No two persons ever read the same book. --Edmund Wilson

Monday, July 13, 2009

#52: Tampa Burn -- Randy Wayne White

I sometimes wonder if focussing on marine biology as a life's work isn't a way of justifying, or at least validating, a specific and unsentimental view of existence. From biology's elemental view, human beings ... are not only guided by the tenets of natural selection, we are mandated. In such a world, eliminating enemies or behavorial anomalies isn't a decision to be made. It is a necessary process.
I've participated in that process. I can do it again if required. (p.119)

Rather later in the series, and rather darker than the others I've read lately. Doc Ford's past comes barrelling into his present: his long-lost love Pilar reappears, appalled by the revelation (from an anonymous party) that Ford was once a political assassin, but nevertheless demanding his help in rescuing their son from Incendario, a kidnapper with a taste for torture.

A twisty plot with plenty of reversals. Ford doesn't behave very well to his friends or family -- but then few of those closest to him are wholly as he believes them to be. His friend Tomlinson's amnesia is clearing just enough to reveal tantalising hints of past events. His girlfriend Dewey is not at all impressed with Pilar's presence. Ford's son Lake is mature and capable for his years, possibly the most likeable character in the book though he's got a couple of surprises for Ford too.

Ford (or possibly the author) is somewhat sexist -- thinks women can't get satisfaction from a career or life's work the way a man can, but only from having children. Bah.

Good pacy read with some excellent scenic description and interesting insights into carnie life: but I'm less eager to read more than I have been after the last few Doc Ford novels. Luckily there are plenty left.

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