Hall, James W.

Thorn, P.I.
Hall, James W. - Florida Authors Undercover of Daylight (1986)
From Library Journal
Nineteen years after the death of his parents, a troubled teenager avenges them by causing the death of the drunk driver responsible. Now thirty-nine and emotionally scarred, Thorn still lives in Key Largo, selling hand-tied fish flies. His adoptive mother, Kate Truman, a sturdy, outspoken fisherwoman, leads local battles against land developmentthe most recent of which results in her rape/murder. Thorn's hunt for the culprit(s) increasingly involves new lady friend Sarah Ryan, Kate's lawyer buddy, sometime dope-smuggling partner, and (secretly) daughter of the dead drunk driver come to spy on his "killer." Hard-hitting, nuts-and-bolts prose, effectively picturesque characterization, periodic sex and violence, and a wonderful, cinematic climax embellish a largely realistic plot. A great first novel and necessary purchase. Rex E. Klett, Anson Cty. Lib., Wadesboro, N . C.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Hall, James W. - Florida Authors Tropical Freeze (1989)
From Publishers Weekly
Fisherman Thorn, first seen in the well-received Under Cover of Daylight , is getting his life together slowly, rebuilding his house in the Florida Keys and supporting himself by making fishing lures. When his boyhood friend, ex-FBI agent Gaeton Richards, disappears, his sister Darcy enlists Thorn in a campaign to nail Gaeton's boss, Benny Cousins, the not-quite-respectable head of a multinational rent-a-cop business who is determined to become a force in local "conch" affairs. But little is what it seems: Thorn and Darcy find themselves up against not only Benny but also violent, Florida cracker Ozzie, who lusts for Darcy and works for Papa John, local "character" and scam-master--and Benny's nasty racket may be protected by the Feds. Fast, cinematic scene-shifting, garish gallows humor (Tropical Freeze is the name on Papa John's ice cream truck--with a corpse in its freezer) and a violent, roller-coaster plot lead to a bleak, cynical ending. The main flavor is rue: the people in the Keys who came "to the outer fringes of America to nourish their rugged individualism" are losing it to modern civilization. 35,000 first printing; $50,000 ad/promo; Mysterious Book Club selection.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Hall, James W. - Florida Authors Mean High Tide (1994)
From Publishers Weekly
After a two-book hiatus, Thorn--the quixotic fly-tying Florida Keys protagonist of Under Cover of Daylight and Tropical Freeze --is back with a bang in Hall's fifth thriller. Darcy Richards, the love of Thorn's life and his assistant at best-buddy Sugarman's ragtag security agency, dies in a mysterious diving accident after enigmatically asking Thorn if he's ever heard of red tilapia, the exotic food fish. When he discovers that Darcy was murdered via a paralyzing judo handhold known only to covertly trained assassins, Thorn vows revenge. Following a bullet-dodging introduction to Sylvie, the sociopathic daughter of murderous Harden Winchester, Thorn stumbles across a twisted family tree. Hall ricochets this oddball cast helter-skelter through the sleazy mazes of south Florida's tourist-clotted off-ramps, across the alligator-infested Everglades to posh Naples and beyond. As usual, Hall's Uzi-punctuated prose is compelling. Despite the uncharacteristically bad, comic-opera melodrama of the climactic scene, Hall manages in this quirky, thought-provoking nail-biter to convey with ominous clarity the ecological warning: "The future is now."
