections on human relations, and some of the best writing about the sea by anyone in or out of the crime-fiction genre. ^-Bill Ott

Publisher's Weekly Review

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 mnage--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." (June 3) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved



Twelve Mile Limit Randy Wayne White Copyright √£ 2002 by Randy Wayne White Part One Prologue On Sunday, November 4, a Coast Guard helicopter was operating fifty-two nautical miles off Marco Island on the west coast of Florida, when a crewman spotted a naked woman on the highest platform of a 160-foot navigational tower. In the crew chief's report, the woman was described as a "very healthy and fit" redhead. The woman was waving what turned out to be a wet suit. She was trying to attract the helicopter crew's attention. The helicopter, a Jayhawk H-60, was in the area searching for a twenty-five-foot pleasure boat that had been reported overdue nearly two days earlier. According to the report, the motor vessel, Seminole Wind, had left Marco on Friday morning with a party of one man, three women. According to relatives, the foursome had planned to spend the day offshore, fishing and SCUBA diving, but did not return Friday afternoon as expected. The Coast Guard had been searching for the Seminole Wind since Friday night. The crew of the Jayhawk was looking for a disabled boat, not a naked woman waving a wet suit from a light tower. The helicopter flew east past the tower, banked south, then hovered beside the platform. One of the crew signaled the woman with a thumbs-up. It was a question. The woman signaled a thumbs-up in return--she was okay. Then the woman wiggled into her wet suit, climbed down to a lower platform, and dived into the water. The crew of the Jayhawk dropped a basket seat and winched her aboard. It was 9:54 a.m. The woman they rescued was thirty-six-year-old Amelia Gardner of St. Petersburg, a passenger on the vessel that had been reported overdue, the Seminole Wind. According to the Coast Guard report, the woman was given a mug of coffee from a Thermos and asked what happened. She replied that she'd been a guest on a boat that sank. When the crew chief asked where the boat had sunk, Gardner replied, "Oh dear, God! You mean you haven't found them?" She was referring to the two women and one man who'd been aboard with her: the boat's owner, Michael Sanford, age thirty-five, of Siesta Key; Grace Walker, twenty-nine, a Sarasota realtor; and Janet Mueller, thirty-three, who lived on a houseboat at Jensen's Marina on Captiva Island and worked part-time for Sanibel Biological Supply, a business owned by a man named Marion Ford. A Coast Guard crewman shook his head and told the distraught woman, "Nope. We've had crews searching for thirty-six hours straight and no one's seen a thing." Gardner told the crew that Sanford's boat had swamped and capsized at around 3 p.m. Friday while anchored over the Baja California, a wreck they'd been diving. She said the four of them had held on to the anchor line until the boat finally sank at around 7 p.m. and they were set adrift. By then, it was dark, waves had gotten bigger, the wind stronger, and she was gradually swept away from the others in rough seas. Because she had no other options, Gardner began swimming toward the light tower, which she'd been told was approximately four miles away. "I never thought I was going to make it," she told the crew chief. "I was sure I was going to die." She said that it was a little after 11 p.m., according to her dive watch, when she finally reached the tower, climbed up the service ladder, and collapsed, exhausted, on the lower platform. She'd been on the tower since 11 p.m. Friday--thirty-five hours--and she told them she was very thirsty. She was sunburned, she had barnacle cuts on her hands and legs, and she appeared to be suffering from exposure. When Gardner was offered the option of being flown to a hospital or remaining on station, she replied that she wanted the helicopter to continue searching. She told crewmen that all three of her companions were wearing wet suits and inflated BCD vests, buoyancy compensator devices. "We'll find them, we've got to find them," she said, and offered to help the crew get Loran--an electronic navigational system that aids mariners in determining positions at sea--coordinates for the California wreck from her former dive instructor, who lived aboard a trawler at Burnt Store Marina near Punta Gorda. The crew chief told Gardner that they already had the coordinates for the wreck. The helicopter crew, with Gardner aboard, searched for two more hours but found nothing--nor did what, by now, was an even bigger search group that included a second H-60 helicopter, a C-130 fixed wing aircraft, the Coast Guard's eighty-two-foot cutter Point Swift, and a forty-one-foot utility cruiser. The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and other volunteers were also providing boats and crew, but the smaller vessels could not search offshore because the wind was now blowing twenty knots out of the east-northeast. Hopes of recovering the three missing divers remained high, however. They were all young, all in good shape, and they were all wearing wet suits and inflated vests. As one of the Coast Guard staff assured Gardner, "Don't worry, we're the very best in the world at finding people lost at sea." Which is true. Excerpted from Twelve Mile Limit by Randy Wayne White All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.