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Cuba Straits

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The remarkable new novel in the Doc Ford series by New York Times–bestselling author Randy Wayne White. Doc Ford’s old friend, General Juan Garcia, has gone into the lucrative business of smuggling Cuban baseball players into the U.S. He is also feasting on profits made by buying historical treasures for pennies on the dollar. He prefers what dealers call HPC items— The remarkable new novel in the Doc Ford series by New York Times–bestselling author Randy Wayne White.   Doc Ford’s old friend, General Juan Garcia, has gone into the lucrative business of smuggling Cuban baseball players into the U.S. He is also feasting on profits made by buying historical treasures for pennies on the dollar. He prefers what dealers call HPC items—high-profile collectibles—but when he manages to obtain a collection of letters written by Fidel Castro between 1960–62 to a secret girlfriend, it’s not a matter of money anymore. Garcia has stumbled way out of his depth. First Garcia disappears, and then the man to whom he sold the letters. When Doc Ford begins to investigate, he soon becomes convinced that those letters contain a secret that someone, or some powerful agency, cannot allow to be made public. A lot happened between Cuba and the United States from 1960–62. Many men died. A few more will hardly be noticed.


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The remarkable new novel in the Doc Ford series by New York Times–bestselling author Randy Wayne White. Doc Ford’s old friend, General Juan Garcia, has gone into the lucrative business of smuggling Cuban baseball players into the U.S. He is also feasting on profits made by buying historical treasures for pennies on the dollar. He prefers what dealers call HPC items— The remarkable new novel in the Doc Ford series by New York Times–bestselling author Randy Wayne White.   Doc Ford’s old friend, General Juan Garcia, has gone into the lucrative business of smuggling Cuban baseball players into the U.S. He is also feasting on profits made by buying historical treasures for pennies on the dollar. He prefers what dealers call HPC items—high-profile collectibles—but when he manages to obtain a collection of letters written by Fidel Castro between 1960–62 to a secret girlfriend, it’s not a matter of money anymore. Garcia has stumbled way out of his depth. First Garcia disappears, and then the man to whom he sold the letters. When Doc Ford begins to investigate, he soon becomes convinced that those letters contain a secret that someone, or some powerful agency, cannot allow to be made public. A lot happened between Cuba and the United States from 1960–62. Many men died. A few more will hardly be noticed.

30 review for Cuba Straits

  1. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    Sorry, there is no star lower than 1. I tried. I always read Randy Wayne White, but his books have been going downhill. I gave up early on. Too much Tomlinson - who is annoying. Too little continuity. Too weird (that is partly due to Tomlinson.) Weird topic that is not developed very well - I gave up before anyone went to Cuba because the characters so far were absolutely awful. I also reviewed it on Amazon. Looks like I am not alone. Amazon review: I am currently reading this, and I don't know if Sorry, there is no star lower than 1. I tried. I always read Randy Wayne White, but his books have been going downhill. I gave up early on. Too much Tomlinson - who is annoying. Too little continuity. Too weird (that is partly due to Tomlinson.) Weird topic that is not developed very well - I gave up before anyone went to Cuba because the characters so far were absolutely awful. I also reviewed it on Amazon. Looks like I am not alone. Amazon review: I am currently reading this, and I don't know if I will finish it. His books have been getting less enjoyable, especially the first Hannah Smith book. (My memory is not so great that I will guarantee I got her name right.) I am completely confused with this one so far and fear it will not get any better, but I will admit that I am no farther than Tomlinson and the baseball player wandering around Key West. Right now, the book is unpleasant to read. It is disjointed, odd, and meandering as much as Tomlinson, who I will admit is not my favorite character. I'll give it a couple more chapters. I can't believe how bad this seems. Awful!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Karla

    I have been a fan of Randy Wayne White for years and have read a majority of his Doc Ford books. When I won this ARC in a Goodreads drawing (and thanks for that) I was very excited. When I started reading this book, I was crestfallen. I was bored out of my mind and could have cared less about the plot. It jumped around and was hard to follow. I guess a writer can't please everyone and this is one book of his that I didn't enjoy.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Laurie Hartigan

