London: Doc Ford is, by all appearances, a marine biologist who conducts research on sea creatures in his waterfront lab on Florida`s idyllic Sanibel Island. But as fans of Randy Wayne White`s fine mystery series know, Doc Ford is also a former black ops assassin, and in each book, he`s called upon to make use of his old skills to help someone in trouble.
He has been rescuing the innocent and dispatching the guilty in 17 previous novels, and doing it with such flair that he might be the last character you`d expect to get upstaged. But that`s just what happens the moment 13-year-old Tula appears on the scene in ‘Night Vision,’ the latest Doc Ford thriller.
Tula, who has journeyed alone from the mountains of Guatemala to Florida`s Gulf Coast in search of her missing mother and brother, is no ordinary child. She is at once courageous and deeply religious. God speaks to her daily through the voice of her patron saint, Joan of Arc. Fellow illegal immigrants who get to know Tula after she arrives in Florida quickly conclude that she is truly blessed — perhaps even a saint herself.
When Tula sees Harris Squires, the steroid-crazed manager of a Florida trailer park, dump a body in a lake, she becomes entangled in a world of illegal-drug cookers, gangbangers and snuff-film producers — none of whom are as terrifying as Harris` grotesque wife, Frankie, a former bodybuilding champ who gets sexual gratification from causing people pain.
Ford, with a modicum of assistance from his mystical, beer-guzzling buddy Tomlinson, rides to the rescue — although Tula proves nearly up to the task of saving herself.
Along the way, this well-written, suspenseful tale also demonstrates Ford`s willingness to kill bad guys without remorse, and it introduces us to some irresistible new characters. They include Ford`s new girlfriend, a charming forensic pathologist named Emily Marston, and Fifi, a not-so-charming 12-foot alligator with human remains in her stomach.