Jack Dillon is a bookstore owner in midlife who decides to sail his 27' boat around the coast of Florida to research and write a coastel cookbook. His journey takes him to old friends and new strangers and he has a writer's eye for the things he experiences. Early in his journey he meets and falls for Jewels, a beautiful but troubled woman who decides to join him on his trip. Shortly after, the two are kidnapped during a jewelry store robbery. The perpetrator is a violent murderer who is on a crime spree in the company of his wife and small son. Jack and Jewels manage to escape but not before Jewels takes the young boy, who she had seen abused by his violent father and abused mother, both drug addicts. The two rejoin the company of Doc Beavers and his wife, who were introduced early in the story, and a life and death scenario ensues. There is a very unexpected twist in the end. The book is as much literary as adventure, in the manner of Cannery Row.