Tip of the Ice PickWhen author John D. MacDonald died in 1986, millions around the world mourned his passing, in no small part because of the forced retirement of his counter-culture hero, Travis McGee. In the intervening years, McGee-ophiles have searched for a spiritual heir, and to them I say, check out Doc Ford. Now several novels into his Doc Ford series, author Randy Wayne White has fleshed out the character of marine biologist Ford into one of the most complex and interesting characters in modern mystery fiction. With the able assistance of his herbally altered friend Tomlinson, Ford tilts against the windmills of environment, population and assorted crime. Like his ancestor McGee, Doc Ford lives adjacent to a marina in Florida, shares his adventures with an incredibly clever yet out-of-the-mainstream sidekick and finds much comfort in the arms of a stream of suntanned and nubile young females. White's latest, Shark River, introduces a new character into the mix, an attractive mulatto woman who claims to be Ford's sister, in search of a legacy left her by her ne'er-do-well father. Rich in atmosphere, populated with engaging characters and crackling with suspense, Shark River is the May Tip of the Ice Pick selection as mystery of the month.