Death in the Everglades, the seventh book by Randi Minetor in the nonfiction series about real people who die in national parks, dives deep into the murky waters of South Florida to find the most gripping, notorious, and confounding tales of death and disaster in the river of grass.
Hidden in the tall sawgrass and shallow waters of the Florida Everglades are true tales of mysterious deaths, clandestine crime, and natural and manmade disasters. Desperados fled here after escaping from prison, rum runners gunned down their enemies, and killers slipped their prey into canals. Commercial airlines crashed and burned in the muck. Hurricanes tore through the region, forcing Lake Okeechobee to overrun its banks and wipe out entire towns. And every once in a while, an alligator made someone its lunch.
Whether the deaths were caused by natural forces, crime, operator error, or human folly, Minetor plumbed newspaper accounts, court transcripts, local lore, airline accident reports, police investigations, and obscure references to find the truth behind the stories. She details the scarce facts around historic criminals Edgar J. Watson and John Ashley, the circumstances that led to four deadly jet disasters, the early dangers of Alligator Alley for incautious motorists and bus drivers, and the chilling murders of police chief W.F. Hutto (still unsolved), Judge Curtis Chillingworth, Lorraine Hatzakorian, and Marissa Karp, among others.
The author of Death in Glacier National Park, Death in Zion National Park, Death in Rocky Mountain National Park, Death in Acadia, Death on Katahdin, and Death on Mount Washington, Minetor approached the Everglades with a broader brush, finding few deadly accidents in the national park itself, but many in the region as a whole. “I really thought this book would be about alligators,” she begins, telling us that she soon found that the Everglades are among the most popular body dump sites in the United States.
“I write these books for one reason: so that people visiting national parks and other wild places will know what hazards they may encounter, and what mistakes others have made that cost them their lives,” Minetor said. “In the Everglades, there are no mountains to fall from—but there are canals where bodies and even entire cars can vanish, and tall grasses that can conceal trails and roads. The more people know, the less likely they are to take that wrong turn and disappear.”
Randi Minetor is the author of more than 80 traditionally published nonfiction books. She writes on national parks, birds and birding, gardening, travel, hiking and touring her native New York State, and on general interest topics ranging from psychology to food ingredient controversies. Her husband, photographer Nic Minetor, supplies the photos for her guidebooks, including the haunting sunset on the cover of Death in the Everglades, shot at Pah-Hay-Okee in Everglades National Park
Death in the Everglades ($24.95, 260 pages, 6 x 9, paperback, ISBN: 978-1493065981) is also available as an ebook. It can be purchased from all online bookstores or from National Book Network at (800) 462-6420. Follow the author on Facebook @minetorbooks, or visit her website at minetor.com.