    I agree with some of the other reviewers that this was just not up to the usual by this author. I found myself skimming just to get through it. Very disappointed.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Pam

    AUTHOR White, Randy Wayne TITLE: Cuba Straits DATE READ 02/16/2018 RATING 4/B GENRE/ PUB DATE/PUBLISHER / # OF Crime Fiction/2015/Putnam/8CD's SERIES/STAND-ALONE #22 CHARACTERS Doc Ford/marine biologist TIME/PLACE: 2015/FL and Cuba COMMENTS Normally, I love RWW's books, this one just didn't capture my total attention. I do enjoy reading about Florida and Cuba … the historical references to Castro, Bay of Pigs were all of interest. I guess the baseball part, which really isn't all that detailed just AUTHOR White, Randy Wayne TITLE: Cuba Straits DATE READ 02/16/2018 RATING 4/B GENRE/ PUB DATE/PUBLISHER / # OF Crime Fiction/2015/Putnam/8CD's SERIES/STAND-ALONE #22 CHARACTERS Doc Ford/marine biologist TIME/PLACE: 2015/FL and Cuba COMMENTS Normally, I love RWW's books, this one just didn't capture my total attention. I do enjoy reading about Florida and Cuba … the historical references to Castro, Bay of Pigs were all of interest. I guess the baseball part, which really isn't all that detailed just did not have a positive appeal for me. I am sure others would find this more enjoyable than me. A friend of Doc Ford's is involved in smuggling Cuban baseball players into the US as well as acquiring historical treasures to sell at massive profits…

  5. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    Cuba and Cuba/American relations are in a state of flux, as leadership changes and the decades-long embargo begins to soften. Randy Wayne White's Florida biologist (and former / occasional black ops specialist) Marion Ford is a natural protagonsit to explore some of the nuances of these changes, and the author delivers. (He tosses the current status of Russia and the Russian / Cuban relationship into the mix, as well.) White's usual 1st person narration is abandoned for a 3rd person viewpoint, Cuba and Cuba/American relations are in a state of flux, as leadership changes and the decades-long embargo begins to soften. Randy Wayne White's Florida biologist (and former / occasional black ops specialist) Marion Ford is a natural protagonsit to explore some of the nuances of these changes, and the author delivers. (He tosses the current status of Russia and the Russian / Cuban relationship into the mix, as well.) White's usual 1st person narration is abandoned for a 3rd person viewpoint, allowing for scenes featuring characters other than Doc Ford. He does manage to infuse the text with a flavor for the characters in the particular scene, whether it is our protagonist, his sidekick, Tomlinson, or one of the supporting characters or villains of the piece. (Be warned; it isn't quite clear until the end of the story which side of that line certain characters fall.) Toss in a revolutionary general with a love of baseball (no, not Fidel; neither he nor his brother make a direct appearance but their influence is certainly felt) and a possible defector shortstop with a temper to add flavor to the mix. Regular readers of Randy Wayne White's 21 previous Doc Ford novels had a preconceived notion as to what to expect from the author and the series – and it delivers. New readers do not need to have read any of the prior novels in this series to enjoy this book – but it may help. (Certain nuances of our main characters are not fully explained, based on an assumed prior knowledge on the part of the reader.) RATING: A solid 4. DISCLOSURE: I received this book free of charge from the publisher without obligation, although I'm sure that a fair and unbiased review would be appreciated.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Brette Sember

    I have read all the books in this series and usually love them. Once in a while I am disappointed. This is one of those times. The stuff about baseball was hard to get through but mostly I felt this book was a jumble with too many threads and not enough explanation it was also poorly proofed with many errors. I couldn't understand a lot of dialogue and has trouble following what was happening. I hope Doc Ford stays home in Florida next time and sticks to fish and the occasional bad guy.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    I won this book in a goodreads.com giveaway...thank you. From Amazon: "The remarkable new novel in the Doc Ford series by New York Times–bestselling author Randy Wayne White." It is definitely a remarkable book about Cuba and the United States from 1960 - 1962. There's smuggling/selling of Cuban baseball players, historical artifacts, and more. This is the first book I have read from Randy Wayne White but there will be lots more in my future. I highly recommend.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Wendy

