cover image Mangrove Lightning

Mangrove Lightning

Randy Wayne White. Putnam, $27 (384p) ISBN 978-0-399-57668-3

At issue in bestseller White’s entertaining, if less than compelling, 24th novel featuring marine biologist and sometime government agent Marion “Doc” Ford (after 2016’s Deep Blue) is the fate of Florida Everglades property owned by retired fishing guide Tootsie Barlow. Barlow’s property is near Marco Island, which during Prohibition was the site of a war between bootleggers, such illegal activities as human smuggling (mostly Chinese), and the 1925 disappearance of Deputy J.H. Cox, who may have murdered a woman a few years earlier, along with his whole family. Barlow’s ancestors were involved in the bootlegging battle, and Doc’s sometime lover, Hannah Smith, is a descendant of the murder victim. Now Barlow’s few remaining relatives are meeting with fatal accidents, and Doc and his “boat bum hipster pal,” Tomlinson, head to Marco Island to investigate. There they confront a number of human monsters controlled by a most unlikely mastermind, who takes an interest in Hannah that’s something of a stretch in this fragmented adventure. [em]Author tour. Agent: Esther Newberg, ICM. (Mar.) [/em]