Thursday, July 29, 2010




Living in Key West, Florida, T. D. Stash is a professional fishing guide and an unlicensed detective. Apparently, the author came up with the idea for the series after he “built a houseboat in the Keys and saw the local denizens up close and personal.” I’d say it’s possible the real reason was an attempt – not necessarily unsuccessful – to emulate the success and style of Travis McGee, the original beach bum detective.

There were three books in the T.D. Stash series:


Drugs, dames, death – a bubbling brew of danger in the Florida keys.

A kidnapping, a country music star, and a psycho loose in the mangroves.

Keys To Trouble

A young kid in over his head in the kind of snow that doesn’t melt but kills. An aging rock star running out of voice and money. His Brit wife, as beautiful, cold and cutting as an icicle. A female cabdriver who turned the meter off when it came to sex. A local lawman who played by the rules and a narc who made his own. A woman painter who liked her landscapes bare and her men nude. A kidnapping that was either real or faked, and a corpse that couldn’t be denied.

T. D. Stash thought he had seen everything in anything-goes Key West. But the laid-back fishing guide, sometimes private eye, was wrong. And unless he got to the bottom of drugs, deceit, greed and sex, he would wind up dead . . .


Sunken gold becomes blood money in a gulf stream storm of sex and slaying.

A con man, an underwater treasure hunt, and a hurricane.

The Rosario, a Spanish galleon loaded with gold, sank four centuries ago off the Florida Keys. Now a smooth-as-silk-tongued treasure hunter named Harper King said he had the key to finding that fortune, with a lot of other people’s money. And it was up to T. D. Stash, laid-back fishing guide and part-time detective operating out of Key West, to put on his sleuthing cap, climb into diving gear, and plunge into the depths of a mystery where hammerhead sharks below the surface were nothing compared the human ones above it. In less time than a hurricane could wink its eye, Stash was deeply immersed in a case of ghoulish greed where sex was the ultimate sales pitch and death the final payoff. . .


One of the best since Travis McGee.

Rapacious developers, killer alligators, a murderous femme fatale, and an eight-year-old girl who is 'tough enough' to take on her mother's killers - with the help of our intrepid hero. Set in Key West and the Everglades.

Swamp Fever

T. D. Stash, part-time sleuth, was over his cool head in dirty business in the Everglades: There was an adorable little girl who claimed her loving father wanted her to be an adorable corpse . . . a tycoon who bred killer alligators for profit and pleasure . . . a sex kitten with skin you’d love to touch and claws you didn’t want to feel . . . a pair of twin sadists who offered a double dose of pain for your money. And as Stash cast his line for the savage secret below the surface of the swampland, the fever of fear rose in direct proportion to death’s chilling revelations . . .

While these are out of print, they can still be found via the usual used book sources on the Internet. While somewhat derivative, any of T.D. Stash’s adventures can provide pleasurable diversion while not adding anything new to the genre.

My suggestion, however, would be to return to the source of this type of adventure by pulling out your battered copies of John D. McDonald’s Travis McGee tales, or even Randy Wayne White’s original Dusky MacMorgan series (originally written under the pen name Randy Striker) starting with The Key West Connection.


Iren said...

I used to have a copy of the first book, that Desert Eagle on the cover sold the teen version of me on it, and recall trying to read the book but never getting into it. Funny you should mention John D MacDonald, I'm reading one of his books each month this year and am at the point when I can't think of Florida crime/ pulp novels without thinking of him.

George said...

Finally, a series I actually own and have read! Yes, the T. D. Stash books followed the Travis McGee formula, but they had charm.

Evan Lewis said...

Looks like these were targeted at Miami Vice fans.

Rodman Philbrick said...

I'm sure my publisher had 'Miami Vice' in mind for the covers, although the first novel was submitted before the TV show actually came out. And yes, I've always been a John D. MacDonald fan and loved the Travis McGee series. But the notion of a detective as a Key West fishing guide really started with Thomas McGuane's 'Ninety-two In The Shade'. His protagonist was a fishing guide wannabe and I had worked for a number of years as a boat builder. It seemed like a good fit at the time. Glad to hear that these books still find the occasional reader.
Rodman Philbrick AKA W.R.Philbrick, William R. Dantz, Chris Jordan