James W. Hall lives in South Florida with his wife Evelyn and his dogs, Carrie and Stella.
Hall (Blackwater Sound; Buzz Cut; etc.) once again sweeps the sand, surf and swamps of Key Largo, in a hyperdramatic mystery featuring sensitive tough-guy Thorn and his live-in girlfriend, Alexandra Rafferty. Hall sums up the plot nicely at the beginning of the book: "Lunacy and violence. Pirates, pirates, pirates." Thorn's long-ago fling with a beautiful woman named Anne Joy comes back to haunt him years later when Anne's brother, Vic Joy, a modern-day pirate along the Gulf Coast, decides he needs to add Thorn's five-acre property to his ill-gotten business and real estate empire. Anne and Vic are the damaged products of a dirt-poor Kentucky upbringing overseen by a smalltime dope-dealing father and a deranged mother with an all-consuming passion for pirates. Thorn refuses to sell to Vic, triggering a complicated coercion scheme that eventually includes the kidnapping of the nine-year-old daughter of Thorn's best friend. The local body count builds until Thorn is in an all-out battle against the deranged Vic, with a complement of U.S. helicopters and a small army of cutthroat international pirates. Hall's crisp writing, plus the ticking-clock suspense of the child-in-peril subplot and amusing secondary characters like Alexandra's dotty dad make this an exhilarating addition to the series. (June) Forecast: Hall is generally considered to be the stylist of the South Florida bunch and should be recommended to those fans of Hiassen, Leonard and Standiford (see the review of his latest novel, Havana Run, below) who haven't stumbled upon him yet. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Hall's (Blackwater Sound) latest page-turner features the return of the enigmatic Thorn, who is still happily earning a living as a fisherman in southern Florida with his girlfriend. Our hero's idyllic life is fractured, however, by the sudden reappearance of his ex-flame, Anne. Anne introduces Thorn to her brother, Vic, a ruthless modern pirate accustomed to getting his way in all aspects of life. When Vic decides he wants Thorn's house and land, only to have his offer rebuffed, he kidnaps a daughter of Thorn's best friend, demanding proper payment for her return. To keep his current girlfriend safe and find out where Vic is hiding the girl, Thorn must convince Vic that he and Anne are an item again (Vic is obsessed with his sister), posing a risk to both Thorn's life and happiness. Although Vic comes across as a dismally inept villain, the other characters shine, and the book works as a whole owing to those superb characterizations and Hall's terse writing style. For larger thriller collections and where Hall's novels are popular.-Jeff Ayers, Seattle P.L. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
"In the crowded and talented pool of South Florida suspense writers, James Hall pretty much has the deep end to himself. Out of reach for most, it's a place of nameless primal fears and murky evil, from which Hall shapes compelling characters in riveting stories. You get caught up in the light and color, the movement of the unfailingly taut action, but you are always aware of something very old and dark beneath it all. His latest novel is wonderfully disturbing in just this way...all of which make the carefully crafted, darkly resonate Off the Chart stay with you."
"It's because of skillful, solid authors such as Hall that Florida mysteries are no longer an anomaly, but one of the staples of contemporary crime fiction...Hall's examinations of good and evil, obsession and the power of love are richly Off the Chart, a fine addition to the author's superior body of work." -South Florida Sun-Sentinel
"After years of tussling with metaphorical pirates of every stripe, fly-tying South Florida swashbuckler Thorn finally gets to go up against the real thing...the combination of world-class villainy, exotic locations, quick-march pacing, and studly heroism also suggests Thorn's channeling James Bond."-Kirkus Reviews
"A fast-paced rollercoaster ride filled with suspense and never-ending tension...Don't start this book before bed-unless you want to stay up all night reading."-Romantic Times