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The Man Who Invented Florida

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When solitary marine biologist Doc Ford focused his telescope on the woman in the white boat, he didn't know his life was about to be capsized: that his conniving uncle Tucker Gatrell would discover the Fountain of Youth, that The National Enquirer would write about it, and that the law would beat down his door in search of three missing men. But Doc Ford is about to find t When solitary marine biologist Doc Ford focused his telescope on the woman in the white boat, he didn't know his life was about to be capsized: that his conniving uncle Tucker Gatrell would discover the Fountain of Youth, that The National Enquirer would write about it, and that the law would beat down his door in search of three missing men. But Doc Ford is about to find these things out-- the hard way. Because in the shadowy world of Southwest Florida, where gators yawn, cattle craze, and Indian bones are buried, mysteries great and small have found the man to solve them...in The Man Who Invented Florida by bestselling author Randy Wayne White.


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When solitary marine biologist Doc Ford focused his telescope on the woman in the white boat, he didn't know his life was about to be capsized: that his conniving uncle Tucker Gatrell would discover the Fountain of Youth, that The National Enquirer would write about it, and that the law would beat down his door in search of three missing men. But Doc Ford is about to find t When solitary marine biologist Doc Ford focused his telescope on the woman in the white boat, he didn't know his life was about to be capsized: that his conniving uncle Tucker Gatrell would discover the Fountain of Youth, that The National Enquirer would write about it, and that the law would beat down his door in search of three missing men. But Doc Ford is about to find these things out-- the hard way. Because in the shadowy world of Southwest Florida, where gators yawn, cattle craze, and Indian bones are buried, mysteries great and small have found the man to solve them...in The Man Who Invented Florida by bestselling author Randy Wayne White.

30 review for The Man Who Invented Florida

  1. 4 out of 5

    Glen

    This third book in the Doc Ford series introduces his sleazy Uncle, Gaspar, who is a cow hunter, a fishing guide, a drug smuggler, and who knows what all else. He thinks he's found the fountain of youth in his backyard, and tries to embroil Doc in his scheme. Not a bad book, but not really an adventure, as nothing adventurous happens. This third book in the Doc Ford series introduces his sleazy Uncle, Gaspar, who is a cow hunter, a fishing guide, a drug smuggler, and who knows what all else. He thinks he's found the fountain of youth in his backyard, and tries to embroil Doc in his scheme. Not a bad book, but not really an adventure, as nothing adventurous happens.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Vickie

    What a great Florida Book... This was published in the 1990's so some of it may be dated... no cell phones..... but the story is timeless ... the history.... the politics, love or lust, nature and some characters could just step out of our headlines today.... Just my second book by this author will be looking for more. What a great Florida Book... This was published in the 1990's so some of it may be dated... no cell phones..... but the story is timeless ... the history.... the politics, love or lust, nature and some characters could just step out of our headlines today.... Just my second book by this author will be looking for more.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Scott Rhee

