Ever get a detective job because you piloted a fishing boat through a storm? Hannah Smith did, and it serves as a thrilling introduction to a new character from Randy Wayne White. Known for his twenty-two and growing “Doc Ford” thrillers, Randy Wayne White writes a story where Doc Ford and his friend Tomlinson play bit parts, and the action follows Hannah as she tries to find a millionaire’s daughter.
For a new character, White has written a deep backstory, making Hannah a descendant of a Florida folk hero, Hannah “Big Six” Smith and her sister, Sarah Smith Maclain. Daughters of a Georgia man known to be a giant, Sarah and Hannah were known for their 6 feet plus size and their immense strength. She played a minor role in White’s much earlier novel, Captiva. Linking the character of Hannah (the fourth) in Florida lore makes her instantly a local fixture in the Sarasota area inhabited by Doc Smith.
Lawrence Sessions is a well-to-do fishing client who gains great respect for Hannah for the way she guides him and his friends out of a storm during a fishing trip. Based on this and a connection to her uncle, he hires her to find his daughter, who is missing despite (or perhaps because of) having recently inheriting ninety million dollars. Despite receiving weekly phone calls, Sessions believes she is in danger.
Hannah traces the daughter and her drifter boyfriend’s whereabouts through the Florida haunts of the upper crust. Her level-headed approach to problems save her more than once, and her deep knowledge of the people and places of the area help her stay on the trail.
Engaging and disarmingly straightforward, the new character from Randy Wayne White is worth a read. This is the first of the series, of which there are three so far (Gone, Deceived, and Haunted). If you like this series, you may also like the Doc Ford series by White.