Read Gone Online

Authors: Randy Wayne White

Gone

ALSO BY RANDY WAYNE WHITE

Sanibel Flats

The Heat Islands

The Man Who Invented Florida

Captiva

North of Havana

The Mangrove Coast

Ten Thousand Islands

Shark River

Twelve Mile Limit

Everglades

Tampa Burn

Dead of Night

Dark Light

Hunter’s Moon

Black Widow

Dead Silence

Deep Shadow

Night Vision

Chasing Midnight

NONFICTION

 

Randy Wayne White’s Ultimate Tarpon Book

(with Carlene Fredericka Brennen)

Batfishing in the Rainforest

The Sharks of Lake Nicaragua

Last Flight Out

An American Traveler

Randy Wayne White’s Gulf Coast Cookbook

(with Carlene Fredericka Brennen)

Tarpon Fishing in Mexico and Florida (An Introduction)

FICTION AS RANDY STRIKER

 

Key West Connection

The Deep Six

Cuban Death-Lift

The Deadlier Sex

Assassin’s Shadow

Grand Cayman Slam

Everglades Assault

G. P. PUTNAM’S SONS

Publishers Since 1838

Published by the Penguin Group

Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA

Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)

Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

Penguin Ireland, 25 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd)

Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty Ltd)

Penguin Books India Pvt Ltd, 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi–110 017, India

Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, North Shore 0632, New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd)

Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd, 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa

Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

Copyright © 2012 by Randy Wayne White

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.

Published simultaneously in Canada

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

White, Randy Wayne.

Gone / Randy Wayne White.

p. cm.

ISBN 978-1-101-59943-3

1. Fishing guides—Fiction. 2. Women fishers—Fiction. 3. Florida—Fiction. I. Title.

PS3573.H47473G66 2012 2012024087

813'.54—dc23

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, businesses, companies, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

While the author has made every effort to provide accurate telephone numbers and Internet addresses at the time of publication, neither the publisher nor the author assumes any responsibility for errors, or for changes that occur after publication. Further, the publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.

For Georgia Wilson White, and the iron-willed Wilson sisters of Rockingham, N.C.: Johnsie, JoAnn, Judy, Della Sue, Vera, Authorena, and my dear Aunt Jewel

The Ox Woman (Sarah McLain Smith) had blue eyes and wore her hair in a bun at the back of her neck, as did many women at that time. She was always polite and well-spoken, behaved as a lady, and was grateful for anything that was done for her. There was no record of her ever having misused her great strength to injure anyone, or do harm.

—Phil Philcox and Beverly Boe,
The Sunshine State Almanac and Book of Florida-Related Stuff

Pain is an inescapable part of the human experience. Misery, however, is not. Misery is an option.

—S. M. Tomlinson,
One Fathom Above Sea Level

DISCLAIMER

 

Sanibel and Captiva Islands are real places, faithfully described but used fictitiously in this novel. The same is true of certain businesses, marinas, churches, and other locations mentioned in this book. Hannah and Sarah Smith are icons in Florida’s history and did exist. However, their relationship to characters in this novel is the author’s invention and purely fictional.

In all other respects, however, this novel is a work of fiction. Names (unless used by permission), characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or to actual events or locales is unintentional and coincidental.

Contact Mr. White at WWW.DOCFORD.COM

AUTHOR’S NOTE

 

As a writer, I still enjoy advantages gained by growing up in rural areas where isolation and boredom were relentless motivators and keys to the limitless worlds that lie between covers, not coasts. Better yet, my isolation was split between bipolar geographies: farms in the Midwest and my maternal home of Richmond County, N.C., a solid place of cotton mills, tobacco, cotton and truck farming (of the vegetable variety), and some of the finest people I’ve known. The fact that many of these fine people were also my aunts, uncles, and cousins only added to the richness of a Midwestern and Deep South childhood that practically guaranteed that, even if I had failed as a writer, I was bound to succeed at
something
. My Mother, Georgia Wilson White, would not have tolerated anything less, nor would my sweet-natured aunts and charming, tough uncles, most of whom quit school to work in the mills or the field (which only accelerated their love of learning). And my Grandmother Rilla Nay Wilson? The woman did not brook fools, nor the lazy-witted, and she carried a pistol for a reason.

I share this because I feel a great affection for Hannah Smith, the protagonist of this novel, which is rooted in family stories and the music of Southern voices. My mother and her sisters were not only natural-born independent thinkers, they were (and are)
hilarious
. If Hannah’s voice has a lyrical, authentic ring, the credit goes to the Wilson sisters of Hamlet and Rockingham, N.C.—most especially my late Aunt Jewel, who was by far the wittiest writer our family has produced.

Special thanks also go to: Ivan Held and Neil Nyren for entrusting Hannah to me; Wendy Webb, my companion, adviser, and friend; Mrs. Iris Tanner, a guardian angel; partners and pals Mark Marinello and Marty and Brenda Harrity; Dr. J. M. Miller, Capt. Mark Futch, Capt. Glenn Pace; my teammates Stu Johnson, Bill Lee, Gary Terwilliger, Don Carman, Victor Candelaria, Dr. Brian Hummel, and all of my Wilson family, especially my cousins Rev. Kearny, Robin, Kay, Tony, Debbie, Jimmy, Brenda, Roxanne, Jean, John, Jeanette, Tommy, Carla, Capt. John, Vickie, Bobby, Butch, Sandy, Dr. Doug, Cindy Sue, Sharon, Christy, John, Crystal, and Angie.

Much of this novel was written at corner tables before and after hours at Doc Ford’s Rum Bar and Grille, on Sanibel Island and on San Carlos Island, where staff were tolerant beyond the call of duty. Thanks go to Debbie Bubley, Raynauld Bentley, Dan Howes, Brian Cunningham, Mojito Greg Barker, Liz Harris, Capt. Bryce Randall Harris, Milita Kennedy, Sam Khussan Ismatullaev, Olga Jearrard, Rachel Songalewski of Michigan, Jean Crenshaw, Amanda Gardana, Rodriguez, Bette Roberts, Amazing Cindy Porter, Ethan Salley, Fernando Garrido, Greg Barker, Jessica Shell, Jim Rainville, Kevin Filowich, Kimberly McGonnell, Laurie Yakubov, Lisa Reynolds, Michelle Boninsegna, Sarah DeGeorge, Shawn Scott and Dale Hempseed, and master chef Chris Zook.

At the Rum Bar on San Carlos Island, Fort Myers Beach, thanks go to Kandice Salvador, Herberto Ramos, Brian Obrien, lovelies Latoya Trotta, Magen Wooley, Meghan Miller, Meredith Mullins, Nicole Hinchcliffe, Nora Billheimer, Ali Pereira, and Andrea Aguayo, Brian Sarfati, Catherine Mawyer, Corey Allen, Crissy McCain, Deon Schoeman, Dusty Rickards, Erin Montgomery, Jacqi Schultz, Justin Dorfman, Keil Fuller, Kerra Pike, Kevin Boyce, Kevin Tully, Kim Aylesworth, Kylie Pryll, Patrick John, Robert Deiss, Sally Couillard, Steve Johnson, Sue Mora, and Tiffany Forehand.

Finally, I would like to thank my two sons, Rogan and Lee White, for helping me finish, yet again, another book.

 

—Randy Wayne White

Casa de Chico’s

Sanibel Island, Florida

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