    "The Man Who Invented Florida" by Randy Wayne White is the third Doc Ford novel, although strangely enough Doc Ford is not the focal character in the story. The character that we spend the most amount of time with (a wise move on White's part) is a redneck old codger living in a shack in the Everglades. His name is Tucker Gatrell, and he has (he claims) discovered the long-sought-after fountain of youth right in his own backyard. Unfortunately, it won't be his backyard for long, as the state of "The Man Who Invented Florida" by Randy Wayne White is the third Doc Ford novel, although strangely enough Doc Ford is not the focal character in the story. The character that we spend the most amount of time with (a wise move on White's part) is a redneck old codger living in a shack in the Everglades. His name is Tucker Gatrell, and he has (he claims) discovered the long-sought-after fountain of youth right in his own backyard. Unfortunately, it won't be his backyard for long, as the state of Florida wants to raze all the unsightly redneck homes in his neighborhood (if you want to call a collection of sad tar-paper shacks abandoned long ago a "neighborhood") in order to build a national park. Or a golf course. No one seems to really know or care. Gatrell cares, of course. It is, after all, his home. But he has a plan, and he hopes to recruit his brainy nephew Doc Ford to help him. The problem is, he hasn't spoken to Ford in almost a decade; not since Ford, who was living with his crazy old uncle after his parents died, ran away and went to college and then did some hush-hush government work. Ford doesn't like his uncle, but he's willing to give him a chance. Ford's best friend, Tomlinson, an aging hippie, has a fondness for the old coot, and he thinks Gatrell may be onto something with his magical healing spring water. After all, there are ancient Indian legends of the area's supposedly supernaturally charged springs, and then there's the famous legend of Ponce De Leon who claimed to find the Fountain of Youth somewhere in Florida, the actual location of which was sadly lost to history. Gatrell's best friend, Joe Egret believes Gatrell's story. After drinking some of the magic water, the big old Injun had a burst of energy, escaped from that horrible old prison they called a nursing home, stole a horse, and was now riding across the 'Glades leaving a trail of (not so) young ladies in need of affection. Apparently, the spring water is better than Viagra. Naturally, all of this couldn't have come at a worse time for Gatrell. Three men (a surveyor, an environmentalist, and the host of a popular fishing TV show) have mysteriously gone missing in the area. FBI Agent Angela Walker suspects Gatrell has something to do with it (despite the fact that he reminds her of her beloved grandfather), and now she's got Ford entertaining the possibility. Against his better judgment (and at a time when he's got a lot on his own plate), Ford decides to investigate further, just when Ford is starting up a relationship with Sally Carmel, his sexy divorcee neighbor who is prone to late-night skinny-dipping. I loved this book, not merely for the fact that it is a hilarious look at the absurdity of Florida culture but because behind all the laughs there is a depth and a heart. Fans of Carl Hiaasen and Elmore Leonard should check out White, if they haven't already, as he is steadily becoming THE writer of southern Florida crime fiction.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Andy Plonka

    Doc Ford has some interesting friends that operate slightly outside the law but with good intentions . Florida's problems are at the forefront in this one. even the second time around Ford and Tomlinson get into some unusual situations but remain basically good guys. Doc Ford has some interesting friends that operate slightly outside the law but with good intentions . Florida's problems are at the forefront in this one. even the second time around Ford and Tomlinson get into some unusual situations but remain basically good guys.

  5. 5 out of 5

    James Love

    Three missing persons and a mysterious water source with healing properties are the basis for the novel. The author includes social commentary on the mistreatment of the elderly in nursing homes. The prologue and the first few pages make for a cumbersome and disjointed start but the novel improves from there. The author still appears to be perfecting his characters for the series and makes me wonder if this might have been the debut Doc Ford manuscript that was held back for rewriting while Sanib Three missing persons and a mysterious water source with healing properties are the basis for the novel. The author includes social commentary on the mistreatment of the elderly in nursing homes. The prologue and the first few pages make for a cumbersome and disjointed start but the novel improves from there. The author still appears to be perfecting his characters for the series and makes me wonder if this might have been the debut Doc Ford manuscript that was held back for rewriting while Sanibel Flats and The Heat Islands were released first.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Mark Wesling

    first Doc Ford book I did not like. Most of story is about his stupid uncle Tucker as though written by Carl Hiaasen, who I have never liked.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lloyd

    I think this is my favorite of Whit's 'Doc Ford' o because it really shows a bit of the 'Cracker' dynamic in not so much coastal Florida but the areas inland. White goes into the family history of his character far more than previously and it is a believable if somewhat sad story. Highly recommended! I think this is my favorite of Whit's 'Doc Ford' o because it really shows a bit of the 'Cracker' dynamic in not so much coastal Florida but the areas inland. White goes into the family history of his character far more than previously and it is a believable if somewhat sad story. Highly recommended!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    I didn't care for this book. It felt more like a character study than a mystery. I didn't even realize that Doc Ford was the main character until I was well into the story. Maybe the other books in the series revolve around the main character solving the mystery instead of it being a secondary story line. I didn't care for this book. It felt more like a character study than a mystery. I didn't even realize that Doc Ford was the main character until I was well into the story. Maybe the other books in the series revolve around the main character solving the mystery instead of it being a secondary story line.

