Published by Penguin Group, G.P.Putnam, New York , 2011.
By now, he has visited us so often in our living rooms through his 24 novels and 7 non-fiction works, I think we have afforded the right to call him Randy. Randy doesn’t take us far from home on his newest Doc Ford adventure. According to Google Maps, a short sixty miles separates the land of the Florida migrant workers of Immokalee and our sun-soaked shores of the beautiful crescent beach of Marco Island.
As we sit under our beach umbrellas, heals dug into the sand with a cool drink in one hand and Randy’s Night Vision in our other, he takes us along with Doc and Tomlinson on a hunt for a missing thirteen year old Guatemalan girl named Tula Choima. Traveling through the trailer parks and migrant farms of central Florida, the little girl talks to God and wants to lead her people to freedom like her patron saint, Joan of Arc. But she is in grave danger from unsavory characters that feed on the helplessness of a society that we are too uncomfortable to think of as our neighbors.
In many ways this is a man’s book, full of mercenary tactics, gun waving machismo and violence. But before the ladies set the book back on the shelf, remember Doc Ford as our SW Florida superman as he evolves from mild mannered marine biologist with glasses hanging by fishing wire around his neck to Super Hero with high powered night vision glasses to save the damsel in distress. He is charming and sexy, every woman’s knight in shining armor.
I am a huge Randy fan, and this book did not disappoint. My husband and I made a day trip to Sanibel this week-end so I could sit at Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille. Say I am silly, but I actually asked what booth Randy sits in to write his novels. And they told me. I didn’t go so far as to sit in his seat, but I did buy a t-shirt. I could swear I saw Tomlinson with his long grey ponytail hanging down his back and baggy cargo shorts. (Since he wasn’t wearing a pink sarong, I may have been wrong.) From there we went to the Tarpon Bay marina. A marine laboratory (that is not open to the public) is there that I can imagine Doc Ford’s is fashioned after although I did not see any shark tanks. I stood on the edge of the water, looking out into the murky waters, and if I squinted my eyes just right, I could almost make out in my mind’s eye, the outline of the No Mas anchored just off to my right in the middle of the bay. I knew that somewhere on that island, Randy has his home, but I haven’t quite reached stalker level yet to push to find it. Besides, I just happen to know that he was in Phoenix, AZ that day for a book signing.
Joanne Tailele has been a full time resident of Marco Island for two years. Born in Youngstown, her last “home” for 12 years was Columbus, Ohio. Between Joanne and her husband, she has six children and nine grandchildren. She works as a receptionist for a local real estate company.