One Deadly Eye by Randy Wayne White

Posted 7 June, 2024 by Heather in Audiobook, Blog, Blog Tour, Book Excerpt, Book Review, Heather, Heather Book Review / 0 Comments

I received this book for free from the Bought, Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

One Deadly Eye by Randy Wayne WhiteOne Deadly Eye by Randy Wayne White
Series: Doc Ford Mystery #27
Published by Hanover Square Press, Harlequin on June 4, 2024
Genres: Fiction / Crime, Fiction / Mystery & Detective / General, Fiction / Thrillers / Crime, Fiction / Thrillers / Suspense
Pages: 344
Format: Audiobook, eBook
Source: Bought, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
4 Stars

From New York Times bestselling author Randy Wayne White, after the deadliest hurricane to hit Florida’s Gulf Coast in a century, Doc Ford must stop a gang of thieves—and worse—during the twelve hours of chaos that follow the passing of a storm’s eye.

A Russian diplomat disappears while Doc is tagging great white sharks in South Africa, and members of a criminal brotherhood, Bratva, don’t think it’s a coincidence. They track the biologist to Dinkin’s Bay Marina on the west coast of Florida, where Brotherhood mercenaries have already deployed, prepared to pillage and kill in the wake of an approaching hurricane.

No one, however, is prepared for a cataclysmic event that will forever change the island and leaves Doc to deal with escapees from Russia’s most dangerous prison, including a serial killer—the Vulture Monk—who has a taste for blood. His only ally is an enigmatic British inventor whose decision to ride out the storm might have more to do with revenge than protecting a priceless art collection.

Doc has a lot at stake—the lives of his fiancée, Hannah Smith, and their son, plus the fate of his hipster pal, Tomlinson, whose sailboat has disappeared in the Gulf of Mexico. The greatest threat of all, though, is a force that cannot be escaped—a Category Five hurricane that, minute by minute, melds sins of the past with Florida's precarious future.

For my next book on HTP Books’ Summer 2024 Blog Tours, I listened to Randy Wayne White’s ONE DEADLY EYE. This thriller is a masterful blend of suspense, action, and atmospheric writing, promising a thrilling ride through the heart of the storm. Here’s an excerpt and stick around to the end for my thoughts.


I returned an arcane Station Six pistol to the US Consulate in Cape Town, South Africa, unaware a storm that would forever change Florida had gathered to the north, fueled by a mirror that is the Sahara Desert.

In a world of electronic intrusions, I’m too often deafened to the silence of atmospheric tides, saltwater and sunlight—dynamics that can ignite a cataclysm six thousand miles away.

“Has this weapon been fired?” the consulate armorer asked.

The strange bolt action pistol lay on a table. Its bulbous barrel (an integrated sound suppressor) had the utilitarian aspect of a ball-peen hammer.

“At the range a few days ago. Five rounds,” I said.

“But not in the field.”


“A few practice rounds. That’s all?” He sounded disappointed.

“With a bolt action single-shot, five rounds was four too many.”

A Cold War assassin’s tool was an ironic weapon to issue me, a marine biologist in Africa under the guise of tagging great white sharks.

He noticed the bandage on my knuckles. Blood had wicked through the gauze.

“Tough on your shooting hand. Too bad, Dr. Ford.”

“Tougher to explain if I’d been stopped at the border,” I said. “Shouldn’t I get some sort of receipt?”

When I was at the door, the armorer spoke again. “Afrikaners call the stretch of water off Dyers Island ‘Shark Alley.’ I heard a Russian diplomat went missing there yesterday.” There was a pause. “Or defected. Depends, I guess, on who you ask.”

It was a question without a question mark.

Dyers Island, one hundred twenty kilometers southeast. It brought back the stench of thousands of fur seals and penguins fighting, breeding, dying, birthing pups on a rock the size of a parking lot. Blood, the ammonia stink of urine, verified that monster great whites cruised the island’s rim.

I replied, “Can’t say I’ve been there before. Maybe next visit.”

