Book Review: 'Deceived' – Randy Wayne White returns to Marco Island for signing

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David Albers/Staff 
 Author Randy Wayne White

Photo by DAVID ALBERS, Naples Daily News

David Albers/Staff Author Randy Wayne White

Nearly 26 years ago, New York Times bestselling author Randy Wayne White kicked off his Doc Ford series with the publication of Sanibel Flats, which was chosen by the American Independent Mystery Booksellers Association as one of the Hundred Favorite Mysteries of the 20th Century.

About his writing career, White says, “When my marina closed in 1987, I wasn’t qualified to do anything, so I wrote Sanibel Flats. I had two young sons, a lot of bills, so failure wasn’t an option. It is a rare day when I do not reflect on my good luck to have succeeded in a very tough profession.”

As Doc Ford fans would agree, he has done more than simply succeed. Starring Marion “Doc” Ford (a marine biologist and former government agent) and his trusty best pal Tomlinson (free spirit, bit of a mystic, and full-on good guy, despite his many flaws), these books have become a hit in the States and around the world.

Last year White started a new series with “Gone,” featuring a tall, strong, formidable Florida woman, Hannah Smith, who works as a fishing guide when she’s not tending to her late uncle’s business, a private investigation agency that doesn’t stay busy. I absolutely adored Hannah in “Gone” she has a great sense of humor and compassion and, of course, a bit of a thing for Doc Ford who is also featured in the book. The second of the series, entitled “Deceived” will be released on Sept. 3.

In “Deceived,” a 20-year-old unsolved murder from Florida’s pothauling days gets Hannah Smith’s attention, but so does a more immediate problem. A private museum devoted solely to the state’s earliest settlers and pioneers has been announced, and many of Hannah’s friends and neighbors in Sulfur Wells are being pressured to make contributions.

The problem is, the whole thing is a scam, and when Hannah sets out to uncover whoever’s behind it, she discovers that things are even worse than she thought. The museum scam is a front for a real estate power play, her entire village is in danger of being wiped out and the forces behind it have no intention of letting anything, or anyone, stand in their way.

A new character, Birdy, is introduced in this book and is a welcome addition as Hannah needed a female friend and Birdy is a great foil to her deliberateness and straitlaced nature. I’m hoping that Birdy will manage to loosen Hannah up a bit. As for Hannah’s relationship with Doc Ford, it looks like some rough seas ahead, but only Randy Wayne White knows for sure.

Come to the author talk and signing for Randy Wayne White at Sunshine Booksellers, 3 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 3. He’ll be signing copies of his new book, “Deceived,” and answering any questions you might have about Hannah, Doc, Tomlinson or Birdy. The event is free and seating will be reserved for all who pre-order a book.

If you go

What: Randy Wayne White Book Signing

When: 3 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 3

Where: Sunshine Booksellers South Store, 677 S. Collier Blvd., Marco Island

For more information: Call (239) 393-0353

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