    This was definitely not his best book. Having looked forward to another Doc Ford adventure, I was terribly disappointed in this one, very choppy and did not hold my attention.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Bonnieb

    I have a mixed reaction to this Doc Ford mystery of Randy Wayne White’s. I have always appreciated the mix of Florida craziness, science, environment, and spy thriller that White combines in his stories. This one, however, starts off slowly, with 2-3 plot threads going at the same time, with little character development, with me caring little about any of the people in the plot threads. Once both Ford and Tomlinson (always interesting characters in White’s stories) get to Cuba, the story I have a mixed reaction to this Doc Ford mystery of Randy Wayne White’s. I have always appreciated the mix of Florida craziness, science, environment, and spy thriller that White combines in his stories. This one, however, starts off slowly, with 2-3 plot threads going at the same time, with little character development, with me caring little about any of the people in the plot threads. Once both Ford and Tomlinson (always interesting characters in White’s stories) get to Cuba, the story improves. It is both humorous and interesting, including crazy people, Cuban baseball history and culture, and potential inside stories about both Fidel and Raul Castro. Did they have a secret mistress? Was she smart...or crazy? Was Figuerito her grandson? Russians are plentiful as well as their cars, their nuclear bomb shelters, their old KGB agents, their tactics, even their weapons. Doc Ford saves the right people, of course, in the end, with the help of old CIA equipment. QUICK READ!

  10. 4 out of 5

    David

    The amazing thing about Cuba Straits is how most of the characters, outside of the hero, Doc Ford, are all just a bit crazed and eccentric. This particular story has a baseball angle, but really centers on old documents and a number of crazies from Cuba. Ford, with a CIA background, sneaks into Cuba in hopes of rescuing his old friend-- but at the same time searching after love letters written by Fidel and Raul Castro, and a secret stash of motorcycles, machine guns, etc. which date back to the The amazing thing about Cuba Straits is how most of the characters, outside of the hero, Doc Ford, are all just a bit crazed and eccentric. This particular story has a baseball angle, but really centers on old documents and a number of crazies from Cuba. Ford, with a CIA background, sneaks into Cuba in hopes of rescuing his old friend-- but at the same time searching after love letters written by Fidel and Raul Castro, and a secret stash of motorcycles, machine guns, etc. which date back to the Revolution. Honestly, the craziness should have added flavor to the story, which was rather intriguing, but sadly, at times it is the craziness which assumes center stage and tends to interfere with the progression of the story. Sadly, this happens much too often for my taste. The mystery is slowly revealed and its resolution is finally attained. And, of course, it is a good mystery,.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Wyckliffe Howland

    Doc Ford and his sidekick, Tomlinson, take on the twisted KGB general and his sadistic minion in Cuba. Some interesting historical speculation, and, of course, lots of action. Doc, as usual, has relationship problems with women, he's almost found his true love, then he does something to sabotage it....

  12. 4 out of 5

    Robert Stephens

    My first Randy White 40+ years ago I read every Travis McGhee novel that John D MacDonald wrote and a few others. I've been a fan of Stuart Woods early genre but have grown tired of the predictable Stone Barrington. Randy White was referred to me by my broth in law. I initially didn't like this book because of the wordiness and told him so. I will apologize after I post this. I live in Florida, I love Florida and I love stories about Florida. I liked the ending very much.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Carl