“After your wedding, perhaps. An interesting honeymoon that would make. A few weeks away, isn’t it?”

In state department/intel circles, there are no personal secrets, only classified obligations.

“Maybe,” I said again. I tapped my wrist. “The COS wants a word before I take off.”

He buzzed me out.

The US Consulate in Cape Town is a geometry of white concrete on acres of landscaped grounds. Tiers of bulletproof windows, three stories high, are dwarfed by the enormity of Table Mountain, a slower geologic cataclysm eight kilometers north.

Across the commons, marines in BDUs were getting in a morning run. Kids with tattoos, jarhead buzz cuts, rocking to a navy cadence call.

Let ’em blow, let ’em blow,

Let those trade winds blow,

From the east, from the west…

Let those nukes, the new kids glow…

A foreboding message cheerfully voiced this spring morning in September, half a globe away from my lab and home at Dinkin’s Bay Marina, west coast Florida.

Building A, through security, up three flights of granite steps. The Chief of Station slid an envelope across her desk, an encrypted IronKey memory drive inside.

After some distancing pleasantries, she said, “Don’t download the files until you’re over international waters. Are you familiar with Black Dolphin Prison on the Kazakhstan border?”

I might have smiled if I didn’t know the place was real. Russia sends its twisted worst to Black Dolphin—terrorists, pedophiles, serial killers, the criminally insane. Cannibals.

“Named for a stone dolphin carved by inmates,” I said. “No prisoner has ever left there alive from what I’ve heard.”

Chief of Station indicated the envelope. “Until two years ago. There was an earthquake, the facility flooded. Guards evacuated and left seven hundred prisoners behind. We don’t know how many drowned, but at least six escaped according to the few villagers they didn’t murder.” Again, a glance at the envelope. “It’s all in there.”

I started to explain, respectfully, that I was a poor choice to send to Russia.

Chief of Station surprised me by agreeing. “Of course. Not at your age, Dr. Ford.” She was bemused. “And your skill set isn’t up to…well. Let me ask you something. This morning, were you aware of the van shadowing you?”

I answered, “Until it missed the curve at Killig Bay. Was anyone hurt?”

Her flat gaze told me the subject was not to be discussed. “Our concern is, they know who you are. Don’t worry, we’ll look into the matter. Besides, you’re getting married in a few weeks, aren’t you?”

Not if a certain agency didn’t stop leveraging me with extradition threats.

I responded, “That’s the plan.”

As I went out the door, she said something about the weather—“Keep an eye on it,” possibly, which I took as a reference to my flight. Or marriage. Or both.

At Wingfield Airbase, a chill breeze was siphoning toward the Sahara—another silent dynamic. At 36,000 feet, I opened the IronKey while our pilots rode the North Equatorial Jetstream across the Atlantic.

I read. I summarized. Four, maybe six of Russia’s most violent criminals had left a blood trail crossing to the Caspian Sea and might have entered the US via Venezuela or Mexico.

Might. But it made sense. Bratva, a Russian criminal brotherhood, and Wagner mercenaries had established crime syndicates in major US cities, including Miami.

Thus the courtesy of briefing me, a biologist whose skill set was doubted, but who could at least pick up a phone and dial for help.

So why bother with the second, unopened folder on my laptop screen?

Why, indeed.

Sixteen hours in the air. I dozed, awoke when the pilot warned of turbulence. Somewhere off Brazil, the plane pitched, banged down hard into thermal clouds that mimicked tentacles. We landed and took off again at sunset. Below revolved a familiar green mosaic of seaward borders. South America. The coastline tracked my past and the passage of time.

To port, a monoxide haze flagged Caracas. The largest tarpon in the Americas had been landed there long before Lake Maracaibo became a swill of petroleum, plastics, and industrial offal.

After that, there were only small pockets of light: jungle villages, fires burning, night islands of humanity linked by darkness, aglow like pearls, bright and solitary from four miles high.

