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Buzz Cut [Abridged, Audiobook] [Audio Cassette]

James Hall , Will Patton
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 1 1996
Critics have called James W. Hall's previous  bestsellers  "electrifying,""innovative,"and "brilliantly suspenseful." Now Hall  brings us his most haunting and relentlessly  gripping novel yet--a work that proves why the  San Francisco Chronicle has hailed him  as one of the nation's "finest and most  literate of thriller writers."

A  Florida cruise ship under siege provides the  spellbinding backdrop for Hall's latest novel. On  board, a mad terrorist is threatening to blow up the  ship--and a large part of the Florida coastline as  well. The madman, an unforgettable character with  a high-tech stun gun and a strange fascination  with word etymologies, illustrates why James Ellroy  calls Hall's villains "so well drawn and  amusing they make you giddy."  

Also on board is Thorn, the enigmatic, hard-bitten  hero last seen in Gone Wild, who, along with his  friend, Sugerman, must stop the bomber before he  redesigns the Southeastern United States. As the  novel races toward its explosive conclusion, Hall  sets the scene for a nerve-shattering  showdown--between the brutal and cunning terrorist and Thorn,  who reveals a deeper, darker, more unpredictable  side to his personality in this electrifying new  novel.

A thriller filled with the  author's signatures--vise-tightening suspense, steamy  sexuality, hypnotic prose, and off-beat  humor--Buzz Cut exposes the dark  underbelly and colorful chaos of James W. Hall's native  Florida, as it lays bare the tremendous talents of an  American master writing at the peak of his  storytelling powers.

Product Details

Product Description

From Amazon

Thorn, a loner and gloomy sort of guy, is the hero of James W. Hall's thriller series. But in Buzz Cut, the real center of attention is Butler Jack, an erudite homicidal maniac with a brilliant and grandiose scheme. The plan is to hijack a $400 million cruise ship and hold its 2,000 passengers for ransom. Butler Jack has an obsession with etymology, and he is more than happy to lecture his hostages on the derivation of the word "hijack," which is descended from "Jack" which comes from the Middle English "Jakke," which meant "ordinary guy." Our Jack is an ordinary guy who just happens to have the mind of a genius and a passion for grisly killing. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Thorn Steps Out Feb. 10 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Broody loner Thorn (Travis McGee with attitude) is inveigled into taking a cruise when best pal Sugarman takes an almost fatal jolt of electricity while heading up security for the Fiesta Cruise Lines. Thorn on a cruise is about as likely as Jay Leno entering a monastery.
"Buzz Cut" is loaded with fascinating, but highly unlikely characters. Monica, angry runaway daughter of cruise line owner, Morton Hanson, is full of angst and bitterness. Why? Because she is stunningly beautiful and has been raised in luxurious plenty. Yes, really. She is trying to make an identity for herself as a maid in a seedy motel. The monster creating all the trouble is Butler Jack, a brilliant, truly scary guy with a love of etymology (the origin of words). He doesn't just expire people; he treats them to an hour-long lecture on interesting words. He is bent on ruining the Fiesta Cruise Line and its owners. He commandeers the ship and its communication and navigational systems, terrorizing the more than 2000 passengers.
This is a fine, lively read, and I think Mr. Hall had a good time writing it. It is over the top in a wry and humorous way. The characters are interesting and sharply defined. Mr. Hall develops them beautifully, but does seem to lose interest and then neglect them. Thorn does not play a major role in the book. It is a well-done ensemble piece. The author has a fascination with unlikely technology, but it's all in good fun.
Die-hard Thorn fans might object to the lightening of the mood, and the lack of philosophizing, but they can rest easy. Thorn is barely tempted by the crass commercialism and is properly grumpy at his enforced socialization. A fast, highly enjoyable read.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Cruise Away From Boredom Aug. 14 2001
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Okay, so it´¿s extremely unlikely that a single family could contrive to be so dysfunctional and high-profile to make this plot a reality, but that´¿s not quite the point of this book. James W Hall has again come up with some high-caliber entertainment that keeps us turning pages to discover the next little plot twist.
Sugarman and Thorn are now middle aged boyhood friends who´¿ve never quite escaped the insulation provided by the Florida Keys. Sugarman´¿s the laid back private detective and Thorn´¿s the fly-tying hero who´¿s even more laid back lifestyle affords him a greater perspective on their week´¿s cruise with the family from hell.
Full of keen detail about the cruise ship and its workings, Buzz Cut is an entertaining and thrilling romp through the waters of the southeast coast. The dialogue is healthy and sharp and the characters, for the most part, far enough away from stereotypes to be interesting. This is not a classic and Hall himself has done much better, but it is definitely a worthwhile read.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointment Oct. 29 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I've liked most of James Hall's other books but found this one a disappointment. I realize reading any novel requires a certain suspension of disbelief but this one was just too much. For one thing, the protagonist could have easily been overtaken much earlier in the novel. I found myself thinking "come on!" as he's allowed to continue on with his scheme. I also found many of the characters poorly drawn and totally inconsistent in their actions.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Buzz Cut March 16 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I've read two other James Hall books, Mean High Tide and Hard Aground. If you can get past his often over-the-top and always moronic PC blabber, they are generally entertaining reads. That is not rue of Buzz Cut though. The plot is completely ridiculous, and the actions that the characters in this story don't take are just plain stupid. I was very disappointed.
I have one more of Hall's books to read, but if it is anything like Buzz Cut, I think I will just put it down and find another author to read.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Boring shallow Sept. 15 1999
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I have tried 3 James W. Hall books, Buzz Cut, Under Cover of Daylight, Body Language. None of them held my interest. There was nothing in the stories or the characters to get a grip and hold on too. Nothing! Conversations are sluggish, strained, monotone, as are all the characters. Minuscule action/reaction.
Florida?, wouldn't know it by his books. I do not recommend this book_Buzz Cut_or any of James W. Hall's books.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Techno-Villain Does His Best Dec 28 1998
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Wow! The villain in this story is superb. You start out respecting him the way you respect any lethal creature, and as it goes on you get frightened by this zealot on a crusade. Sort of the way you get spooked by that bug you just crushed that keeps on coming, except this one will kill you if your not watchful. Plus the technology stays fairly common place Butler Jack just leverages it for his evil purposes. Great read...
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5.0 out of 5 stars FAST-PACED, CHARACTER RICH THRILLER July 28 1998
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is the first book I have read by Jim Hall and I was so entertained that I plan to pick up as many of his earlier works as I can. The villian in the book has laid out a terrific master plan. Thorn and Sugarman who track and try to thwart Butler Jack work terrifically in tandem. The action plays out in a fast-paced manner and keps the reader interested until the very end. Butler Jack's use of the history of words was a terrific addition to the story. Jim Hall is one masterful wordsmith. I rate this book a 5 and highly recommend it to thriller fans.
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