Ex-Gator, ex-Dolphin (as in football, folks), and all-around sensitive tough guy, Zack Chasteen is – in this fifth novel in Bob Morris’s series – an adventurous do-gooder, exonerated ex-con, and dedicated family man all at once. I love the big guy. You’ve got to love a guy who can get away with naming his daughter Shula. I want to go fishing with him, down a few brews, and hear his stories. Luckily, I can do the later between the covers of a book (or, more and more likely these days, on the screen of a Kindle).
Winter Park resident Bob Morris, a fourth-generation Floridian, has founded a new para-nation: Bermuda to the north, the Bahamas and other Caribbean islands to the south, and Florida as the anchor – the island of the mind with water on three sides. Baja means a lot of things, including “lower” and “dropped from.” It’s a region to which, for all its internal variety, Morris gives a startling continuity. An accomplished travel and entertainment writer (“National Geographic Traveler,” “ Bon Appetit,” “Caribbean Travel & Life”) Bob Morris writes with authority not only about resort destinations, but also about less visited and less homogenized places near, along, and well off the coast of the Sunshine State.
Chasteen’s Palm Nursery is headquarters, and Zack’s old friend, Mickey Ryser, finds him there. Mickey, who is both enormously wealthy and deathly ill, persuades Zack to track down Jen, a daughter whom he had more or less abandoned when she was a toddler some twenty years ago. He needs to reunite with her before he dies. In fact, he has already set a private detective on the case, but the man has disappeared and won’t respond to Mickey’s calls.
The full review is available in the February 25-March 3, 2010 issue of the Naples Florida Weekly. Click here for the online version: Florida Weekly – Bob Morris. It also appears in the March 10-16 issue of the Fort Myers Florida Weekly.