We crossed the flight corridor of Western Cuba, Pinar Del Rio. More solitary lights. Somewhere down there was a farm town, Vinales, a baseball diamond, wooden bleachers, fields where oxen grazed.

I winced away fun memories of villagers and playing ball with barnstorming friends.

Nostalgia is a waste of time. The present is our only tenuous reality. It’s all a rational person has. But there was something grating about the Chief of Station’s smirk regarding my skills and age. And her reference to the impending wedding had the ring of sterile dismissal.

My betrothed—Hannah Summerlin Smith. Captain Hannah to fly-fishing aficionados from Ketchum to Key West. And the mother of our toddler son, Izaak.

In the Everglades, in the middle of nowhere, is a jet port that never got off the ground for environmental reasons. But its ten-thousand-foot runway is still used clandestinely and for commercial touch-and-goes.

Dade-Collier Training and Transition Airport is the official name.

They dropped me off in the wee hours of the morning, the air heat-laden, wet, ripe with sulfur. By 4:00 a.m. I was in my new truck, a gray Ford, crossing the Causeway bridges a few miles from the marina and home.

I reminded myself, If you don’t stop lying to Hannah, there won’t be a wedding.

Most of us have a nagging, destructive voice that second-guesses even the best of decisions.

Is that such a bad thing? mine argued.

Excerpted from One Deadly Eye by Randy Wayne White. Copyright © 2024 by Randy Wayne White. Published by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A.


My Thoughts:

Set on Sanibel Island in Florida’s Gulf Coast while a category 5 hurricane is bearing down on them, Doc Ford gets a tip from one of his State Department friends that an organized international crime ring uses the aftermath of deadly disasters to loot, pillage, and murder to their hearts’ content. Knowing that Sanibel Island is ripe for the pickings, Doc Ford stays to protect his laboratory as well as some very interesting citizens that live there too. And he definitely puts the skills he honed while he was a NSA agent to use to get to the bottom of all this danger and trouble.  As the hurricane subsides, chaos ensues, and Doc Ford finds himself entangled in a web of danger, deception, and dark secrets. With echoes of espionage, paramilitary contractors, and a twelve-hour window of lawlessness, White’s storytelling weaves suspense, intrigue, and the raw beauty of the Florida landscape. In this high-stakes thriller, Doc Ford must navigate the storm’s aftermath, uncover hidden agendas, and confront the deadliest eye—the one that sees beyond the chaos.


I give One Deadly Eye a four out of five. I’m mainly listening to books these days, and the quality of this audiobook was stellar. Jumping into a book with number 27 in the Doc Ford Mystery series wasn’t as hard as I thought it might be. Sure, there were characters that have history with the marine biologist main character Doc Ford, but the author sprinkled in enough backstory so I was up to speed pretty fast. Doc Ford is not only working against human forces, but extremely powerful weather forces as well. Between the hurricane, the dangerous people, his dog that runs away, and all of his loyalties, the suspense just ramps up as the book approaches the finish line. The island and the hurricane were very much characters in their own right, and the author’s descriptions of these brought brilliant images to mind as I listened. The characters we fully dimensional–even the bad guys were quite human. This was a very fun and exciting book to listen to.



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About Randy Wayne White

Randy Wayne White is the New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of the Doc Ford series. In 2011, White was named a Florida Literary Legend by the Florida Heritage Society. A fishing and nature enthusiast, he has also written extensively for National Geographic Adventure, Men’s Journal, Playboy and Men’s Health. He lives on Sanibel Island, Florida, where he was a light-tackle fishing guide for many years, and spends much of his free time windsurfing, playing baseball, and hanging out at Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille. Sharks Incorporated is his middle grade series, including Fins and Stingers.

Find Randy Wayne White

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I'm a PhD chemist who loves sarcasm, music, and books-paranormal, mystery, thriller, suspense, horror, and romance. Most of my free time is spent at the martial arts studio these days--whether practicing Combat Hapkido or reading books while watching my son's Taekwondo classes, or even working up a sweat with Kickboxing for fun. Goodreads

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