Excerpt from Everglades by Randy Wayne White, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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by Randy Wayne White

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  • First Published:
    Jun 2003, 320 pages
    Jun 2004, 384 pages

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Izzy knew everything.

Shiva sighed and said, "Okay, okay, so why should we be worried about her two friends on some island? Where’d you say she went?"

Izzy said, "She sent her cousin an e-mail, said she’s driving to Sanibel today."

"An e-mail. You have access to her computer? Or did you break into her house?"

Izzy had broken into her house. Several times; twice in the last week. He enjoyed going through her drawers. He’d found a couple of fun items hidden away. But he said, "No. I hacked her password. The one friend she’s going to see, I think you’ve probably heard about. Which’s why I’m telling you. A guy named Sighurdhr Tomlinson. Or Sea-guard, I’m not sure how you pronounce it."

"Sighurdhr Tomlinson," Shiva said, considering it, but not giving it his full attention. "The name sounds familiar."

"Remember Miami River, the archaeological site where you tried to build the condo complex? That group of protesters who futzed it? Eco-freaks, all the shitty PR they caused. How many millions’d we lose on that one?"

Shiva was nodding now. "Okay, yes, I know who you mean. He was with the protestors, one of the leaders. I remember one of my advisors telling me—not you—that he was a kook. Like most of them. A heavy drug user. That’s the information I got."

Izzy said, "Really? That’s all? There’s more. You know me, I’m a fanatic when it comes to background checks."

Shiva said, "I don’t think I’m interested."

Izzy said, "I think you should be."

"Why? I don’t see the point."

"Because what I found out about this guy is kind of interesting. For instance: Fifteen, twenty years ago, he was implicated in a terrorist bombing at a U.S. naval base. Killed a couple of people."

That got Shiva’s attention. "Really. A bombing. Hum-m-m-m." Thinking about it, how the information could be used.

"Yeah, but he skated. The feds didn’t nail ’im. I’m not sure why yet. I’m still working on that. There had to be a reason."

"But there’s a record?"

"Not official, but it’s there if you dig deep enough."

"Is there anything for him to find out about Geoff?"

"Maybe. I don’t know if the guy was being straight with us or not. It’s possible he hid away some papers. Or maybe he had a secret friend. Who knows? What I’m saying is, we’re both screwed if his wife figures out what really happened."

Izzy was standing at the bedroom’s east window, looking over the tops of coconut palms, out onto the Atlantic. Seeing jade sea bottom beyond the beach, and a border of purple water way out where a couple of oceangoing freighters moved like long slabs of concrete, floating: the Gulf Stream.

Beneath Izzy, parked on the blue tile drive, were two Rolls-Royces: a 1923 Silver Ghost, and a ’31 Landaulette, painted racing green. Shiva loved them; collected them. Maybe because he was born upper caste, in India, British-made cars seemed to represent something. Izzy wasn’t sure what.

Less than five years ago, Shiva had owned twenty-three Rollses. But he’d been selling them off—Izzy was one of the few who knew about it—plus some property, some businesses, to augment the organization’s sagging cash flow.

His church was in trouble, and the guy was desperate. Izzy knew that, too.

Something else Izzy had realized after all these years with Shiva: All religion was bullshit. Religion was nothing more than legend manipulated by carefully staged illusions.

It was his personal water-into-wine theory.

Shiva said, "His wife, the attractive blonde—what’s her name?"

"Sally. Yeah, she’s a looker."

"Has Sally ever met you? Does she know who you are?"

From Everglades by Randy Wayne White, copyright © 2003 Randy Wayne White, published by G. P. Putnam's Sons, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., all rights reserved, reprinted with permission from the publisher.

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