For me, this is where it all started. John D. MacDonald wrote 21 novels in the Travis McGee series. This is his first. Written in 1964, much of MacDonald’s musings on the over development of south Florida and the Florida lifestyle throughout the series, are still applicable today. I have every one of the 21, all well-worn, after many readings. Imagine my disappointment when, at 16, I drove to Bahia Mar Marina in Fort Lauderdale and found that there was no slip F18 and no boat named the Busted Flush.
James W. Hall is one of my all-time favorite Florida writers. He has the ability to make the reader see Florida as it is today, with all its development and problems, but to also see it as it once was. This is his first novel in the “Thorn” series. There’s quite a bit of Thorn’s dna in my main character, Jesse McDermitt.
Carl Hiassen develops characters like nobody else on the planet. They’re strange, quirky, and sometimes just plain frightening. Imagine a man with an amputated arm that uses a weed whacker for a prosthetic, or a one eyed ex-Governor of Florida who lives in the swamp and eats road kill. Tourist Season is a great place to start.
Randy Wayne White is the best-selling author of the very popular Doc Ford series. Sanibel Flats is the first in that series. But, if you want to see his earlier work, check this one out. I first found this series in the early 1980s, before I ever wrote the short stories that later became Fallen Palm and Fallen Hunter. My main character, Jesse McDermitt, has a bit of Dusky MacMorgan and Doc Ford in him.
Michael Reisig is an independent author like myself. His books are some of the finest I’ve ever read. He can create sceneries with words in the readers mind that is as vivid as any photograph. Michael helped me along as I was writing my second novel. This is his first book in the Road to Key West series.
“Hetta Coffey has a yacht and she’s not afraid to use it.” Jinx’s Hetta Coffey series is one of my favorites. Hetta gives up her landlubber ways and joins the cruising set, south of the border in the Sea of Cortez. But, not before finding her ex literally poached in her hot tub and losing the only one that ever loved her unconditionally. Her dog RJ. You can call me Ray or you can call me Jay, or you can call me RJ, but you doesn’t have to call me Johnson. A really fun read, with a nautical flair.
I was first introduced to this author in an online forum for writers and out of curiosity, I bought her first book, a romance. A fantastic story, but lost in the vast sea of that genre. She’s since turned her talent toward suspense. Being a native Floridian, she set her new Forgotten Coast Series in the panhandle of the Sunshine State, which means I devour them when they’re published. Take a little trip with Dawn down to Apalachicola. You won’t be sorry.
Tricia is another newcomer on the Florida suspense scene, but has a long track record in other genres. This is her first book in what promises to be a fun series to read.