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Tampa Burn [Hardcover]

Randy White
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 36.00 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Book Description

May 24 2004 Doc Ford Novels

"Randy Wayne White raises the bar of the action thriller."—The Miami Herald

In all his life, Marion "Doc" Ford has been passionately, irresponsibly in love with only one woman. Her name was Pilar, and she was married to a thuggish politico named Balserio in a country where Ford was working undercover.

When Ford had to run, it was with a bounty on his head and, unknown to him then, a legacy: Pilar was pregnant. Now, many years later, out of power and consumed with the desire for revenge, Balserio has kidnapped the boy and taken him to his new home base in Florida. Ford hoped he'd left his violent past behind him long ago, but he knows he has no choice. The man has his son...

Filled with remarkable prose, rich atmosphere, knife-edge tension, and some of the best suspense characters anywhere in fiction, Tampa Burn is a brilliant work from a writer whose time has come.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

White churns out another title in the Doc Ford series, this one alternating between compelling action sequences and pointless digressions. At the start of the novel, Marion Ford has settled into the life of a gentleman marine biologist on Florida's Gulf coast, leaving behind his past as an assassin and spy. All this is upended when a pyromaniacal carnival freak kidnaps Ford's son, Lake. The boy's mother, Central American beauty Pilar, tries to overcome their estrangement and turns to Ford for help in rescuing the boy. Seduced by his ex-lover just long enough to be caught in a compromising situation by his current girlfriend, Dewey, Ford is distracted by the sight of Dewey's car as she storms away: "She'd sold her 'Vette and bought a new two-seater Lexus. I can never remember the model. The roadster showed impressive stability as she spun it around in the parking lot." Soon after, Ford finds himself in real trouble-and spouts more extraneous commentary. On the way to saving his son, he reflects on the fauna of Florida and Central America, skin transplants, electroshock therapy, port security and the winter residence of choice for circus people. These might have made great ingredients for another whimsical Carl Hiaasen/Elmore Leonardesque madcap novel, but White's meandering prose isn't tight enough to tie them into a convincing whole.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Now in its eleventh episode, White's Doc Ford series, starring Sanibel Island marine biologist and veteran special-ops agent Doc Ford, can always be counted on for an entertaining mix of character interplay and straight-ahead action adventure. This time the dial shifts a bit toward the character side of the scale, as Ford revisits various people and issues from his not-quite-past life as a covert operative. The catalyst for all this stock-taking is the kidnapping of the son Ford only recently learned he had and the resurfacing of Pilar, the boy's mother and the great love of Ford's life. The kidnapping plot, in which Ford, with the help of hippie pal Tomlinson, must rescue his son from a serious psycho who likes to burn people, keeps the suspense churning, but the real focus here--for longtime series followers, at least--is on what this latest crisis means to Ford's life with the people he cares about: his son, girlfriend Dewey, the troubled Pilar, and especially Tomlinson, who has his own dark past. As always in White's work, the various bodies of water that surround and intersect Florida take on the multidimensional qualities of fully developed characters, adding not only atmosphere but also context to Ford's ongoing struggle to achieve in his human relationships the sense of equilibrium he has found in the natural world. He's not there yet, but for the reader at least, that's good news: this story is a long way from over. Bill Ott
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
THE morning that Pilar Santana Fuentes arrived at Dinkin's Bay and told me that our son had been kidnapped, I was in waist-deep water, a couple hundred yards down the mangrove shore from my rickety stilt house, wrestling with a sixty-pound tarpon. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
I finished the first book I've read of Randy Wayne White, Tampa Burn. A pleasant surprise, and I'm sure I'll be reading more of his stuff down the road.
Doc Ford is a marine biologist with a murky past as a government agent involved in some killings in foreign locales. He's living a quiet life around Tampa until he gets a call from Pilar Fuentes, the mother of his child and former wife of a corrupt Central American general who wants him dead. Their son has been kidnapped, and Pilar wants Ford's help. The kidnapper is a killer who is called Incindiaro, as he's fascinated by fire deaths and in fact is severly burned over most of his body. The kidnapper appears to want the kid's skin for a face transplant, and Ford isn't about to let that happen. To complicate everything, Pilar now wants nothing to do with Ford romantically, Ford's new love overhears his confession of love for Pilar and dumps him, and his sidekick Tomlinson may not be who Ford thinks he is...
Nice plot and pace, with some left-field (but reasonable) plot turns as the story comes down to the final pages. There was definitely the potential for an "everyone *doesn't* live happily ever after" ending, but it resolves without being overly sappy or abrupt. If I had read other books in the Doc Ford series first, I'd probably give this a top rating. Starting here, there's some character development that's left out (and I assume is covered in earlier books). Still, a very good read and well worth the time.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Masterful subtleties July 4 2004
This is the eleventh novel in a series that is now being taught in more than a few college literatures classes because each book is written on fascinating, complex levels. In TAMPA BURN, you get the usual rocket-ride of a plot that makes all of Mr. White's books a page turner. The pragmatic ("I have no interest in spirituality for the same reason I don't believe in astrology or UFOs.") Dr. Ford's son is kidnapped by a truly hideous man, and Ford pursues. A wonderful beach-book-thriller then unfolds. But the increasing number of people who read this series as literature - sometimes very good literature - look for subtle interactions between characters, and multi-layered plot fabric. Along with important environmental debates, there are often a religious sub themes. In TAMPA, a villain named Praxcedes Lourdes enjoys burning men alive. In EVERGLADES, the extraordinary climactic scene takes place at a volcano named Messiah (actually exists, White tell us in the preface.) There are great themes here, and these are superb books. Maybe even great, though time will judge.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Been in the sun too long July 4 2004
Doc Ford is usually interesting and fun to follow. This time he seems to have left his brain at home. Great bad guy, but no conclusion. Personal relationship revisions, past history revised, juvenile emotions in adults, missing the obvious- what's happening here? A narrative that is disjointed and unfocused. A son kidnapped, but Ford goes off on all kinds of secondary tangents. A frustrating, disappointing read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Once Again June 23 2004
RWW keeps the bar set high. Doc is getting more sensitive with age but he appears to be growing in a good direction. RWW has written about these character so much that they are truly coming to life. I think that the direction the characters are taking seem natural and not forced. I feel the series is coming to a close becuase I think that Doc is about ready to settle down:( However I think this is another exapmle of RWW timeless literature. I think that this is a book that my children will read years from now and still feel the great sense of adventure that RWW incorporates in all of his work.
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4.0 out of 5 stars the power of blood kinship June 14 2004
In Randy Wayne White's latest installment in the Doc Ford series, Doc's son is kidnapped by a psychopathic pyromaniac - Ford must rescue his son before harm is done. As the story progresses, we learn a little more about the past of White's characters - Ford, Tomlinson, and Pilar, Ford's ex-lover and the mother of his son. Throughout the book the issue of "family" is visited and revisited, with all its various meanings and implications. A great theme to tie the sub-plots together, and a brilliant way of providing more depth and detail to the characters. White's descriptions of the coast of southwest Florida give the reader a "you are there" feel to it, while keeping the story moving at a fast pace.
The only issue I had with an otherwise fantastic book was the way in which points would be made but the reader was given resolution only after hints and allusions. While it was effective in keeping me riveted to the story, it was a bit frustrating as the issues were not directly related to the main plot line.
Nonetheless, a really enjoyable read, and the best Ford book since Ten Thousand Islands. Randy Wayne White is certainly evolving into a first-rate writer, as _Tampa Burn_ demonstrates. Highly recommended.
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