Novels set in Florida

Quotes from Florida Novels

Janie dozed off to sleep but she woke up in time to see the sun sending up spies ahead of him to mark out the road through the dark. He peeped up over the door sill of the world and made a little foolishness with red. But pretty soon, he laid all that aside and went about his business dressed all in white. But it was always going to be dark to Janie if Tea Cake didn't soon come back.  By Zora Neale Hurston in Their Eyes Were Watching God

Featured novel set in Florida

Sanibel Flats by Randy Wayne White

Randy Wayne White's Sanibel Flats Doc Ford novel

In Sanibel Flats, the first of Randy Wayne White’s  Doc Ford series novels, ex-CIA agent Marion “Doc” Ford is enjoying his new life as a marine biologist on the Dinkins Bay Marina, when high school friend Rafe Hollins calls him for help when his son is kidnapped.

When Ford agrees to meet up with Hollins , he finds his friend hanging from a tree on a nearby Island, but also finds emeralds and pre-Columbian artifacts. Ford knows that he must rescue Hollins’ kidnapped son and asks his sailboat-dwelling neighbor Tomlinson to come along on the adventure that leads them to South America.

Along the way, Ford encounters a corrupt island development company, unscrupulous art dealers, Guerrilla fighters and even a Mayan goddess.

Will he rescue the boy and return to his quiet life in Florida?

Check out more Florida Fiction by Randy Wayne White.

Featured Florida Author

Edna Buchanan

Edna Buchanan is often referred to as the “Queen of Crime.” The title is fitting. During her 18-year tenure as the crime reporter for the Miami Herald, Buchanan wrote about more than 5,000 violent deaths. In 1986, she won a Pulitzer Prize for her police beat reporting and later won the George Polk Award for Career Achievement in Journalism. 

She was born in New Jersey in 1939 and took a creative writing course at Montclair State College, where she was encouraged to become a writer. 

When Buchanan and her mother took a vacation to Miami Beach, she fell in love with the Sunshine State.

Read more…

Recent Florida Book Reviews:

The Deep Blue Good-By births the Florida Man genre

June 18, 2021

Reading “The Deep Blue Good-By” it doesn’t seem like it was published in 1964. Sure, some of the language is dated, and our protagonist makes long distance calls without a cellphone, but the rest of the story could have taken place in the present.

Reading this novel, I couldn’t help but think I was witnessing the birth of a genre that Hiaasen, Dorsey, and Florida Man headlines, have made mainstream. Travis McGee is a boat bum, drinks a lot, has a lot of sex, and in a scene that could easily have been in one of the above-mentioned authors, kidnaps and nearly tortures a naked man in a hotel shower.

The one thing I struggled with was the clear distinction between, the innocent young woman in trouble (who is off limits sexually), and the young women not so innocent, maybe still in trouble and definitely not, not off limits sexually. While some of McGee’s morals might be questionable, his knight-in-shining-armor traits are quite commendable.

The “Deep Blue Good-By” is smartly written, with well developed storyline and characters. It has all the elements of a good action mystery and I can’t wait to experience more of Travis McGee.


Classic Hiaasen, with an entertaining Monkey to boot!

June 15, 2021

Bad Monkey is a Carl Hiaasen novel, so its no surprise that some of the characters include a sex-obsessed Voodoo Queen, an ex-teacher wanted for molesting her student, the student (who is re-united with the teacher years later and quite enjoying it), a kinky coroner, a businessman who made millions defrauding medicare turned crooked developer, a Key West Detective suspended from the force, for sodomizing his girlfriend’s (the aforementioned teacher) husband with a Dust-Buster, and finally, a Bad Monkey, who was fired from his role as the monkey in the Pirates of the Caribbean Films.

Former Detective Andrew Yancy has been suspended and is now working as a restaurant inspector, aka the Roach Patrol, when the sheriff asks him to take a severed arm to Miami, so as not to create controversy in the Keys.

When a woman reports her husband missing and a DNA test matches the arm to the missing husband, Yancy, who is eager to get his detective job back, starts looking into the case against the wishes of the sheriff. The investigation leads him to a lustful romance with Miami assistant coroner Dr. Rosa Campesino, who agrees to help in an unofficial capacity. She also helps Yancy recover from a dog bite to the buttocks, and a beating by a poncho-wearing, scooter-driving assailant.

The investigation brings Yancy and Dr. Rosa to the island of Andros in the Bahamas, where A fisherman named Neville is trying (through voodoo curses and other means) to regain his beachfront childhood home that was sold out from under him to a developer. We’re also introduced to Driggs, a diaper-wearing monkey that Neville won and is trying to train. Driggs was reportedly fired form the Pirates of the Caribbean films after getting intimate with costumes, and his bad habit of flinging feces.

Meanwhile, the Oklahoma authorities are looking for Yancy’s ex-girlfriend who is wanted for an underage romance with one of her students, who she reunites with. He’s keeping a journal of their escapes in hopes of selling the movie rights.

And of course, being Hiaasen, Yancy is also fighting (and quite humorously sabotaging) a developer building a too-tall house which blocks Yancy’s sunset view.

Hiaasen has a way of creating characters and situations that are outrageous, yet plausible enough to be ripped from a Florida Man headline. Take Driggs the monkey. When we first meet him, he’s definitely feral, and his behavior only gets worse under the tutelage of the Dragon Queen. But Hiaasen redeems the Monkey when he does a very, very bad thing, which turns out to be very good thing.

Another theme that is fairly common in Hiaasen’s work is the greed and corruption of developers. In Bad Monkey, we see this both with Yancy’s next-door development and the development of Neville’s family land. This being Hiaasen, both are destined for failure. Bad Monkey also pokes fun at Florida’s relationship with Medicare and those who take advantage of seniors for profit.

In the end, everyone gets what they deserve, some in a cringe-inducing, yet quite funny way.