Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Looking for better days

Southern California is probably the most common locale for mysteries. One reason is the stories of corruption that have existed since the Gold Rush era. Contrast this with the sunny locale and you have a nice background for dark acts in the shadows. Florida is the same way. A happy sunny place with nastiness under the covers. One recent writer taking advantage of this is Randy Wayne White. I just finished his Captiva which pits commercial fisherman vs. sports fisherman with deadly results. The hero, a marine biologist with a dark past, is caught in the middle. So why is this one different?

For one, the author paints an interesting portrait of old Florida trying to hang on in the face of New Florida. He doesn't just pine for the old ways, but also talks about compromises that might keep things working. His characters are also interesting. The main character lives on a marina so you get some bizarre types, like is sidekick. Most mystery series side kick are the main character's dark sides, who for some reason, are able to commit gross acts of violence. White takes the opposite tack, with the sidekick being a pacifist New Age hippie trying to keep everyone happy. This sets a really different tone. This one is fun.

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