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Sanibel Flats (Doc Ford, #1)
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Sanibel Flats (Doc Ford Mystery #1)

3.92  ·  Rating Details ·  4,290 Ratings  ·  357 Reviews
Its cool gulf breezes lured him from a life of danger. Its dark undercurrents threatened to destroy him.

After ten years of living life on the edge, it was hard for Doc Ford to get that addiction to danger out of his system. But spending each day watching the sun melt into Dinkins Bay and the moon rise over the mangrove trees, cooking dinner for his beautiful neighbor, and
Mass Market Paperback, 307 pages
Published April 15th 1991 by St. Martin's Paperbacks (first published 1990)
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Mar 09, 2013 Kathy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm embarrassed as a Parrot Head, Florida Keys lover and as someone who's read all the Travis McGee novels that it's taken me this long to start reading Randy Wayne White.

What the heck was I waiting for?

Doc Ford is a retired spook who has moved back home to Sanibel Island, Florida to start a business supplying schools with preserved sea creatures for dissection. Sounds like a decent life and Doc is enjoying until he gets a call from an old high school buddy who's son has been kidnapped by some b
Apr 01, 2009 Colleen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Howard White
Feb 11, 2011 Howard White rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
The first of the Doc Ford mystery novels, but not necessarily the best of the, roughly, 15 Ford titles currently in print. Great summer reading (or for that matter, fall, winter, and spring, too). the novels center on the eponymous Doc Ford, marine biologist living on Dinkin's Bay (a thinly disguised Tarpon Bay) on Sanibel Island, Florida. Ford, a retired CIA operative, and a group of supporting characters including, most notably, his friend Tomlinson, spiritualist/recreational drug user ala Car ...more
Richard Katz
Jul 28, 2011 Richard Katz rated it it was amazing
I am really enthusisatic about Sanibel Flats and am aleady well into my second Doc Ford adventure as I write this review. Why did no one tell me of Randy Wayne White before? A real combination of the great atmospheric writing of James Lee Burke, the high international adventure of Clive Cussler, and the humor of Carl Hiassen. What a combo! Doc White and his side kick Tomlinson are two of the most endearing fictional characters. Tomlinson, of course, evokes Hiassen's Skink, who is in a class by h ...more
Jan 01, 2010 Lee rated it really liked it
Shelves: doc-ford
The first in White's, long running "Doc Ford" series. Here is another interesting and unique character. Looking like a beach bum, helpful neighbor, with a good ear for listening... then you find out later in the book, he's not what he seemed in the beginning. Quite a bit of history/science in some fish species, but didn't overwhelm me. I'm hoping his friend and neighbor, Tomlinson, who's an 'ol stoner type dude, that just happened to study at Harvard....stays in the picture. Fun, mystery/thrille ...more
Mara Purl
Mar 08, 2011 Mara Purl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Discovered Randy Wayne White (if you say his name fast, you sound like Mr. McGoo) on a recent trip to Florida. His descriptors are so original that he truly owns his location and makes it vibrate into reality. Excellent protagonist, perfectly irritating antagonist, scary plot. A lot of biological, scientific detail, too much for some, but again, he owns his subject. I listened to the excellent audio version and am signing up for the next in his series.
Kathryn Bain
This is the second Randy Wayne White book I've read. Again, I feel he overdoes the history and biology lessons. Some people might like that, I don't.

It took until they got to the village before I really got interested in the book. I wanted to know if they got the kid out alive. That's why I gave it a 3 rating.

However, the women only showed up in this book to tell Doc Ford how attractive he was and to have sex with him. They were all very one dimentional. It seemed to be that way with the first
Cathy DuPont
Oct 12, 2011 Cathy DuPont rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Happened to pick this up at used book store and it's the best $2 I've ever spent. Loved, just loved the book. When I find a writer I love, I tend to read everything they've written and this happened with RWW. Read them all (Doc Ford) and follow him like a groupie. Have also read his six books under Striker and enjoyed them as well, although they're not as 'polished' as the Doc Ford series. Doc Ford and Tomlinson are quite a pair and balance each other in a good, unique and fun way. White's descr ...more
Elissajeanne boise
doc ford is my ideal man. i would want to be his woman did i not possess the certainty that i would end up dead or estranged. he's badder than bourne, sexier than dirk pitt, and as smart as pendergast. the dynamic between he and tomlinson grows richer and more bizarre with every book. these are men everyone would benefit from meeting. i know they're make believe but somewhere there exists persons after who these characters were modeled and i'd like to know them in a biblical sense. this series m ...more
Robert Cohen
So we went to Sanibel Island and had dinner at Doc Ford’s Rum Bar and Grille. The first thing that catches the eye upon entering is a tall rotating book rack with every novel by Randy Wayne White, who also happens to own the restaurant. I had never heard of Randy Wayne White, but the books said “New York Times Bestseller” on them, so shame on me, right?

