Food editor Estabrook's fast-paced first novel is generally amusing, occasionally touching and always entertaining. Rev. Miles Farnsworth has a problem: the Vale, the small mission he runs for the Savior Network in the Bahamas, is in serious financial trouble. Thanks to his brother Ira's bad investments, Miles must come up with $500,000 to save the mission. Stormy Lake, a charming but quirky expatriate American, has been left a map by her murdered lover disclosing the location of approximately $1 million's worth of cocaine. But the drugs have already been found by a mildly retarded young man. He believes the coke is flour and has hidden it for Miles who, he expects, can sell it to save the Vale. Enter ``Fat Boy,'' a Bahamian policeman willing to use violence to get his hands on the contraband. Series of double- and triple-crosses, a few surprises at the end and a cast of offbeat but likable characters add up to a thoroughly engaging tale. (Oct.)
Magazine editor Estabrook looks at the Bahama Islands from an entirely different perspective. His unique characters have more depth, more verve, more substance than Berry's do. They may deal in the usual drug-running schemes, but their adventurous, double-dealing antics have a spicier flavor. When lusty and free-wheeling Stormy Lake loses her man and her boat to a drug deal gone wrong, she plots revenge with the aid of a charismatic (and rum-loving) preacher and a crazy lesbian pilot. Adventurous suspense rather than mystery.
James Beard Award-winning journalist Barry Estabrook was a contributing editor at Gourmet magazine for eight years, writing investigative articles about where food comes from. He was the founding editor of Eating Well magazine and has written for the New York Times Magazine, Reader's Digest, Men's Health, Audubon, and the Washington Post, and contributes regularly to The Atlantic Monthly's website. His work has been anthologized in the Best American Food Writing series, and he has been interviewed on numerous television and radio shows.