Cover image for Everglades
White, Randy Wayne.
Personal Author:
[Large print edition].
Publication Information:
[Rockland, MA] : Wheeler Pub., [2003]

Physical Description:
480 pages ; 25 cm
Format :


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X Adult Large Print - Floating collection Floating Collection - Large Print

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Doc Ford returns to his stilt house on Dinkin's Bay to find an old friend and onetime lover waiting for him. Her real-estate-developer husband has disappeared and been pronounced dead. She's sure there's worse to follow - and she's right. Following the trail, Ford ends up deep in the Everglades, at the gates of a community presided over by a man named Bhagwan Shiva (formerly Jerry Singh). Shiva is big business, but that business has become a little shaky lately, so he's come up with a scheme to enhance both his cash and his power. Of course, there's the possibility that some people could get hurt and the Everglades itself damaged, but Shiva smells a killing. And if that should turn out to be literally, as well as figuratively, true...well, that's just too damned bad.

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

Much of the tension in today's best tough-guy detective series comes from the hero's fear of his own toughness. From Spenser in Boston to Robicheaux in New Orleans to Doc Ford on Sanibel Island, these introspective sleuths brood about their propensity for violence. Ford, White's former special-ops agent turned mild-mannered marine biologist, tends to brood more than his peers, perhaps because the disconnect between his twin personalities is greatest. In this superlative tenth episode in the acclaimed series, that disconnect has turned Ford against himself, despairing over the number of friends who have been sucked into his violent world and died as a result of it. Then a woman from his past turns up with a problem: her husband has disappeared after becoming involved with a Bhagwan-like cult in the Everglades. Ford, with hippie cohort Tomlinson in tow, heads to the Glades to investigate but not before a one-on-one encounter with a shark prompts an epiphany about his predatory nature. Along the way, Ford has the opportunity to dispense a wealth of fascinating information on swampland ecology and Seminole history. These forays are one of the things that makes this series so consistently satisfying, but this time the real core of the book is the process by which Ford deals with his inner demons. Too often in the mystery genre, this "I'm nice; no, I'm tough" dichotomy descends to cliche, but in White's hands, it leads to genuine insight. The human brain, he tells us, has a tiny region, the amygdala, or "lizard brain," whose sole purpose is survival. When Ford finally quits waffling and lets his lizard brain out of jail, the result is pulsating action and a kind of atavistic catharsis. Righteous indignation never felt better. --Bill OttBooks for Youth The reviews in this section cover books for young people ranging in age from preschool through high school. "Older" encompasses junior high and high school (grades 7^-12); "Middle," grades 3^-6 (and first chapter books for younger readers); and "Young," preschool^-grade 2. Recommendations for adult books with YA appeal or high-school curricular value can be found following a full review in the adult books and the Upfront sections. They are marked with a YA symbol that is followed by a concise comment from a Booklist staff member or contributing reviewer.

Publisher's Weekly Review

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. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved



chapter one izzy Izzy Kline said to Shiva, "Today, she hopped in her Beamer and drove across the Everglades to Sanibel Island. She's got a couple of friends there, so it could be she's looking for help: a marine biologist named Ford, and someone whose name you might recognize." Shiva was wearing sandals and a Seminole medicine jacket, rag-patched, rainbow reds, greens, yellows, belted around his waist like a bathrobe. Shiva's hair was cut Shawnee style: a fifty-six-year-old male, born to a Canadian mother in Bombay, India-indifferent to the irony. He was standing in a bedroom that was larger than some of the West Palm Beach homes he could see across the Intracoastal canal through the western window of his beach compound. In the bedroom was a Buddha-shaped bed with canopy, a gymnasium with sauna, a meditation corner, an office with computers and security monitors. The place was done in white tile and teak, all decorations in gold except for several wooden figurines on the walls. There was a carving of an impressionistic cat, several masks with horrific faces and two rare Seminole totemic masks. The carvings had been added within the last two years. Shiva said to Izzy, "I haven't seen or talked to you in a month. So why do you show up now, bothering me with this garbage?" "It seemed important. She doesn't believe her husband's dead. I already told you." "You've been working for me for-what?-ten, twelve years. You know I hate details-as if I have the time. I don't care about this woman." "Details-Jesus Christ, are you kidding? If she finds out the truth about what happened to Geoff Minster, say good-bye to your casinos and your development. Three tons of ammonium nitrate fertilizer, explosives grade. Does that ring a bell? It's my nuts in the wringer." Shiva looked impatiently at the Cartier watch he wore on his left wrist. "You need to leave. I have a massage scheduled in a few minutes. There's a new girl among the disciples-with a nice body for a change. I don't want you interrupting." Izzy Kline: Lean, gaunt-cheeked, with a scar below his right eye, dimples and a dimpled chin-a ladies' man. Ex-Israeli Army, he'd trained with the Mossad, chosen to leave his adopted country rather than face morals charges, returned to America and been hired as security manager by a controversial religious leader, Bhagwan Shiva, founder of the International Church of Ashram Meditation, Inc. Strictly business. Shiva had established his first church west of Miami Lakes, the palmetto country between Okeechobee Road and Opa Locka, edge of the Everglades. This was back before he'd changed his name from Jerry Singh. He'd started with forty-some disciples, mostly dropouts and runaways who'd craved the discipline, and liked wearing robes and growing their own food. When he'd had cash, he'd bought land. He'd bought a lot of it west of Miami. Cheap swampland. Eighteen years later, Shiva now had a quarter million followers worldwide, and one hundred twenty Church of Ashram Centers, mostly in the U.S., Great Britain and Europe, though the numbers were declining. In the last five years, his organization had been crippled by lawsuits, IRS investigations and aggressive TV, magazine and newspaper exposÈs. He'd been described as the "wizard of religion" because of elaborate miracles staged before thousands. He'd been called the "rich man's prophet," and an incarnate "sex guru." Kline didn't believe Shiva was an incarnate anything; he knew him too well to fall for his holy man act. Izzy was the only person in the organization who spoke frankly to Shiva. As a result, he was the only man Shiva could be open with, behave naturally around-and who also scared him a little. Izzy knew everything. Shiva sighed and said, "Okay, okay, so why should we be worried about her two friends on some island? Where'd you say she went?" Izzy said, "She sent her cousin an e-mail, said she's driving to Sanibel today." "An e-mail. You have access to her computer? Or did you break into her house?" Izzy had broken into her house. Several times; twice in the last week. He enjoyed going through her drawers. He'd found a couple of fun items hidden away. But he said, "No. I hacked her password. The one friend she's going to see, I think you've probably heard about. Which's why I'm telling you. A guy named Sighurdhr Tomlinson. Or Sea-guard, I'm not sure how you pronounce it." "Sighurdhr Tomlinson," Shiva said, considering it, but not giving it his full attention. "The name sounds familiar." "Remember Miami River, the archaeological site where you tried to build the condo complex? That group of protesters who futzed it? Eco-freaks, all the shitty PR they caused. How many millions'd we lose on that one?" Shiva was nodding now. "Okay, yes, I know who you mean. He was with the protestors, one of the leaders. I remember one of my advisors telling me-not you-that he was a kook. Like most of them. A heavy drug user. That's the information I got." Izzy said, "Really? That's all? There's more. You know me, I'm a fanatic when it comes to background checks." Shiva said, "I don't think I'm interested." Izzy said, "I