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Randy Wayne White. Putnam, $25.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0-399-15849-0

In this disappointing thriller, bestseller White (Chasing Midnight and 18 other Doc Ford novels) introduces Hannah Smith, the fourth in a line of women of the same name, all denizens of Florida’s Gulf Coast. When a wealthy client of Hannah’s fishing-guide business asks her to find his missing 30-year-old niece, Olivia Seasons, Hannah dusts off the investigative skills she developed working with her late PI uncle. Aided by gay friend Nathan Pace, she probes alcoholic socialites and secret sex cruises on the hunt for Ricky Meeks, the sadistic grifter last seen with Olivia. Oddly girlish and unprofessional, effusively discussed in terms of her beauty, clothing, and bra size, Hannah never rings true as a strong woman, while the tepid mystery gives neither her savvy nor White’s storytelling much chance to shine. Cameo appearances by Doc Ford—Hannah’s new love interest—and his sidekick, Tomlinson, as well as an action sequence set in the Ten Thousand Islands, offer welcome reminders of the author’s true gifts. (Sept.)