  9. 4 out of 5

    John Machata

    I love a raucous South Florida thriller/comedy, but Mr. White's ramble in this tome does not quite hold together for this fan. It's OK, but I was bothered by his old fashioned objectification of women, the side stories which don't really add to the story. A pleasant enough read, but not Mr. White's best. I love a raucous South Florida thriller/comedy, but Mr. White's ramble in this tome does not quite hold together for this fan. It's OK, but I was bothered by his old fashioned objectification of women, the side stories which don't really add to the story. A pleasant enough read, but not Mr. White's best.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jim McCulloch

    This is a story of the clash between the old and new Florida. Funny, sad, informative, and even poignant at times; this is a terrific book. The dialog is extremely well done. Characters are well defined, fascinating, and a little odd but somehow fit well together while in their own unique orbits. My perspective of Florida has changed significantly even though I have been there many times. I didn't know what I didn't know! Simply a fascinating treasure trove of information about the Everglades an This is a story of the clash between the old and new Florida. Funny, sad, informative, and even poignant at times; this is a terrific book. The dialog is extremely well done. Characters are well defined, fascinating, and a little odd but somehow fit well together while in their own unique orbits. My perspective of Florida has changed significantly even though I have been there many times. I didn't know what I didn't know! Simply a fascinating treasure trove of information about the Everglades and the people who have lived there.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ron

    The Man Who Invented Florida is the third book in the Doc Ford series. I didn’t like it as well as the first two books. This story had to much environment history of Southwest Florida for me. It made it a little boring. Also it was more about Ford’s uncle, Tuck, than about Ford. I hope the next book is better.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Col

    Synopsis/blurb....... When solitary marine biologist Doc Ford focused his telescope on the woman in the white boat, he didn't know his life was about to be capsized: that his conniving uncle Tucker Gatrell would discover the Fountain of Youth, that The National Enquirer would write about it, and that the law would beat down his door in search of three missing men. But Doc Ford is about to find these things out -- the hard way. Because in the shadowy world of Southwest Florida, where gators yawn, c Synopsis/blurb....... When solitary marine biologist Doc Ford focused his telescope on the woman in the white boat, he didn't know his life was about to be capsized: that his conniving uncle Tucker Gatrell would discover the Fountain of Youth, that The National Enquirer would write about it, and that the law would beat down his door in search of three missing men. But Doc Ford is about to find these things out -- the hard way. Because in the shadowy world of Southwest Florida, where gators yawn, cattle craze, and Indian bones are buried, mysteries great and small have found the man to solve them. My 3rd read in the author’s Doc Ford series, and also the slowest, the weakest and the least enjoyable. I was probably 120 pages into this one before scratching my head and asking myself what is the mystery or crime or raison d’être for this 300-odd page long book? When will something happen, other than the mundane, the boring or the everyday? At the end of the book, I wasn’t particularly enlightened or bothered. Doc Ford, likeable and interesting takes a back-seat role to his uncle. His uncle wasn’t anyone that stirred any strong emotions in me, either positive or negative and so the book was a bit of a damp squib or squid, keeping the marine theme going. Amusing in places, but it was dull as dishwasher in many more, unfortunately. Best line in the book........”When politicians looked at old people, all they saw was saggy skin wrapped around a voting finger.” Not worth all my time invested for that little gem, back next month with Captiva – book number 4. Boy I can hardly wait! There was a 3 year gap in between books 3 and 4 - 1993-96 so hopefully Mr White had plenty of time to sharpen his pencil and re-focus on what made the first two more enjoyable. 2 stars from 5 for this one. I bought it second-hand on Amazon a month or two ago. http://col2910.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05...

