NORTH OF HAVANA: Doc Ford in Cuba


north-of-havanaDoc Ford #4
Written by: Randy Wayne White
Read by: George Guidall

7 Hours and 52 Minutes
PRHA | Imprint: Penguin Audio
Genre: Fiction – Mystery & Detective –
General Release Date: April 03, 2018

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this audiobook provided by the publisher. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.

North of Havana by Randy Wayne White is now available for the first time in audio!

“We’ll drop anything we’re doing to read a new Randy White novel and be glad we did.” (Denver Post)

Randy Wayne White’s Doc Ford novels have been praised as “witty” (San Diego Union-Tribune), “must-reads” (Chicago Tribune) and “superb.” (Denver Post) In his fifth Doc Ford novel, White takes Doc Ford to Havana, where his friend is being held by the Cuban government. Still haunted by his suspected involvement in a plot against Castro, Ford ventures to Cuba–where he finds himself entangled in a web of murder, revenge, and assassination.


My Take Oblong Shaped

George Guidall is the perfect narrator for this series: capable of great range, he is emotive but “manly.” If that sounds sexist, well maybe it is, but there’s no “sensitive new-age guy” in Doc Ford from whose point of view we hear this tale of intrigue and action, so a “manly voice,” is de rigueur.

My husband has always been the big Randy Wayne White fan in the house.  I tend to read romance, historical, cozy mystery, and erotica, where he tends more to thriller, suspense and science/economic non-fiction. 

I do fancy myself a lover of history, but my love ends around the time Queen Victoria passed on. He’s more into the history of the century of our births, that 100 year stint called the Twentieth Century.  It’s hard to think of stuff that happened when you were alive, but, most of what’s happening now, and what was happening in the 1990s seems to have its basis But one thing this book taught me is that my knowledge and understanding of this complex country and its relationships with the USA, where I live, is extremely lacking.

The book seems to have been published in print in 1998.  Since then attitudes about sexual orientation have changed.  Here Dewey, a female tennis champ and now, a professional golfer, has to try to explain her bi-sexuality. But today, it would either be considered unnecessary or offensive. 

This story is complex, and I felt it depended a lot on backstory about some of the characters. One character, Tomlinson, has a medical condition and possible magical abilities. At first I thought the condition was entirely medical, but then maybe it seemed drug-based. I ended up believing it was both.Doc Ford has, apparently, a PhD in Marine Biology, and a past in the CIA.  But, I guess I would have understood the history between the characters if I had read the first three books.

The plot is not a straight line, But a twisty one. With the naiveté of every Non-Cuban character BUT Doc Ford, I think the assorted problems they experience in the novel are problems they bring on themselves. The remarkable thing is that Doc Ford, who could happily have been home for Christmas who but goes off to save a friend, and whose friend Dewey insists on accompanying him,
takes the blame for much of it.  The character has, I think, a hero complex rooted in compassion and love for his friends. He values loyalty to friends, the downtrodden, and children. He’s an atypical nice guy: decent to everyone, unless you’re not a nice guy in which case you should watch out. His decency is important, especially as White uses Doc to explore the issues faced by a Cuba without the Soviet Union and with a continuing embargo by the US. He describes the hunger of at least one child, and the medical issues of another. Are those features necessary to the plot? probably not, but they help establish Doc Ford as the guy you want on your side.

While there are probably as many women as men who enjoy the Doc Ford series, I think of this as a series more enjoyed by guys.  It’s a great idea for Father’s Day. And, then, when the guy in your life reads/listens to it, anyone who likes this kind of series can also pick it up.


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