think you should be." "Why? I don't see the point." "Because what I found out about this guy is kind of interesting. For instance: Fifteen, twenty years ago, he was implicated in a terrorist bombing at a U.S. naval base. Killed a couple of people." That got Shiva's attention. "Really. A bombing. Hum-m-m-m." Thinking about it, how the information could be used. "Yeah, but he skated. The feds didn't nail 'im. I'm not sure why yet. I'm still working on that. There had to be a reason." "But there's a record?" "Not official, but it's there if you dig deep enough." "Is there anything for him to find out about Geoff?" "Maybe. I don't know if the guy was being straight with us or not. It's possible he hid away some papers. Or maybe he had a secret friend. Who knows? What I'm saying is, we're both screwed if his wife figures out what really happened." Izzy was standing at the bedroom's east window, looking over the tops of coconut palms, out onto the Atlantic. Seeing jade sea bottom beyond the beach, and a border of purple water way out where a couple of oceangoing freighters moved like long slabs of concrete, floating: the Gulf Stream. Beneath Izzy, parked on the blue tile drive, were two Rolls-Royces: a 1923 Silver Ghost, and a '31 Landaulette, painted racing green. Shiva loved them; collected them. Maybe because he was born upper caste, in India, British-made cars seemed to represent something. Izzy wasn't sure what. Less than five years ago, Shiva had owned twenty-three Rollses. But he'd been selling them off-Izzy was one of the few who knew about it-plus some property, some businesses, to augment the organization's sagging cash flow. His church was in trouble, and the guy was desperate. Izzy knew that, too. Something else Izzy had realized after all these years with Shiva: All religion was bullshit. Religion was nothing more than legend manipulated by carefully staged illusions. It was his personal water-into-wine theory. Shiva said, "His wife, the attractive blonde-what's her name?" "Sally. Yeah, she's a looker." "Has Sally ever met you? Does she know who you are?" "No." "What about Tomlinson?" "Nope." "Okay, they're old friends. That's what you said. Sometimes old friends, a man and a woman, they just run off and disappear." Kline knew what Shiva meant by "disappear." Shiva had paid him bonuses to do it before, and he'd actually kind of enjoyed himself the one time it was a woman. But something about the way Shiva said it now irked him-like it was no big deal; grunt work any idiot could pull off. Izzy called Shiva by his real name on those occasions when he wanted to underscore the fact that he didn't much give a damn about the man's religious act, or who paid his salary. He used the name now, saying, "Brilliant, Jerry. But she's going to visit two guys, not just one. So maybe what you can do is perform another one of your miracles. Snap your fingers, make all three of them disappear. How's that sound?" Shiva ignored the sarcasm. "This hippie, even if she does try to get him involved-someone like him? I don't see the problem. So tell me about the second guy." "He's a marine biologist named Ford. Marion D. Ford. Lives on Sanibel Island at a place called Dinkin's Bay Marina. Same place as Tomlinson. Ford sells marine specimens." "Marine specimens." "Um-huh. Like to colleges and labs. For research, that sort of thing." Shiva waited through a few beats of silence, before he said, "That's it? Your background check didn't turn up anything else -" There was a polite knock at the door. Shiva paused, checked his watch again. Time for his massage. He said, "Leave now. The women are here." Kline said, "Exactly my point. With all the data banks and my resources, that's all there was: where Ford lives, the name of his company, where he graduated from college, some research papers. They play in some baseball league. Nothing else. "The guy's alive, he exists, but never really lived. He's like an empty body walking." Shiva smiled, then began to laugh, waving Izzy toward the door, "Baseball. A children's game. You're wasting my time for this? If a biologist and some pothead worry you, maybe you've been in the business too long. Get out of here. We'll talk again when I'm through." Izzy was remembering a maxim he'd learned at the Mossad training complex in the suburbs of Tel Aviv-Beware the man without a past-as he considered saying to Bhagwan Shiva, You really don't get it, do you? Not that he was concerned about a man he'd never met, or the woman, or anyone else. It was Shiva's attitude that bothered him, the indifference. Like he was really beginning to believe the lie he'd been telling followers for years: I am the truth, and the truth is invincible. Izzy walked toward the door, thinking, You're not invincible, asshole. And you're not taking me down with you.... --from Everglades by Randy Wayne White, copyright © 2003 Randy Wayne White, published by G.P. Putnam's Sons, a member of the Penguin Group (USA) Inc., all rights reserved, reprinted with permission from the publisher. Excerpted from Everglades 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.