  13. 5 out of 5

    Joy

    I enjoyed reading this novel while on vacation in Ft. Myers, FL The author is a resident and noted author of many novels whose story lines are set in Southwest FL. Doc Ford is a dedicated marine biologist who unwillingly becomes fully involved in his elderly uncle's most recent escapade. Several characters, each with their own back story, contribute to a tale filled with hilarity, mystery, history, ecology, and the complexity of personal relationships. I definitely would like to read another. I enjoyed reading this novel while on vacation in Ft. Myers, FL The author is a resident and noted author of many novels whose story lines are set in Southwest FL. Doc Ford is a dedicated marine biologist who unwillingly becomes fully involved in his elderly uncle's most recent escapade. Several characters, each with their own back story, contribute to a tale filled with hilarity, mystery, history, ecology, and the complexity of personal relationships. I definitely would like to read another.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Richard Thompson

    This is the one featuring Doc's uncle, Tucker Gatrell, his old friend Joe Egret and a complicated plan to prevent the State of Florida from taking Tucker's land in Mango to make a new park. Probably the weakest of the Doc Ford books that I have read. Joe Egret is a good character. Tucker is colorful but a bit of an SOB. Doc seems a bit ineffectual. Tomlinson is off an ill defined crusade that kind of peters out to nothing in the end. Several key characters are not dealt with in the epilogue. This w This is the one featuring Doc's uncle, Tucker Gatrell, his old friend Joe Egret and a complicated plan to prevent the State of Florida from taking Tucker's land in Mango to make a new park. Probably the weakest of the Doc Ford books that I have read. Joe Egret is a good character. Tucker is colorful but a bit of an SOB. Doc seems a bit ineffectual. Tomlinson is off an ill defined crusade that kind of peters out to nothing in the end. Several key characters are not dealt with in the epilogue. This was book #24 on our 2017 Read-alouds List.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

    White’s Doc Ford series has been a recent discovery and I have been charmed by his characters. In this 3rd offering in the series, Doc Ford has to contend with his elderly uncle Tucker and his sidekick, Joseph Egret, a Calusa Indian. Tucker is the kind of crazy uncle that will recount their interactions with famous people in Florida’s past, try to convince you that the water from an Artesian well is the fountain of youth, and is just savvy enough about Florida law to be dangerous. Doc Ford, the White’s Doc Ford series has been a recent discovery and I have been charmed by his characters. In this 3rd offering in the series, Doc Ford has to contend with his elderly uncle Tucker and his sidekick, Joseph Egret, a Calusa Indian. Tucker is the kind of crazy uncle that will recount their interactions with famous people in Florida’s past, try to convince you that the water from an Artesian well is the fountain of youth, and is just savvy enough about Florida law to be dangerous. Doc Ford, the marine biologist residing on Sanibel Island has his hands full! Enjoy.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Billmac

    oh my goodness ... I finished the book only because I want to read every book in the series... I've read most of the books but had not read #3 because it wasn't held by my County library. At my request, they bought the book for the library. It was horrible. I rated all the other books in the series a 4 or 5, but now I know why this was the only book in the series my library didn't own. No story. No nothing. Randy must have been high the entire time he wrote this one. oh my goodness ... I finished the book only because I want to read every book in the series... I've read most of the books but had not read #3 because it wasn't held by my County library. At my request, they bought the book for the library. It was horrible. I rated all the other books in the series a 4 or 5, but now I know why this was the only book in the series my library didn't own. No story. No nothing. Randy must have been high the entire time he wrote this one.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Lloyd Christensen

