cover image The Sharks of Lake Nicaragua: True Tales of Adventure, Travel, and Fishing

The Sharks of Lake Nicaragua: True Tales of Adventure, Travel, and Fishing

Randy Wayne White. Lyons Press, $22.95 (236pp) ISBN 978-1-55821-904-5

For exciting adventures in feral pig-hunting, salt-water fly-fishing or crocodile poaching, it's hard to imagine a better guide than White. In these stories, originally published in different forms in Outside magazine, White (Batfishing in the Rainforest) proves his mettle as an incisive humorist and a first-rate travel journalist. A ""desire not to be whacked"" leads him to an antiterrorist driving school, where, with hilarious effect, he learns the ins and outs of avoiding bullets, rockets and bombs while operating a motor vehicle. In fighter-pilot training, he overcomes ""sympathetic ocular/auditory response"" (""If bounced around in an airplane, my eyes begin to water, so it appears as if I am weeping while I upchuck"") and smokes his opponent with imaginary 20mm. cannons. White has a knack for the unexpected adventure. An innocent search for Pepto-Bismol in Panama City ends in a crocodile-hunting expedition. But it isn't until the book's final (and title) piece that White showcases the full range of his abilities as a writer. During his quixotic search for freshwater sharks, he becomes as immersed in the culture of the country as a 220-lb. American driving a Toyota Land Cruiser can be. He chases a pig into a sacred vestry, disrupting a wedding ceremony, and later gives shining new baseballs to children whose love of the game rivals his own. The portrait of Nicaragua and its people that emerges is a refreshingly unpoliticized history, skillfully interwoven with personal experience. (July)