Gone by Randy Wayne White
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Book Info: Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Reading Level: Adult
Recommended for: Fans of thriller/mystery/suspense novels with a truly strong woman, not just a "spunky", stubborn, and usually actually fairly silly woman.
Trigger Warnings: (implied) rape, bully, sexual predator
My Thoughts: I’ve been trying to collect the Doc Ford books for awhile, but as luck would have it, this new book in his new Hannah Smith series is the one I’ve had the chance to read first. Now I’m more determined than ever to read the Doc Ford novels (once I actually have them), because this author is a real hoot. He has a comedic gift that started me giggling about 6 pages in and just kept me going. For instance:
Speaking of something her mother, Loretta (who is brain damaged due to a stroke, and therefore likely to say and do whatever strikes her fancy), did early on in the book, Hannah says, “Some of the words she wrote were so foul, they had never even passed my lips—not louder than a whisper, anyway—let alone would I use Day-Glo orange to write them in cursive, exclamation points dotted, t’s [sic] neatly crossed, for all the world to see.”
“Hippie food, I guessed, was anything that didn’t produce grease for gravy or a good old-fashioned heart attack.”
Hannah’s voice is wry, self-deprecating without being self-denying or self-hating, and I love the way she views the world around her, as well as her zany family. I really had no idea what to expect, since this is the first book by this author I've read, so this was a really joyous discovery.
The next paragraph is about some of the characters, some of which I cannot discuss without spoilers, so will only be posted in its entirety on sites like Goodreads where I can place them under a spoiler tag. Other sites will have an attenuated version, which I have tried to set up so that it will still make sense, just without the spoilerish bits.
The villain of the piece
Hannah is a truly strong woman, strong within and without, and I really enjoyed learning about her, "meeting" her, and reading this really excellent story. All this has made me that much more excited about finding the rest of the Doc Ford books and reading them, because Randy Wayne White is a very good writer. Technically speaking, the book I read is not perfect, because it is an ARC, but I imagine the final copy will have the last of the typos removed. R.W.W. does an excellent job of “showing not telling.” In the scenes where, for example, Hannah is scared, I felt tense too.
If you enjoy reading books with female protagonists, but are becoming irritated with the too-stupid-to-live silliness that is being presented as “spunky” but just comes off as stupidly stubborn, then you really will find this book a breath of fresh air. Highest recommendation from me.
Disclosure: I received an ARC via the Amazon Vine program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Back Cover Copy: Hannah Smith: a tall, strong, formidable Florida woman, the descendant of generations of strong Florida women. She makes her living as a fishing guide, but her friends, neighbors, and clients also know her as an uncommonly resourceful woman with a strong sense of justice, and they have taken to coming to her with their problems.
Her methods can be unorthodox, though, and those on the receiving end of them often wind up unhappy, sometimes forcibly so. And when a girl goes missing, and Hannah is asked to find her, that is exactly what happens.
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