    I read one of the Doc Ford books while at a resort in Belize, someone had left it behind as most guests do. I don't remember which it was, it was not something that really registered much with me at the time. I picked up another of his books later and this one, The Man Who Invented Florida, got my attention. It's a mystery with a lot of comedy added in. I'll be reading more of his work. I read one of the Doc Ford books while at a resort in Belize, someone had left it behind as most guests do. I don't remember which it was, it was not something that really registered much with me at the time. I picked up another of his books later and this one, The Man Who Invented Florida, got my attention. It's a mystery with a lot of comedy added in. I'll be reading more of his work.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    One of my favorite authors. This book is a bit of a departure from some of the others, but gives some of the history of Doc Ford. It also explores the Florida that was and Florida as it is now, as seen through the eyes of the characters. It is also a good mystery, with lots of plot twists and turns. Definitely enjoyed reading it!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    This is the third book in the Doc Ford series. Although the plot line shifted back and forth to several locations, the story held up well. The characters are quirky and there is a lot of humor in the story as well.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    Interesting Doc Ford tale, involving an estranged uncle, his uncle's friend, Joseph, three missing men, the fountain of youth, Doc's romantic entanglement, a stolen horse....and what might be a land swindle. Alot to get into a story, but Mr. White does an admirable job. Interesting Doc Ford tale, involving an estranged uncle, his uncle's friend, Joseph, three missing men, the fountain of youth, Doc's romantic entanglement, a stolen horse....and what might be a land swindle. Alot to get into a story, but Mr. White does an admirable job.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Philip

    A wild whacky, funny White classic piece of humor. The fountain of youth, retirement village, kid napping add to this "I didn't know that about Florida" but you will with Doc and his Uncle Tuck. Another fun read. A wild whacky, funny White classic piece of humor. The fountain of youth, retirement village, kid napping add to this "I didn't know that about Florida" but you will with Doc and his Uncle Tuck. Another fun read.

  22. 4 out of 5

    CT Ray

    I enjoyed the Doc Ford character but unfortunately he was only in 50% or less of the book. The other characters didn't keep my interest. The book had an Elmore Leonard vibe, but the wit wasn't as sharp and the plot wasn't as interesting. I enjoyed the Doc Ford character but unfortunately he was only in 50% or less of the book. The other characters didn't keep my interest. The book had an Elmore Leonard vibe, but the wit wasn't as sharp and the plot wasn't as interesting.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Catherine K

    I'm struggling with this one more than other Doc Ford's I have read/listened to. It's pretty slow moving with a LOT of story about the crazy uncle and his best friend. I need more Doc and Tomlinson, so hopefully it picks up a bit. I'm struggling with this one more than other Doc Ford's I have read/listened to. It's pretty slow moving with a LOT of story about the crazy uncle and his best friend. I need more Doc and Tomlinson, so hopefully it picks up a bit.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ted P

    This one (Doc Ford #3) was mostly a comedy book - and it was funny but different from the others I've read (books 1, 2, 4, 15) in that Doc's wacky uncle Tucker, his native American friend, and Tomlinson were every bit or more the main characters as Doc was. This one (Doc Ford #3) was mostly a comedy book - and it was funny but different from the others I've read (books 1, 2, 4, 15) in that Doc's wacky uncle Tucker, his native American friend, and Tomlinson were every bit or more the main characters as Doc was.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Helen

    The first half of this book was good! I enjoyed the author's writing style, and found the book humorous. In the second half, I couldn't keep track of what was happening, and I couldn't understand the mystery. Read the book for the good writing; finish it if you are understanding it! The first half of this book was good! I enjoyed the author's writing style, and found the book humorous. In the second half, I couldn't keep track of what was happening, and I couldn't understand the mystery. Read the book for the good writing; finish it if you are understanding it!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Hawley

    I was sorely disappointed in this book--way too much science and a very slow read with annoying characters. I couldn't wait to finish it. I hope his next books are better reads. I was sorely disappointed in this book--way too much science and a very slow read with annoying characters. I couldn't wait to finish it. I hope his next books are better reads.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Phil

    I did not like this book at all, not like the other two books I have read by the same author. Would skip this one for sure

  28. 5 out of 5

    Pat

    Doc's uncle is an old Florida character. Always scheming. Says he found the Fountain of Youth on his property. Good story, great characters. Doc's uncle is an old Florida character. Always scheming. Says he found the Fountain of Youth on his property. Good story, great characters.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    definitely like this series!!!!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sandra Helen

    I couldn't finish this book. I tried, because it was for a bookclub. I found it inane and irritating. I couldn't finish this book. I tried, because it was for a bookclub. I found it inane and irritating.

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