    I used to eagerly await the latest Doc Ford book; now I dread them. Each novel just gets worse and worse and this is the last one for me. It started as a great series and then started getting more and more ridiculous, especially when Ford went on a mission with the ex-president of the United States, a former member of Ford's elite and top secret group of warriors. It seems as if White wants to be known as a "literary writer," not a mystery writer and a few books ago he tried to get more I used to eagerly await the latest Doc Ford book; now I dread them. Each novel just gets worse and worse and this is the last one for me. It started as a great series and then started getting more and more ridiculous, especially when Ford went on a mission with the ex-president of the United States, a former member of Ford's elite and top secret group of warriors. It seems as if White wants to be known as a "literary writer," not a mystery writer and a few books ago he tried to get more meaningful and layered. What the reader ends up with is a jumbled mess. This one brings in layers about the Castro brothers, baseball, Santeria, sexual abuse, radiation poisoning, diarrhea, Russia, sea turtles, and Cuban-American relations. None of the layers are fully fleshed out and the plot, which could have been interesting if developed, becomes buried under one ludicrous scenario after another. Tomlinson, who used to be a sharp character and a great counterpoint to Doc Ford, has become a stumbling buffoon with no animation or uniqueness. Ford has become a caricature of the early version and has the depth of a pulp novel hero. White needs to get back to basics - solid plot, interesting characters, and a straightforward story, not tossing out meaningless layers in a failed attempt to writer deeper mysteries. Finding the original plot is like trying to follow one thread of pasta in a bowl of spaghetti that has fallen twenty feet. In neither case, is the outcome worth the effort.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Shelly Donaghey

    CUBA STRAITS gets some of the fun it presents from being such a timely book. With relations between the U.S. and Cuba mellowing, this is the perfect time to write about our nearby neighbor. When writing about Cube there are several things to be included. Baseball, old cars, the castors, sugar cane fields, and more baseball have to be in the mix, not to mention senoritas, Cuba Libres, cigars and nights bathed by a full moon. This “Doc” Ford novel centers more on his pal Tomlinson and an CUBA STRAITS gets some of the fun it presents from being such a timely book. With relations between the U.S. and Cuba mellowing, this is the perfect time to write about our nearby neighbor. When writing about Cube there are several things to be included. Baseball, old cars, the castors, sugar cane fields, and more baseball have to be in the mix, not to mention senoritas, Cuba Libres, cigars and nights bathed by a full moon. This “Doc” Ford novel centers more on his pal Tomlinson and an undocumented Cuban shortstop who might also be a homicidal maniac, Huge Russian killers, brave little girls, 50 year old love letters and a pederast shaman. But the one thing this novel has is fun. The plot, such as it is, is more of a device to get all these people, and so many more, racing around at full bore, than it is to tell a cohesive story, although somehow Randy Wayne White manages to tie everything together in the end. This is another fine addition to the “Doc” Ford novels, timely but not preachy. And did I mention it is a lot of fun? I won this book through Goodreads.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

    Oh my, why do I keep reading his books? At first, with his earlier books, I actually enjoyed the ride...those were plots I could buy and the characters were interesting. But, has RWW "jumped the shark"? His books are more and more of a stretch. This time, I finished it and still didn't understand what the plot was, much less how it was resolved. Whether deliberately, or just because it's bad writing, I couldn't understand what the characters meant in conversations...are they so cool that I just Oh my, why do I keep reading his books? At first, with his earlier books, I actually enjoyed the ride...those were plots I could buy and the characters were interesting. But, has RWW "jumped the shark"? His books are more and more of a stretch. This time, I finished it and still didn't understand what the plot was, much less how it was resolved. Whether deliberately, or just because it's bad writing, I couldn't understand what the characters meant in conversations...are they so cool that I just don't get it? Maybe, or maybe the author needs a better editor. Anyway, I just couldn't follow along. I usually do get a kick out of the locations of White's books. I recognize many of the references because we spend time in the Sanibel/ Fort Myers area frequently...we even have met one of the guys a character was modeled after. But, the Cuban location in this book didn't even give me that. I guess I need to give up on Randy, but...will I?

