‘Stylishly written,’ but not my style

Doc Ford is a man’s man, as described by at least one reviewer on Barnes & Noble.

Brilliant. Brave. Generally unemotional, even when blameless men are executed and fed to the sharks.

It is his amoral nature I object to. When he slept with two women in one night in Randy Wayne White’s debut novel in the Doc Ford series, Sanibel Flats, I was disgusted.

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

Sanibel FlatsI asked for and received Sanibel Flats for Christmas because I wanted to get a flavor for the series about the marine biologist detective set in Fort Myers, Fla., where I’ve vacationed countless times in order to enjoy my beloved Minnesota Twins in spring training.

This mystery features a complex and interesting plot, well-drawn characters and just enough violence to make it intense without being especially lurid (I would much rather read about a vulture pecking out a dead man’s eyes than actually see it). And gasp-out-loud surprises. You gotta love that in a mystery.

So Sanibel Flats has all the ingredients of a good novel. And I can see why there are 20 more tales in the series.

But I probably won’t be picking up The Heat Islands, despite the clever trail of crumbs White left readers to feed on in Sanibel Flats. I’m not a fan of mysteries in general, and I don’t like Doc Ford enough to care how he drifts through his less than honorable escapades. My perspective on such books mirrors Doc Ford’s view of bad news:

“He rarely looked at a newspaper. Didn’t understand the nation’s habit of clubbing itself each morning with a list of tragedy and doom before trying to go cheerfully into the day. Like arsenic, it had to have a cumulative effect.”

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