A couple installments ago Doc Ford seemed to be drifting. I was worried. Would I lose my favorite west coast of Florida , marina, fishcamp, biologist hero? Well here's the answer. The Doc is really back and in his role as a biologist is central to the plot. A reader never gets the feeling that something is being dragged in, that events are being delayed. We all know that temptation to skip to the end. Well-- it's not here in this novel. What a great collection of baddies: Human and biological. I'll leave the humans for later, but the biologicals are nasty memories from my undergraduate days in invertebrate zoology lab. "For heaven's sake, don't cut yourself on a broken slide!" The central beastie being "Dracunculus medenensis" :a nasty nematode aka - the fiery serpent. And a few actual serpents, cobras, mambas, etc., are thrown in as well. Then there are the ex-KGBers, replete with needles and needle shooting shotguns, and other events to build a romp: a great shark rescue, an aquatic version of a car chase, and for Tomlinson a catfish attack that makes moste males wish for an electric catfish instead.
The simplicity of the land development scheme- infest Florida, drive down the land prices and then cure the infestation and surf off to wealth on the tidal wave of profit, is the sort of device which allows the other events to happen. It even motivates them. Which is more than anyone has yet figured out about pirhanas, walking catfish and hissing roaches turned loose in the wilds of this country which probably prompts the scheme. If you like the Doc, read this one.