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This stylish debut novel from poet White (The Salt Hour) brings to mind John D. MacDonald's Florida noirs, but with a modern sensibility. In 1983, after a three-year absence, high school dropout Matt Younger, 30, returns to his parents' cottage on Amelia Island, Fla. The family's discontent stems from the earlier drowning of Matt's older brother, Hale, the "family god." Matt's father, Jack, is dying of congestive heart failure while his mother, Emily, is exhausted from around-the-clock caregiving. Relieving his mother, Matt updates Jack on his shady adventures as the self-styled "king of all sailing fools." Working as a skipper, Matt was hired to pilot a boat from Florida to St. Thomas and en route takes up cocaine running for drug lord Jimmy Q, eventually stealing $2 million worth of coke. But when he docks in the Dominican Republic for repairs, his real troubles begin, in the form of deliciously nasty femme fatale Jesse Dove and Matt's love interest, local hooker Rosario Estrella. White's vivid prose, layered plot line and detailed acumen of Caribbean sailing all boost his impressive yarn above run-of-the-mill noirs. (Sept.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.