Randy Wayne White has written 16 previous novels about the same hero that appears in Deep Shadow but I hadn't read any of them. This book was a gift to me some time ago and I just now got around to reading it. Now I think, if my heart can stand it, I'll look for the rest of his books. He's also written nonfiction about sea creatures and travel, and he lives in Florida where he used to be a fishing guide.
I like the hero, Marion "Doc" Ford, who is a biologist who supplies fish. Two of his best friends are funny characters. Captain Arlis Futch is an old swamp expert, Tomlinson is a hippie who smokes too much pot but has a good heart, and Will Chaser is an Indian teenager who has been brought to Florida to learn more about diving. These four guys are very entertaining and we get to know all of them well, as we hear their individual experiences and point of view.
The reason my heart has something to do with whether I read more of these novels is that I read this book alternately clenching my jaw, holding my breath, and fighting the need to do anything but read. In fact, my jaw aches today after finishing the book this morning.
Capt. Futch talks the other three into going with him to a teardrop shaped lake he found. He's positive it's where a plane loaded with gold crashed in late 1958. That was when Castro was closing in on Cuba's leader, Batista, so Batista loaded four planes with gold raided from the treasury and anyplace else it was stashed and fled the island. Three of the planes landed safely but the fourth apparently wandered off course and was never found. Futch has actually bought the land the lake is on so they can dive and look for the plane, because he has found gold coins and a broken propeller.
They think they're alone but unfortunately a couple of really desperate bad guys are watching. There is also apparently some kind of "creature" in the lake area that has been killing a neighbors cattle. Spooky enough for you?
I learned a lot about what's under what we all see and enjoy in Florida. There are limestone caves and underground rivers. There are also many exotic animals living and breeding there. They had been brought into the country, then escaped or were simply turned loose to thrive in the swamps of the state. Very interesting stories.
I think this is meant to be a guy's novel, but it's full of all the ingredients for making your heart race as you turn the pages. Great story that I highly recommend if you like action and danger.