Night Moves (Doc Ford) - By RandyWayne White


One of the joys associated with researching Florida’s social and natural history is that the facts often exceed the boundaries of believable fiction, which is why writing about the state also presents its challenges. I’ve published a number of books that prove this point, but none employ as many factual curiosities as Night Moves. For example, the Bone Field exists and is accurately described except for its location. I’ve walked that ancient place, seen the human bones entwined by roots, and will continue to protect the spot, along with the few others who know about it, until archaeologists agree to investigate.

The disappearance of five Navy torpedo bombers is another Florida mystery that plays a role in this novel, and I’ve used the most dependable information available to describe the event accurately in each detail—as fantastic as those details may seem to the reader. I relied heavily on the foremost authority on the subject, researcher and author Gian J. Quasar, who was kind enough to reply to my e-mails, and to discuss a theory that the five Avengers ultimately crashed in or near the Gulf of Mexico (a theory that is at odds with Mr. Quasar’s own conclusions). As noted by Doc Ford, Mr. Quasar’s book, They Flew Into Oblivion, contains the most exhaustive original research by far on the subject, and is highly recommended to those who want to learn more about that tragic incident.

There is nothing mysterious about the population boom of exotic snakes in the Everglades, and the situation is portrayed accurately, as are facts regarding the so-called jig-fishing techniques used in Boca Grande Pass tarpon tournaments. Hopefully, lawmakers and Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Commission are finally awakening to the fact that jig-fishing is a euphemism for snag-fishing and will put an end to a practice that is detrimental to all but TV production companies that profit from the fast action which snag-fishing guarantees.

I learned long ago, whether writing fiction or nonfiction, that an author loses credibility if he’s caught in a factual error. Because of this, I take research seriously, and my research benefits from experts in varied fields. Before recognizing those who provided assistance, though, I would first like to remind the reader that all errors, exaggerations and/or misinterpretations of fact, if any, are entirely the fault of the author.

Much thanks goes to my good friend Captain Mark Futch, a superb floatplane pilot who advised me (sometimes daily) on everything in this novel associated with airplanes, and who was my enthusiastic partner while researching Flight 19. Dr. Marybeth B. Saunders, Dr. Peggy C. Kalkounos, and Dr. Brian Hummel all provided invaluable expert medical advice. Sports psychologist Don Carman, once again, contributed unerring insights into human behavior, aberrant and otherwise, and his advice regarding Marion Ford’s fitness routine is much appreciated. Pedro and Hannah Franco also deserve thanks.

Bill Lee, and his orbiting star, Diana, as always, have guided the author—safely, for the most part—into the strange but fun and enlightened world of our mutual friend, the Rev. Sighurdhr M. Tomlinson. Equal thanks go to Kerry and Donna Terwilliger for helping the author to escape, undamaged. Steven Dougherty of New York and California has also provided useful insights into the mind-set of hipsterdom and various modes of übercoolness. My niece Zoe Webb added help as well.

Others who provided help or insights, information, and advice include: young Captain Matthew Hirst of St. Louis, Kenneth Wright of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, Hackensmith Cattle Company (Bull of the Beach), Dr. Pearl D. Miller of Tampa, Florida, Darryl Pottorf, Mark Pace, Gene Routh, and Kirsten Martin of VersaClimber. Special thanks goes to Wendy Webb, my life companion, adviser, and trusted friend, as well as Stephen Grendon, the author’s devoted SOB, Mrs. Iris Tanner, guardian angel, and my partners and pals, Mark Marinello, Marty and Brenda Harrity, and my surfing buddy, Gus Landl.

Much of this novel was written at corner tables before and after hours at Doc Ford’s Rum Bar and Grille on Sanibel Island and San Carlos Island, where staff were tolerant beyond the call of duty. Thanks go to Raynauld Bentley, Amanda Gardana, Amanda Rodrigues, Ashley Rodehaffer, Amazing Cindy Porter, Desiree Olson, Fernando Garrido, Joey Wilson, Khusan (Sam) Ismatullaev, Kory Delannoy, Mary McBeath, Michelle Madonna Boninsegna, Magic Milita Kennedy, Olga Jerrard, Rachel Songalewski, Tall Sean Lamont, High Shawn Scott, T. J. Grace, Yakh’yo Yakubov, Captain Brian Cunningham, Mojito Greg Barker, Jim Rainville, Nathaniel Buffman, Crystal Burns, Donna Butz, Gabrielle Moschitta, Maria Jimenez, and Sarah Carnithan.

At the Rum Bar on