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3.8 out of 5 stars
Blackwater Sound: A Novel
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Showing 1-3 of 3 reviews(4 star)show all reviews
on February 4, 2003
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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on January 25, 2002
Long ago I read a Thorn story and promptly forgot the title. Every time I’d read a mystery with a Florida setting, I thought of Thorn. I’d question mystery experts about a guy who lives on the Keys, a real outsider who doesn’t want any ties and cares not about material things. Recently, I saw a message on the Amazon Discussion Board about “Blackwater Sound,” immediately made the connection, and ordered the book. I was not disappointed.
The haunting prologue described young Andy Braswell who, attempting to attach an electronic device on a Moby Dick sized marlin, was dragged and lost at sea. Ten years later, his mother has committed suicide, his father is still obsessed with catching the marlin, and his brother and sister are emotional wrecks.
The story proper opens with a horrendous crash of a commercial airliner into Blackwater Sound off Key Largo, FL. Thorn is part of the rescue operation. The crash, the sounds and the aftermath, are skillfully and almost poetically rendered by the author. I thought I had read the ultimate in crash descriptions in Andrew Klavan’s “Hunting Down Amanda,” but Mr. Hall is in a class by himself.
The story is well paced and the characterizations are excellent. These are stand-alone type people. After you have read this book, you will surely agree that dysfunctional families are each different unto themselves. The technology is a little weak, but is more than made up for by the stirring battles between man and marlin. Mr. Hall’s expertise is in fishing not gadgets. Recommended.
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on January 2, 2002
See storyline above.
James W. Hall writes a great thriller and I also think this is one of his best.
From it's dramatic opening to its satisfying conclusion, 'Blackwater Sound' paints a riveting picture of southern Florida. Thorn, a laid back individual that seems to attract trouble like a magnet attracts steel, returns in another very satisfying novel of adventure.
Halls dialogue and narrative paint a vivid picture. The locales of Southern Florida along with the characters, makes this a very 'hard to put down' book.
Highly recommended
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