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

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Everglades

by Randy Wayne White

Everglades by Randy Wayne White
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     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Jun 2003, 320 pages
    Paperback:
    Jun 2004, 384 pages

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"No."

"What about Tomlinson?"

"Nope."

"Okay, they’re old friends. That’s what you said. Sometimes old friends, a man and a woman, they just run off and disappear."

Kline knew what Shiva meant by "disappear." Shiva had paid him bonuses to do it before, and he’d actually kind of enjoyed himself the one time it was a woman. But something about the way Shiva said it now irked him—like it was no big deal; grunt work any idiot could pull off.

Izzy called Shiva by his real name on those occasions when he wanted to underscore the fact that he didn’t much give a damn about the man’s religious act, or who paid his salary. He used the name now, saying, "Brilliant, Jerry. But she’s going to visit two guys, not just one. So maybe what you can do is perform another one of your miracles. Snap your fingers, make all three of them disappear. How’s that sound?"

Shiva ignored the sarcasm. "This hippie, even if she does try to get him involved—someone like him? I don’t see the problem. So tell me about the second guy."

"He’s a marine biologist named Ford. Marion D. Ford. Lives on Sanibel Island at a place called Dinkin’s Bay Marina. Same place as Tomlinson. Ford sells marine specimens."

"Marine specimens."

"Um-huh. Like to colleges and labs. For research, that sort of thing."

Shiva waited through a few beats of silence, before he said, "That’s it? Your background check didn’t turn up anything else —"

There was a polite knock at the door. Shiva paused, checked his watch again. Time for his massage. He said, "Leave now. The women are here."

Kline said, "Exactly my point. With all the data banks and my resources, that’s all there was: where Ford lives, the name of his company, where he graduated from college, some research papers. They play in some baseball league. Nothing else.

"The guy’s alive, he exists, but never really lived. He’s like an empty body walking."

Shiva smiled, then began to laugh, waving Izzy toward the door, "Baseball. A children’s game. You’re wasting my time for this? If a biologist and some pothead worry you, maybe you’ve been in the business too long. Get out of here. We’ll talk again when I’m through."

Izzy was remembering a maxim he’d learned at the Mossad training complex in the suburbs of Tel Aviv—Beware the man without a past—as he considered saying to Bhagwan Shiva, You really don’t get it, do you?

Not that he was concerned about a man he’d never met, or the woman, or anyone else. It was Shiva’s attitude that bothered him, the indifference. Like he was really beginning to believe the lie he’d been telling followers for years: I am the truth, and the truth is invincible.

Izzy walked toward the door, thinking, You’re not invincible, asshole. And you’re not taking me down with you....

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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