Blood Tide Reviews
Sam Wallace arrives in Sarasota, FL from Boston at loose ends, having recently gone through a divorce and lost his college teaching position. With his dog, Henry and his classic 1969 Mercedes 280SE convertible Sam looks forward to a new beginning. He soon encounters a series of events that lead to love, blackmail, and murder.
With each person he meets the mystery behind three consecutive murders begins to unravel. Sam’s love interest, marine biologist Dr. Jennifer Belding, finds herself in peril due to her research on a virulent strain of red tide that might have serious repercussions on the area’s economy as the tourist season approaches.
A parade of wacky Florida characters all have axes to grind concerning Jennifer’s research and Sam’s poking around into things that are better left alone. The plot vibrates with suspense and danger to both Sam and Jennifer until the book’s surprising climax.
Praise for Blood Tide:
Welcome to the John D. MacDonald Club
Bob Morrison, reviewer, Sarasota Herald Tribune
For the past few years, following the trail so lovingly blazed by John D. MacDonald, Randy Wayne White has owned the franchise as teller-of-tales about Florida’s West Coast barrier islands.
His protagonist, Doc Ford, is a former government agent turned supplier of biological specimens, headquartered at the fictional Dikin’s Bay on the non-fictional Sanibel Island.
But with the publication of Wayne Barcomb’s Blood Tide, Doc Ford no longer has the territory to himself
Like Ford, Sam Wallace is on the run from his past.
He has gone through a messy divorce and lost his cherished faculty position at Whatley College in Boston. Sam needs to get away to charge his batteries and refurbish his psyche. He packs up his prized 1960 Mercedes 280SE and, with his dog Henry, heads to Florida to take advantage of a friend’s offer of a condominium in “Paradise Towers” on the beach on Siesta Key.
Barcomb, a Sarasota resident for 11 years, touches all the bases in Blood Tide from the sunshine, white sand and palm trees, to dictatorial condo associations, real estate developers, the newly rich as they claw their way up Sarasota’s social ladder at artsy parties at “Mickey’s on West.”
Sam becomes smitten with Jennifer Belding, a red tide researcher at the “Galt” Marine Laboratory and is befriended by Mike Rossi, a rough hewn dealer in exotic automobiles.
When Rossi is murdered, Sam falls back on his four years as a Boston police officer and begins his own investigation. This brings him to a confrontation with Diane Lewis, Sarasota’s Sheriffs Department Investigator.
Lewis doesn’t like Sam’s horning in at first, but eventually realizes Sam can be helpful and slowly eases him into the investigation.
Then two more murders take place. Are they related to the Rossi killing? Is developer Jimbo Conlon, charged with the murders, really guilty? Sam continues to pursue the investigation, spurred by his realization that Jennifer’s life may be in danger.
The plot shifts into hyperdrive and Barcomb tosses enough red herrings into the mix to keep you guessing. The tale reaches a crescendo with a pair of unexpected denouements.
The book’s conclusion suggests there will be more Sam Wallace adventures to come. If Barcomb can maintain the pacing and clever plotting of Blood Tide, they will be a welcome addition to the genre.
Sarasota Herald Tribune
“ Welcome to the John D. MacDonald Club….with the publication of Blood Tide Doc Ford (Randy Wayne White) no longer has the territory to himself.”
“Blood Tide is a compelling story, swiftly told, without a false note.”
--Robert Parker, author of the Spencer Series
Blood Tide offers many extraordinary possibilities
Kim Cool Features Editor, Venice Gondolier
Not since I was a college kid reading the Ravis McGee series of novels by John D. MacDonald, has a Sarasota writer so intrigued me as has Wayne Barcomb, author of Blood Tide, recently published by Hot House Press.
Sam Wallace, a college professor given his walking papers by a Boston college at about the same time he had caught his wife in a compromising position, discovers more than white sugar sand beaches when he borrows a friend’s condo for a few months of R&R in Sarasota.
Soon caught up in a social scene that includes some nouveau riche characters, socialites of one type and another, professional and amateur fund-raisers, assorted hustlers and developers, Sam suddenly finds himself enmeshed in a murder even as he is preparing for his first date since his divorce.
That the object of his affections is a scientist at a Mote-like marine laboratory adds yet another layer of intrigue to this page turner, especially when the scientist’s house guest is murdered in a possible case of mistaken identity.
It helps that Sam has experience in law enforcement and also seems to be able to talk his way out of troubles as easily as he can become involved in problem situations.
You don’t have to know Sarasota well to enjoy this book. I was always fascinated with McGee and his boat, the Busted Flush, even though I knew little of McGee’s city. But, if you like to dine at Michael’s on East or the Summerhouse, walk the beach on Siesta Key, this book will be even more fun. Some places are thinly veiled with names slightly changed, like “Mickey’s on West,” others are given their real names - resulting in chuckles either way for this reader, as well as a question or two about why the author bothered to change place names at all.
The suspense is handed out in measured doses resulting a great read that has me waiting for the sequel.
“In Blood Tide Barcomb has written a smooth, suspenseful novel that goes down like fine bourbon. Besides interesting characters and a solid complex plot, the author has captured vividly the sun and sin, culture and crassness, big money and bigger dreams that make up sunny Sarasota.”
John Lutz, author of Single White Female, Edgar award winner, and past president, Mystery Writers of America
“Wayne Barcomb gets better with each book. With Blood Tide he has clearly found his voice and produced a thriller that can stand with the best.”
Stuart M. Kaminsky, author, Midnight Pass, Vengeance, and Retribution
“Wayne Barcomb's new thriller is filled with the kinds of characters, settings and situations that make Florida-and Sarasota-unique.”
Susan Rife, editor, Sarasota Herald-Tribune
“A new entry into The Florida Mystery genre with the mixture of suspense, color, and commentary that made John D. Mac Donald’s Travis McGee Series so popular.”
Steve Johnson, screenwriter and author Dawn’s Early Light
“Barcomb takes us on a dark, tense trip that never stops moving toward its surprising and satisfying denouement.”
Howard Kaminsky, author and former President/Publisher of Warner Books, Random House, and William Morrow/Avon
Read a chapter from Blood Tide