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Blackwater Sound [Audiobook, MP3 Audio, Unabridged] [MP3 CD]

James W. Hall
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
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Book Description

June 10 2004
The Braswell family had everything people would kill for: money, looks, power. But their eldest son, the family's shining light, died in a bizarre fishing accident. And when he disappeared - hauled into the depths by the giant marlin he had been fighting - he took with him a secret so corrupt that it could destroy the Braswells. Ten years later, a huge airliner crashes in the steamy shallows off the Florida coast, killing all aboard. Helping pull bodies from the water, Thorn finds himself drawn into a bizarre conspiracy: someone has developed a high tech weapon capable of destroying electrical systems in a powerful flash. The terrorist potential is huge. How are the secretive Braswells and their family-owned company, MicroDyne, involved? And what does it have to do with the family's obsessive hunt for the great marlin that killed their golden boy? With the Braswells, James W. Hall introduces one of the most evil and dysfunctional families in the history of fiction. And, along with Thorn, he brings back favorite characters from his earlier books, including Alexandra Rafferty and her father, Lawton Collins, a retired and increasingly dotty former police investigator whose methods of investigation result in his kidnapping. A story that bristles with all the heat and tension of a tropical Florida summer, BLACKWATER SOUND is destined to rank among the greatest suspense thrillers of the new decade.

