by Bruce TierneyApril, 2005
Creepy critters in Florida
In West Africa, an unpleasant parasitic creature known as the Guinea worm can grow to a length of several feet within (get this) its human host. It eventually pokes itself out through the host's skin, and can be removed only a few inches at a time, by winding the worm around a pencil as it makes its exit. Meanwhile, in South America, an equally diabolical little fish called the candiru swims up the urinary tract of its victim, extending barbs into the soft tissue to prevent its removal as it merrily munches its way into the bladder and points north. Randy Wayne White's latest novel, Dead of Night, posits a well-organized group of terrorists introducing these species and several other nasty critters into the Florida ecosystem; it will be up to marine biologist Doc Ford to stop them if he can. Ford, a laid-back Travis McGee-like character, runs a marine laboratory in Sanibel Island, just off the western coast of Florida. In an earlier incarnation, however, he worked as a hired gun for a hush-hush quasi-governmental organization. He is no stranger to wet work, the neutralization or destruction of members of the opposing team. Ecoterrorism is a particularly insidious form of intimidation, and White mines that vein admirably. In addition to his 11 Doc Ford novels, he has written several books on the ecology of the tropics.