  16. 4 out of 5

    Wendy Hearder-moan

    I had to read this book twice: the first time, quickly, to find out what would happen, and the second time to try and figure out why and how. I'm still not convinced that the author provides sufficient clues to explain how Doc Ford pulls off the amazing denouement. Of course it doesn't help that a lot of the action is described through the eyes of two guys who are stoned most of the time. Plus the plot hinges on hints and innuendo, such as rumours about the Castro boys' private lives including I had to read this book twice: the first time, quickly, to find out what would happen, and the second time to try and figure out why and how. I'm still not convinced that the author provides sufficient clues to explain how Doc Ford pulls off the amazing denouement. Of course it doesn't help that a lot of the action is described through the eyes of two guys who are stoned most of the time. Plus the plot hinges on hints and innuendo, such as rumours about the Castro boys' private lives including their prowess, or lack of it, at baseball--which oddly, takes on a greater importance that what they may or may not have known about Lee Harvey Oswald. Nevertheless, I obviously wouldn't have read it twice if I wasn't enjoying it. Doc Ford is a great character: the right blend of macho super-hero and sensitive new-age guy.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jackie

    'I am a huge fan of Doc Ford and the Captiva area based books. I usually listen to books on tape as I have a long commute, or I read the print version. With this book, I listened, and as hard as I concentrated, I could not make sense of who was who or what was going on. The story jumped all over and although I hope to visit Cuba someday, I was not a fan of this story being based in Cuba. I guess I like the familiar as I have been to Captiva several times and love it. But the real problem was the 'I am a huge fan of Doc Ford and the Captiva area based books. I usually listen to books on tape as I have a long commute, or I read the print version. With this book, I listened, and as hard as I concentrated, I could not make sense of who was who or what was going on. The story jumped all over and although I hope to visit Cuba someday, I was not a fan of this story being based in Cuba. I guess I like the familiar as I have been to Captiva several times and love it. But the real problem was the flow of the story - couldn't wait to get to the end.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    Cuba Straits is one of the best Doc Ford novels ever. The novel is rich with colorful characters of all ages, shapes, and sizes. Much of the dialogue is funny as can be. The suspense and surprises keep coming, and the writing, while seeming deceptively simple, is truly beautiful. Readers shouldn't expect that this book is about baseball; baseball plays a part, but one doesn't need to be a fan of that sport to enjoy this tale. The scenery is fabulous, from the quaint Castaways Cottages on Sanibel Cuba Straits is one of the best Doc Ford novels ever. The novel is rich with colorful characters of all ages, shapes, and sizes. Much of the dialogue is funny as can be. The suspense and surprises keep coming, and the writing, while seeming deceptively simple, is truly beautiful. Readers shouldn't expect that this book is about baseball; baseball plays a part, but one doesn't need to be a fan of that sport to enjoy this tale. The scenery is fabulous, from the quaint Castaways Cottages on Sanibel to the haunted landscape of Cuba. Enjoy!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    As a real fan of Randy Wayne White's Doc Ford series, I was happy to find Doc Ford and Tomlinson back and in fine form! I quite enjoyed this tale of Cuba,Cubans,Russians and a Fidel -JFK conspiracy theory. And the baseball historical references are delicious. Can't wait for the next.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Rick

    I liked the premise --the Havana Sugar Kings baseball team 1959, Fidel and Raul Castro's early days, Key West, modern day Havana, smuggled Cuban baseball players, KGB leftovers -- way better than the book. One good line from Doc Ford: "Coincidence is no accident."

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Dickison

    Not one of the better Doc Ford books. Way too much Tomlinson and his seemingly permanently stoned friend. Story was almost incoherent at times and simply didn't flow very well. Let's hope that White gets back on track with this series in the future.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Tara

    I jumped in late in this series but still really enjoyed it, despite it being far from my usual genres of choice. Thanks for another awesome Goodreads giveaway.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Barb

    Great Doc Ford book. Classic Doc Ford audible book. Tomlinson his usual insane self. A great listen on a long drive. Surprise ending as usual.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Donna

    Descriptions of Cuba and historical perspective made for an interesting Doc Ford and Tomlinson adventure away from Sanibel. Introduction of some new characters as well.

  25. 4 out of 5

    retronerd Steinkuehler

    Disappointing. Used to be good but am tired of it now.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    I read about 60 pages, and couldn't make sense out of anything that I read.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Hillis

    Great thriller about Cuba!! Doc Ford is a true hero!!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Tucki

    I enjoyed the earlier Doc Ford stories more.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Lindsey Lane

    Awful. Horrible. Hours of my life I'll never get back.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    Not up to his usual standard.

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