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Hall, James W. - Florida Authors Gone Wild (1995)
From Publishers Weekly
Prowling from the crime-ridden south Florida killing fields to the steamy jungles of Malaysia, Hall's latest novel finds Thorn, the moody hero of several previous yarns (Mean High Tide, etc.), entangled in the crusades of childhood friend Allison Farleigh, founder of the Wildlife Protection League, a worldwide organization dedicated to saving exotic endangered animals. When Allison's eldest daughter is shot dead while accompanying her mother and younger sister on the annual orangutan census in the wilds of Borneo, Thorn gets embroiled in the case, which eventually pits him against a sociopathic pair of twins engaged in the brokering of rare animals to zoological collectors-and, lurking behind them, a rich and powerful collector whose designs bring the action to Brunei for a brutally satisfying denouement. Hall's fans may be surprised to find that Thorn plays second fiddle here to Allison, but they won't be disappointed with this charismatically courageous woman or her adventures. With its far-flung locales and unexpected heroine, this is Hall's most ambitious novel yet, a work of considerable moral depth distinguished by rich characterizations, live-wire prose and bolts of offbeat humor. Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Hall, James W. - Florida Authors Buzz Cut (1996)
From Publishers Weekly
A poet as well as a thriller writer, Hall (Gone Wild, etc.) brings an ear for language and an eye for the evocative detail, for the surge of meaning within sound and surface, to his latest?which features his customary hero, the moody, middle-aged Thorn. Reuniting with Thorn here is his old friend Sugarman (last seen in Mean High Tide). Bizarre family dysfunction and impending ecological disaster prove familiar but still effective Hall motifs as Sugar signs on as head of security for a billion-dollar Miami-based cruise ship line and Thorn encounters an unusually chilling adversary. Sugar's task is to catch a chimerical murderer whose victims all have some relationship to the company's gambling flagship, the M.S. Eclipse, from which the criminal has been stealing $50,000 per month. Danger promptly surfaces, as Sugar is nearly killed by the psychopathic Butler Jack, who has stun-gun electrodes attached to his fingertips and who plans to hold the Eclipse and its passengers hostage for a king's ransom. Jack also has designs on Monica Sampson, the long-missing daughter of the cruise line's owner, but Thorn, who winds up aboard the ship along with Sugar, casts eyes toward this young beauty as well. Murder, techno-wizardry and plenty of sexual tension ignite into spectacular action as Jack sets the ship on a collision course toward an oil-laden supertanker off Miami's South Beach. The title is right on; this thriller will slice readers' sleep into slivers.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Hall, James W. - Florida Authors Red Sky at Night (1997)
From Booklist
Hall's hermit-sleuth Thorn has long been one of the most appealing and complex characters in crime fiction, but here he extends his range still further, taking the Travis McGee^-style genre hero to an altogether new level. Ensconced in his Key Largo beach house, Thorn seems to have carved a lasting separate peace with the modern world until a senseless crime drives the other side of his personality to the fore, the side that says, "There's something broken, and I have to fix it." What's broken this time, though, is Thorn himself, mysteriously paralyzed from the waist down after attempting to confront an apparent prowler. The story begins with the slaughter of several dolphins--killed for their endorphins, the key ingredient in a miracle, pain-killing drug--and extends to Thorn's distant past and his relationship with his best childhood friend, who has been nursing a grudge against Thorn for decades. All of Thorn's unresolved conflicts--Is he running away from the world or trying to save it?--come to the fore here, as Hall makes his hero (and the reader) face simultaneously the pain of powerlessness and the selfishness at the heart of a knight errant's gallantry. And yet, we cheer when Thorn sallies forth one more time, wheelchair-bound but determined to draw on the "white knot of gristle at his stubborn core." Melding the magnetic pull of the archetypal hero on a quest with the flesh-and-blood humanity of a vulnerable man trapped between conflicting needs, Hall masterfully works both ends of the genre street, transforming the beach-bum sleuth into an everyman while at the same time allowing readers to wonder if perhaps we, too, might find a stubborn core of our own, if only we plumbed deep enough. Popular fiction at its absolute best.
Hall, James W. - Florida Authors Blackwater Sound (2001)
From Publishers Weekly
Hall's dangerous bone-fishing iconoclast Thorn (Under Cover of Daylight, etc.) and gorgeous police photographer Alexandra Rafferty (Body Language) join forces in a thriller that should swell the author's ranks of admirers. From dramatic beginning to chilling ending, Hall's never been better. When a passenger plane crash-lands near Thorn's boat in the Florida coastal waters, Thorn finds himself thrust into a rescue operation that leads him deeper and deeper into the lunatic world of the Braswell family. The Braswell children boy genius Andy, psychopathic Johnny and dangerously beautiful Morgan make an impressively deadly combination. When circumstances lead Alexandra's wandering and forgetful father, Lawton Collins, into Thorn's path and into the clutches of the Braswells, Thorn and Alexandra become uneasy allies. There's much more at stake than the rescue of one endearing old man with a confused mind the Braswells' evil plans to market a terrifying device promises a reign of terror of awesome proportions. But all that is secondary to Hall's celebration of human and animal determination and grit: Thorn's principled effort to rescue Lawton and a great blue marlin's savage fight to survive. Hall's marlin is a magnificent creature, which the Braswells have hunted for a decade like Ahab after Moby Dick. Hall the poet and Hall the novelist have never been more beautifully melded than they are in this book. The result is suspense, entertainment and high-quality literature. (Jan. 7)Forecast: Backed by a national author tour and ad campaign, with pre-pub raves from Dennis Lehane, James Lee Burke, Robert Crais, Scott Turow and Michael Connelly, this crime novel seems destined for bestsellerdom.