The stunning new thriller from the New York Times–bestselling author.
When a Crow Indian acquaintance of Tomlinson’s asks him to help recover a relic stolen from his tribe, Doc Ford is happy to tag along—but neither Doc nor Tomlinson realize what they’ve let themselves in for. Their search takes them to the part of Central Florida known as Bone Valley, famous primarily for two things: a ruthless subculture of black-marketers who trade in illegal artifacts and fossils, and a multibillion-dollar phosphate industry whose strip mines compromise the very ground they walk on.
Neither enterprise tolerates nosy outsiders. For each, public exposure equals big financial losses—and in a region built on a million-year accumulation of bones, there is no shortage of spots in which to hide a corpse. Or two.
The current controversy over phosphate mining provides the backdrop for bestseller White's solid 21st Doc Ford novel (after 2013's Night Moves). The marine biologist and former government operative receives a visit from Duncan "Dunk" Fallsdown, a Crow Indian from Montana, at his home in Sanibel Island, Fla. Dunk is searching for two black soapstone carvings that disappeared from tribal lands almost 60 years earlier. Doc's sidekick, Tomlinson, is behind Dunk's visit, and likewise behind the trio's eventual visit to Albright Key, home of phosphate magnate Leland Albright. Leland gives Doc a lesson in the relationship between phosphate mining and fossil hunting, while the others party with Leland's wife and twin daughters. A descent into the world of overzealous and unethical fossil collectors leads to a boat-napping, stolen artifacts, and increasingly dire threats from a mentally disturbed and physically disfigured biker. As usual, White does a fine job detailing Florida's unique history and geography, though this isn't one of Doc's most suspenseful adventures. Author tour.
Like other reviewers, I have read most, if not all of the other books in the Doc Ford series by Randy Wayne White. This is, to me, by far the worst one. There are too many (undeveloped) characters, too many obscure plot twists, too much of Doc Ford being a simp, way too many balls in the air at once.
The fact that one IS able to do something (write an incredibly complicated, convoluted, over-long novel) DOES NOT make it the right thing to do. Kinda like “Blues Traveler” the fact that one is able to blow an amazingly complex, over-wrought harmonica solo doesn’t make it any easier to listen to.
Highly disappointing compared to other Doc Ford novels! Kept waiting for the plot development to become more exciting/interesting. It never did.
Except for the elephants, none of the characters were engrossing or worth rooting for. Felt like the author "mailed it in" just to meet a publishing deadline.
I've been reading the Doc Ford books ever since they first came out, and this one ranks near the bottom of the list right alongside Dark Light. The plot is boring, and the minor characters are all incredibly shallow. Page after page in this book you'll find the main characters carrying on conversations about the minor characters. It was all I could do to make myself finish it.
Hopefully the next entry in the series.will bring back the mystery and intrigue that used to make these books worth reading.