The good news is the restaurant is outstanding. I give it 5 stars.

The bad news? Sanibel Flats is long on plodding plot, long on stilted and flat
Julia DeBarrioz
Nov 30, 2014 Julia DeBarrioz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: latino, maya, mystery, florida
I really enjoyed this book, it was pretty much a dream line-up of plot elements: a secret agent (even if retired), south florida, central america, mayan history, revolutionaries, marine biology, and even a little painting.

I found it to be well written, and the twist at the end surprised me, which these days doesn't happen often. Doc Ford is a likeable character, super smart, funny, interesting, and the descriptions of Sanibel and sea life are wonderful. A++!

*On a side note, which has nothing to
Feb 19, 2015 Ed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
#1 in the Doc Ford series.

Doc Ford quits government service in Central American Masagua and retires to the life of a marine biologist on Sanibel Island, FL. His high school friend Rafe Hollins draws him back into a life of intrigue when he tells Doc that his 8 year old son has been kidnapped by Masaguan guerillas. After Rafe is found hung, Doc and Tomlinson travel to Masagua.
Aug 28, 2012 Keith rated it really liked it
This was a fun read. In addition to the adventures with the unscrupulous business men and central American revolutionary gorillas, I enjoyed the marine biology references, description of the tropical jungles, and life on the fringes on Florida.
I am looking forward to reading other Doc Ford stories by Randy Wayne White.
Brendy Bou
Jan 28, 2014 Brendy Bou rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoy the character development in these books. The setting is where I will perhaps spend much of my retirement days, and I'd love to meet up with a "Doc Ford" in the area! ;-) He is intelligent, loves great music, and extremely intelligent balanced with a kind heart.
I may read all of Randy Wayne White books in the future. Fun and exciting.
Carolyn (in SC) C234D
The first in the Doc Ford series, probably not the first that I read. Enjoy the series very much--the settings, the characters, the stories. Wow, I read this over 18 years ago! Time to find another one.
Wendy Post
Jun 12, 2017 Wendy Post rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017-reads
Recommended by a couple of people, this book did not disappoint. I will definitely read another.
Dennis D.
I’ve had this book, or this series rather, on my list of things to read for so long, I don’t even remember who recommended it to me. It’s been on my list since before I even kept an actual list. My wife used to tease me about my Spreadsheet of Suggested Reading (no, it wasn’t really called that. I’m not that OCD), back in the days before GoodReads.

I was in the mood for a mystery/thriller, and wanted to check out something new. This book is the first in a series featuring author Randy Wayne Whit
Maggie K
Feb 15, 2017 Maggie K rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I thoroughly enjoyed this.

Doc Ford is an ex some kind of spook who retires to southern Florida to do some collecting for biological supplies. He is meeting his neighbors, and taking it easy, with no intentions of anything when an old friend tries to get him involved in finding his kidnapped son. When this same friend is murdered, and his death covered up, Doc grudgingly starts looking into things, only to have his past catch up with him big-time.

A complex mystery, a reluctant hero, and some surp
Sep 27, 2009 Phair rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
I happened across Doc Ford around the time Dick Francis announced his retirement from writing (c2000). Randy Wayne White seemed to have the "Dick Francis feel" to his books- the decent, stoically suffering hero and the way of presenting interesting information about various topics within a cracking good story. Can't now recall the first one I read but I immediately went back to #1 and caught up fast!

In 2005 I suggested Sanibel for a f2f mystery discussion group. It held up well as a re-read fo
Jack Tapley
While this book can be dense at times, Randy Wayne White’s writing style is excellent. With very interesting biological knowledge and even some history, it is evident that the book was well-researched. The characterization is very in depth, and he describes Doc Ford in so much detail, while still leaving enough mystery surrounding Ford. All the characters are very unique and well characterized. The plot moved slow at the beginning of the book, but it ended up being very exciting. The reader can ...more
Feb 09, 2017 Louis rated it really liked it
Randy Wayne White was one of the mystery/thriller writers I've been meaning to check out for some time now. I'm glad I finally picked up one of his books. Sanibel Flats introduced his series character Marion "Doc" Ford, a zoologist/retired spy living in the Florida Keys. While there are quirky supporting characters here (especially the wonderful sidekick Tomlinson), White takes it easy on the superficial "everyone in Florida is funny and crazy" crutch so many other Sunshine State novelists lean ...more
Jim A
Oct 07, 2013 Jim A rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It’s been quite a few years since I originally read this novel. I had become bored with the Doc Ford of the most recent novels and I decided to go back to White’s first Doc Ford novel to see if what drew me to the series in the first place was still valid. The answer was a resounding YES. An action thriller that portrays the protagonist as an everyday, workaday, person with special skills.

