It may seem like we were first introduced to Doc Ford, a marine biologist and sometimes sleuth, only a handful of years ago. But the reality is that readers have been following the brawny and brainy Ford on his mystery-solving exploits for more than two decades.
Next week, high-praised local author Randy Wayne White will release his 18th Doc Ford novel, entitled "Night Vision," which the writer explained follows sort of a different theme than in previous adventures.
"The book centers around a group of illegal immigrants," said White, who will soon embark on a 28-city tour in support of the newest book. "They are hard working people who are very eager to stay here, and remain largely unnoticed by the police. But that makes them an easy target for corruption."
Sitting in his Sanibel Island office, Randy Wayne White holds a copy of his newest novel, “Night Vision,” which will be released next week.
In "Night Vision," which is set primarily on Sanibel and San Carlos Island, a lot is going on in the Red Citrus Trailer Park, known locally as "Little Guadalajara" and inhabited principally by illegal laborers. The park manager and his kinky girlfriend are bodybuilder narcissists with some pretty unsavory sidelines but they figure that selling the park to developers would be a faster way to riches, and so they're prepared to do whatever it takes to drive the residents out.
The complicating factor is a Guatemalan girl whom the laborers believe talks to God, and like her patron saint, Joan of Arc - wants to lead her people to freedom. The manager can't decide if she's valuable or a liability. But when the girl witnesses him dump the corpse of a dead prostitute into a lake, there is one thing he knows for certain: he's got to find her fast and shut her up permanently.
The girl's only hope for survival: a marine biologist (and sometimes more) named Doc Ford, who along with his friend Tomlinson, must undertake a search through an underground invisible nation and just hope he reaches her first.
"This book deals with some of the people who have come here from Central and South America - illegally," added White. "There are a lot of hardships and pressures that come with living under the radar."
To launch his book-signing tour, White is scheduled to appear at Doc Ford's Sanibel Rum Bar & Grill on Sunday and Monday, Feb. 20 and 21. There will be two appearances each day from noon to 2 p.m. and again from 4 to 6 p.m.
Doc Ford's Sanibel Rum Bar & Grill is located at 975 Rabbit Road, at the corner of Rabbit Road and San-Cap Road on Sanibel. Call 472-8311 or visit www.DocFordsSanibel.com for more information.
On Wednesday, Feb. 23, White will appear at the Sanibel Island Bookshop, located at 1571 Periwinkle Way, for a book-signing starting at 5:30 p.m. He will be giving an author's talk followed by a question-and-answer session.
This will be White's 11th year in a row signing at the Sanibel Island Bookshop. Refreshments are being provided by Blu Sushi and parking is limited. To have a book signed, it must be purchased at the Sanibel Island Bookshop. Call 472-5223 with any questions or to reserve your copy of "Night Vision."
White will return to Southwest Florida on Sunday, March 13 for a book-signing at Doc Ford's Fort Myers Beach, located at 708 Fisherman's Wharf (on the east side of the Fort Myers Beach Bridge). He will be signing books from noon to 2 p.m. and again from 4 to 6 p.m. Call 239-765-9660 or visit www.DocFordsFortMyersBeach.com for details.
As he prepares to embark on his cross-country tour to promote his latest thriller, White reported that he is already hard at work on the 19th Doc Ford book.
"It's about the caviar industry... and it takes place on Useppa Island, although I may change the location," White revealed, adding that he is also working on a young adult book about the shell mounds of Pine Island. "It's historical fantasy. I'm about halfway through it and I love it."
White is a New York Times best-selling author whose novel, "Sanibel Flats," was chosen by the American Independent Mystery Booksellers Association as one of the Hundred Favorite Mysteries of the 20th Century. Earlier this year, he was named a "Florida Literary Legend" in by the Florida Historical Society.
For more about the author, visit www.randywaynewhite.com.