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From Amazon

A powerful Florida family, its high-tech fortune dwindling, is haunted by an elusive, enormous blue marlin that claimed the life of its eldest son, who was meant to restore the family's prominence. But the Braswells are tormented by even darker secrets, such as incest and treason, that drive this dark, atmospheric thriller to an explosive conclusion, which might have been pulled straight from recent headlines. James Hall pits Thorn, his series protagonist, against the Braswells and their deadly plans. Although an existentially morose antihero is a convention of the mystery genre, Hall manages to transcend it with a fascinating plot and a powerful narrative, resulting in a suspenseful and resonant novel that shows off his well-developed talents for character development, place, and pacing. The author of 11 previous mysteries (including Mean High Tide and Rough Draft), Hall gets better with every book, and this one continues the trend. --Jane Adams --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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First Sentence
Thorn had brought along the .357 magnum not because he was worried about being attacked by pirates, but because he wanted to give the pistol a long-overdue burial at sea. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars The Return of Thorn Feb. 4 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
After taking some time off from his series character, James Hall has returned to writing about Thorn, a man who treasures his fierce independence only slightly less than his love of crusades. When last seen, Thorn was recovering from a mad doctor's unnecessary treatments, but now (without any real explanation) he is back to peak health and enjoying the mellow life of fishing, beer and beautiful women.
In this story, his idyllic life is disrupted when a plane crashes while he is out at sea. It soon becomes apparent that this crash was not accidental, but is the result of a dysfunctional family and the nasty weapon they have developed. This also gets Thorn entangled with Alexandra Rafferty, the heroine of Hall's previous novel, Body Language.
For Hall, one of the sharper writers in the field, this is not his best effort. Compared to past novels, his villains this time are only slightly warped and the chemistry between Thorn and Alex is relatively minimal. In addition, Thorn isn't as interesting as in the past, perhaps getting stuck in the rut of many series characters.
Nonetheless, even weaker Hall is entertaining reading, and there is a lot of fun along the way. If you've never read Hall, you'd think this was pretty good crime fiction (and you'll be even happier when you read his other books). If you are a Hall fan, you should find this slightly disappointing, but still a worthwhile read.
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3.0 out of 5 stars What happened? June 18 2002
I'm a huge fan of James Hall's work and have read everything he's published to date except his poetry, and I've only missed that because I can't find it. For me, his strength lies in the balance of characterizations, plot, and description--at his best his prose is truly poetic. Only a few living authors in his genre are his equal; among them I would count Michael Connelly, Dennis Lehane, and James Burke. That these three, along with Robert Crais (another author whose works I greatly enjoy) wrote complementary reviews for the blurb of Blackwater Sound really whetted my appetite for Hall's latest, and I began it with real anticipation.
One of the Hallmarks (pun fully intended) of Hall's writing is a plot in which big issues are at stake--it's not just a case of solving or preventing a murder; ecological catastrophe, grisly human experimentation or the ownership of Miami are up for grabs. Blackwater Sound is no exception, and this novel concerns an experimental weapon capable of destroying electrical systems at a distance--devastating for airplanes, banks, and in fact most of modern life. Hall's antihero Thorn comes to the rescue--in spite of the fact that in his last appearance (Red Sky at Night) he was suffering from drug-induced paralysis and a gunshot from which we were told he might not fully recover. This crisis, which was so devastating and profound for Thorn, is not even mentioned in passing in Blackwater Sound. Frankly I think we've seen enough of Thorn for a while--although I like him, he's losing his credibility unless he really is a bad-luck magnet; as one of the characters says: "the baddest luck I've ever known."
But the book starts beautifully.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A bit farfetched, but entertaining... May 19 2002
This is Moby Dick light...kind of....however Captain Ahab was a more compelling character than A.J. Braswell even though the whale only took Ahab's leg (at first). This story opens with a giant Marlin taking the life of Braswell's son Tony. The Braswell's we find out much later in the book are a super dysfunctional family which could probably have been the subject of a book all by themselves without bringing Thorn and company into the mix, but what is a James Hall book without Thorn?
Thorn is in the process of breaking up with his naked girlfriend Casey, when an MD-11 airliner is the victim of a product demonstration by Morgan Braswell. The Braswell's failing company has developed some kind of ray gun which shuts of all the electrical systems in it's targets and Ms. Braswell is performing a demo for a potential purchaser. The unlucky MD-11 comes down in Blackwater Sound. In probably the best piece of writing in the book, Thorn is involved in rescue efforts. Events conspire from there on in to draw Thorn into the vortex of the Braswell family along with some other entertaining characters to a somewhat predictable and bloody conclusion. However, Hall always entertains and this is no exception. Not a bad beach read.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Mediocrity cruises the Gulf Stream... March 16 2002
It's about time that Florida readers had a good tale out of that great chain of islands, the Keys. Unfortunately, this latest effort by James W. Hall is not it. Blackwater Sound does not even come close to capturing the atmosphere or place of this part of the world. The characters, with one minor exception, are flat and uninteresting. The protagonist with one name, Thorn, generates little emotional response from the reader.Oh, the tired old formula boy meets girl, girl despises boy, boy and girl finally have steamy sex as girl realizes that boy is indeed a desirable find; that cliche is alive and well here. We have the marlin in the Gulf Stream, ala Mr. Hemingway. Only Mr. Hemingway did it first and much, much better. Hall also seems to want to give his marlin some of the qualities of the white whale, Moby Dick. Here again, apologies may be due to Melville. As I read this book, I kept hoping for something more. Some chapters began in an interesting manner, only to fall apart as I read on, as though the author had more pressing matters elsewhere and had to hurry along. The plot line is thin stuff, and certain events are contrived and unrealistic. With good reading time so valuable, I am sorry that I wasted any on this poorly crafted novel. A far better idea would have been to re-read To Have and Have Not.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Too careless
Beign my first Hall/Thorn book, wasn't sure what to expect. Felt that Thorn was too foolish to take seriously. No remorse shown when fellow he recruited was killed. Read more
Published on Aug. 3 2003 by W. S. Young
Published on Oct. 12 2002 by T. A Kelley
2.0 out of 5 stars not for me
If you like books that are very violent, this may be for you.
If you like books to which the explanation of everything in the plot is, "psychopath" this book may be for you. Read more
Published on July 18 2002 by M. S. Butch
5.0 out of 5 stars I truly enjoyed my crow - prepared by a master
I disliked Body Language intensely -- so much so that I wrote a highly uncomplimentary review. Didn't really like the characters, didn't like the plot, and missed Thorn. Read more
Published on April 10 2002 by Joseph Myers
3.0 out of 5 stars Thorn returns
A revisit by an engaging hero and a meeting with characters from other books, mixed with straight ahead action, make this one enjoyable. Read more
Published on March 2 2002 by John Bowes
2.0 out of 5 stars James Hall losing his touch
I used to love James Hall's novels particularly his Thorn novels. With this book and his last few, I think he is losing it. Read more
Published on Feb. 28 2002 by Carl Granados
5.0 out of 5 stars The Old Man and the Thorn
I am subject to a strange form of psychopathic dysfunction which compels me to read the last book in a series before going back and reading any of its predecessors. Read more
Published on Feb. 19 2002 by Marc Ruby™
1.0 out of 5 stars Shame on You James W. Hall
James did a disservice to his readers, to Thorn and to himself. I wish he had killed Thorn off instead of putting in such a pathetic effort. Not at all up to James W. Read more
Published on Feb. 8 2002 by Frank A Herrington
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Top-Notch Thriller From Mr. Hall.
Man, I like this guy! Finished _Blackwater Sound_ last night and it's another winner. I always feel like I'm doing him a bit of a disservice because I get so into the books I... Read more
Published on Feb. 7 2002 by Craig Larson
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