I miss White intertwining Ford’s occupation as a marine biologist with his occasional forays into adventure
Jul 15, 2016 Ellyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
John Steinbeck and John D. MacDonald are my two favorite writers, so Goodreads friend David Ward recommended Randy Wayne White for similar style and story location to MacDonald's Travis McGee series. I was not disappointed! Sanibel Flats is the first in the Doc Ford series by White and I'm definitely looking forward to more.

I loved the MacDonald-esque lamentations about over-development and corruption in South Florida, and I loved his descriptions of natural beauty. That he's a marine biologist
Nov 26, 2011 Robert rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
This is a real fun novel with a lot to offer. What starts off as somewhat of a mystery novel soon turns into an action/thriller type of novel. There are some great characters in this one also. Doc Ford the main character is introduced to the reader and develops as the novel progresses into quite a bit more than the reader is shown at the beginning. There is one character, Tomlinson, that is Ford's neighbor, that I hope to see more of in the other novels in the series. Tomlinson is a stoner from ...more
Mar 11, 2011 C rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned, audiobooks
The story itself might be ok - and better in text. The audiobook is killin me. The characters all sound like retirees.

And I have to say this: "iridescent pubic hair"? Really? Dear lord.

Overall, this is not going where I anticipated it would (in so many ways). I thought, from the way the book started out, we were going to be off on some South American caper. But no. I guess I should have read a summary first!

I gave up on it. The text version is probably much better ...the narrator just destroys w
Susan Coster
First of all, a big shout out to Sherri for the book! This was my first Randy Wayne White novel. I have been visiting Sanibel since the 1970's, so I naturally thought there would be more SANIBEL in the book, thus the title. However, most of the action takes place in Central America. Doc Ford is the main character, a marine biologist who does a bit of reconnaissance work on the side or as necessary, but his roots always take him back to his Sanibel home, where he lives the simple life......Ahhhhh ...more
One of the better books of this series. Sanibel Flats has a depth that shows the time the author puts into the work that sadly visibly slips in some of the later titles of the Doc Ford series.
This, Shark River, Tampa Burn, the Man Who Sold Florida, all of the early stuff are great, and really show that White knows his subject and area.
Randy Wayne White had been a fishing guide along the Florida west coast and it shows!
Sep 15, 2012 Kerri rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This series was highly recommended to me by a friend (male). I was really excited to read it because it is about Sanibel Island, a place near and dear to my heart.

I did like that it talked about the real restaurants/roads/landmarks from the island in the book. And the story line was ok, but this author went way into detail about fishing and science and 'guy stuff' that made it really boring to me. I never really got into it and needless to say never read any more of the series.
Sep 24, 2015 Jay rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this is the first book from Randy Wayne White and the first one I have read. it was better than I expected. I liked the writing style and I enjoyed all the plot twists. I am look on forward to reading more in the series.
love all his books!
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aka Carl Ramm, Randy Striker

Randy Wayne White (born 1950) is an American writer of crime fiction and non-fiction adventure tales. He has written best-selling novels and has received awards for his fiction and a television documentary. He is best known for his series of crime novels featuring the retired NSA agent Doc Ford, a marine biologist living on the Gulf Coast of southern Florida. White has
More about Randy Wayne White...

Other Books in the Series

Doc Ford Mystery (1 - 10 of 24 books)
  • The Heat Islands (Doc Ford, #2)
  • The Man Who Invented Florida (Doc Ford Mystery, #3)
  • Captiva (Doc Ford Mystery, #4)
  • North of Havana (Doc Ford Mystery, #5)
  • The Mangrove Coast (Doc Ford Mystery, #6)
  • Ten Thousand Islands
  • Shark River
  • Twelve Mile Limit (Doc Ford, #9)
  • Everglades (Doc Ford Mystery, #10)
  • Tampa Burn (Doc Ford Mystery, #11)

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