Short Takes

Short Takes: Book reviews, in brief

March 16, 2013 


Night Moves

Randy Wayne White, Putnam, 368 pages

Randy Wayne White takes the 1945 disappearance of Flight 19, which sparked rumors of the Bermuda Triangle, and turns it into a tailor-made story for his own icon, “Doc” Ford. Although he’s a reluctant sleuth at first, Ford finds that Flight 19 is the kind of mystery that allows him to use all aspects of his background as a marine biologist, a committed ecologist and his “shadow” role as a government agent. Drawing on his usual mix of science, ecology and Florida lore, White reels in an exciting story in “Night Moves,” despite its occasional stumbles in the middle.

On Dec. 5, 1945, five Navy torpedo bombers disappeared on a training flight after taking off in Fort Lauderdale. All 14 airmen were lost; 13 investigators searching for the missing bombers died when their flying boat exploded in mid-air. The disappearance remains unsolved. In “Night Moves,” Ford’s friend, seaplane pilot Dan Futch, believes the flight wasn’t lost over the Atlantic, but in the Gulf of Mexico. Ford and his best friend Tomlinson go with Dan on their own search. But soon after taking off, Dan is forced to land on an island. The pilot is convinced that someone tried to sabotage his plane, but who is the target? Dan’s outspoken views have riled some wealthy fishermen. Tomlinson’s recreational use of marijuana has infuriated a couple of dealers while his sexual escapades have raised the ire of a husband or two. And Ford wonders which government operatives want revenge.

“Night Moves” illustrates why, after 20 novels, Ford’s double life and White’s attention to the Florida scenery continue to intrigue readers.

Sun Sentinel

Heart of Ice

P.J. Parrish, Gallery Book, 432 pages

The 10th novel in P.J. Parrish’s Louis Kincaid series, “Heart of Ice” soars as a story about a man reclaiming his life and how so much of what we care about can be lost by carelessness, misplaced priorities and obsession.

Louis has reached a point in life where he needs to make a change. The young private detective wants to return to law enforcement. But he wants a real bond with Lily, the 10-year-old daughter he only recently found out about. He also needs to know where he stands with Joe Frye, his girlfriend with whom he’s been having a long-distance relationship.

Louis has brought Lily for a three-day trip to Michigan’s picturesque Mackinac Island just before the remote tourist area shuts down for the winter. After their trip, Louis will travel to nearby Echo Bay where Joe is the sheriff. But the vacation has barely begun when Lily falls on top of a skeleton in the basement of an abandoned hunting lodge.

While he is sure this is a decades-old homicide, Louis decides not to get involved, wanting to concentrate on his daughter. But Lily urges him to help, and Louis sees this as a way to win his child’s respect. The case doesn’t move smoothly for Louis, who is dealing with a family forever stymied by the young woman’s disappearance, an inexperienced local police chief and an arrogant state investigator who once worked with Joe.

“Heart of Ice” marks the most welcomed return of Louis Kincaid after a two-year hiatus.

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