If you like Doc Ford, you'll love this one, he is the absolute center of the novel. It includes an attractive lawyer, a disaster and rescue at sea, Dinkin's Bay parties, Coast Guard lore, drunken bigshot actors, dog fights, drug/people smugglers, wicked Columbians, a large Albino, mysterious mid-easterners, an I.R.A. bomber on the run, headhunters, paid (by some government) assasins, midnight raids, a jungle adventure and count em, four different women in the sack with Doc. Travis had nothing on Doc. This novel is like those Miami area flea markets in converted malls: something for everyone and everything for someone.
There is less interaction with Tomlinson than usual; and although she makes a token visit, White's newly introduced character of Doc's "sister" (cousin) is not as extensive a part of the plot as might be expected.
Despite this White manages to keep his plot moving. Part of the skill, as he admits in an epilogue, is the reliance on factual situations. Anyone who has written effective narrative has relied on a string of events, mixed and reattached, but derived some way from reality.
In the novel's climax, as Doc confronts/assists a special forces operative who has become a force in the jungle, echoes of Kurtz and Marlow appear. But the situation is like that in the classic film "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance." Justification of extreme force to protect the innocent, even in the face of law, is and has been an important philosophical problem, closely akin to the place of evil in the world. White deliberately raises the point of EVIL. There is no doubt that such actions as Doc takes are requisite socially, but what are the personal consequences; what kind of man does such deeds?
Just in case this seems too dour, the concluding event will become a comic classic in the tales of surveillance.