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Hall, James W. - Florida Authors Off the Chart (2003)
From Booklist
*Starred Review* For a confirmed loner, beach bum Thorn has a way of getting entangled in other people's lives--and then entangling them in his defiant encounters with the outside world. This time his attempt to share his life--and his Key Largo stilt house--with Miami forensic photographer Alexandra Rafferty (from Blackwater Sound) and her Alzheimer's-afflicted father is imperiled by Thorn's latest crusade: facing down the psychotic developer (and wanna-be pirate) intent on stealing Thorn's beachfront property. "A tinderbox forever on the verge of conflagration," Thorn doesn't take well to forced incursions on his space. Matters become even more combustible when the pirate psycho commandeers a yacht and takes a prisoner, who happens to be the young daughter of Thorn's best friend, Sugarman. Is it Thorn's hard-ass approach to the world that keeps endangering those he cares about? Like Doc Ford in Randy Wayne White's series (see p.1555), Thorn must come to terms with his volatile nature if he is to right his ship, and again like Ford, he does so by trusting his "blinding resolve to go forward, driven by some secret long-ago animal nodule in his brain." It's those animal nodules, in the brains of Thorn and the always-fascinating villains he pursues, that drive the action in Hall's high-energy series, but there is much more than action here. Hall forces us to consider the striking similarity between his hero and his villains, nodules firing on the same cylinders. Yes, we like to imagine ourselves wearing Thorn's deck shoes, in a full-frontal assault on all those who endanger our world, but Hall, unlike most thriller writers, portrays the collateral damage wreaked when rugged individualists go into overdrive. This remains one of the best series in the genre. Bill Ott
Copyright © American Library Association.
Hall, James W. - Florida Authors Magic City (2007)
From Booklist
*Starred Review* For a confirmed loner, beach bum Thorn has a way of getting entangled in other people's lives--and then entangling them in his defiant encounters with the outside world. This time his attempt to share his life--and his Key Largo stilt house--with Miami forensic photographer Alexandra Rafferty (from Blackwater Sound) and her Alzheimer's-afflicted father is imperiled by Thorn's latest crusade: facing down the psychotic developer (and wanna-be pirate) intent on stealing Thorn's beachfront property. "A tinderbox forever on the verge of conflagration," Thorn doesn't take well to forced incursions on his space. Matters become even more combustible when the pirate psycho commandeers a yacht and takes a prisoner, who happens to be the young daughter of Thorn's best friend, Sugarman. Is it Thorn's hard-ass approach to the world that keeps endangering those he cares about? Like Doc Ford in Randy Wayne White's series (see p.1555), Thorn must come to terms with his volatile nature if he is to right his ship, and again like Ford, he does so by trusting his "blinding resolve to go forward, driven by some secret long-ago animal nodule in his brain." It's those animal nodules, in the brains of Thorn and the always-fascinating villains he pursues, that drive the action in Hall's high-energy series, but there is much more than action here. Hall forces us to consider the striking similarity between his hero and his villains, nodules firing on the same cylinders. Yes, we like to imagine ourselves wearing Thorn's deck shoes, in a full-frontal assault on all those who endanger our world, but Hall, unlike most thriller writers, portrays the collateral damage wreaked when rugged individualists go into overdrive. This remains one of the best series in the genre. Bill Ott
Copyright © American Library Association.
Hall, James W. - Florida Authors Hell's Bay (2008)
From Publishers Weekly
Edgar-winner Hall (Magic City) puts a Southern gothic twist on his latest Florida thriller to feature his iconic hero, Key Largo beach bum Thorn. While helping old flame Rusty set up a houseboat deep in the Everglades as a fishing spot for tourists, Thorn becomes entangled in the intrigue surrounding the murder of Abigail Bates, a wealthy land and mine owner. Soon after, one of Rusty's first customers, John Milligan, confronts Thorn and claims to be Thorn's uncle, making him face old family secrets possibly connected to Bates's murder. Thorn's detective friend, Sugarman, at Thorn's request, starts making possibly dangerous inquiries into the crime. The appeal of this multilayered novel lies in the authenticity of its evocation of the Everglades, along with a slow-burning plot that kicks into high gear when Thorn and Rusty's guests, cut off from the outside world by sabotage, are hunted by Bates's killers. The result is another compulsive page-turner from a master of suspense. Author tour. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc.



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