St. Martin's Minotaur 2013

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Other Books by James W. Hall

Going Dark

Author: James W. Hall

The New York Times Book Review calls Edgar Award–winner James W. Hall a "master of suspense" and this new high-stakes thriller Going Dark shows why as Thorn embarks on a mission to save his newfound son.

Earth Liberation Front, known as ELF, is a loosely knit organization comprised of environmental activists scattered around the country. These extremists take a "by any means necessary" approach to defending the planet. In the last decade ELF has been responsible for close to a hundred million dollars in damage mainly through arson. The FBI ranks them, along with other eco-radicals, as the number one homegrown terrorist threat.

Flynn Moss, Thorn's newly discovered son, has naively fallen in with an ELF cell in Miami which has its sights on Turkey Point, the largest nuclear power plant in the state. This ELF group has concocted a non-violent plan to shut the nuke plant down—nothing more than a huge publicity stunt to call attention to the dangers of nuclear power. But unbeknownst to some in the group, there are other members with a far more violent scheme in mind—to cause a radioactive catastrophe rivaling Chernobyl or Fukushima.

With a growing sense of dread about the group’s true intentions, Flynn summons Thorn to help him escape from Prince Key, the remote island off the shores of Miami where the ELF group is camped. Unable to refuse this son he barely knows, Thorn heads off to Prince Key and quickly reaches a frightening realization. There is only one way to save his son’s life. He must join with the eco-terrorists and help them complete their deadly mission.

Going Dark (Thorn, #13)

Publishers Weekly (starred review):

Moral ambiguity seasons the violent action in Edgar-winner Hall's outstanding 13th thriller featuring laconic loner Thorn (after 2011's Dead Last). Thorn, who lives in the undeveloped backwoods of Key Largo and loathes the kind of hyperdevelopment that's ruining Florida, is roused from his isolation to extricate his grown son, Flynn Moss, whose existence he only recently became aware of, from the Earth Liberation Front, a group of ecological terrorists who are planning to shut down a nearby atomic power plant. Thorn actually is sympathetic with ELF's goals--but he doesn't trust them. Meanwhile, FBI agent Frank Sheffield begins uncovering a plot to create a nuclear disaster that could annihilate Miami, while a beautiful female Homeland Security agent and a cocksure psycho who likes to play with electricity are working their own schemes. Hall shifts among the skillfully drawn characters, each uncertain of which ends justify extreme means, as the action races toward a literally explosive climax at the nuclear plant. The result is both thoughtful and white-knuckle tense.



Hall is one of those rare thriller writers who can build character as he ratchets tension, who can do no-holds-barred action scenes with panache and, in the midst of bedlam, never lose sight of nuance. All those skills are on display here, as Hall assembles a full-bodied supporting cast whose stories hold our interest as much as Thorn's attempt to save his son without helping to bring about a South Florida version of Chernobyl. A fine thriller on every level.


Alan Cheuse, NPR:

James W. Hall makes a plot that wrings the most suspense and emotion out of this material, from the effect on Thorn's private life to the danger lurking for all Miami and South Florida. 

What else can I say without spoiling the book for you? The novel's finale will have most readers holding on for dear life.


Library Journal:

Like fellow Floridian Carl Hiassen, Hall displays a love of his home state's landscape with criticism of the greed that threatens it, plus a fondness for unpredictable characters. Like an Arthurian knight, his protagonist ventures out of his small world just long enough to put things right in a larger one. Luckily for readers, there will be no shortage of opportunities requiring Thorn's next appearance.



Going Dark has cinematic action all the way through and a couple of fine surprises saved for the final few pages. Nicely done, indeed.


Kirkus Reviews:

With its nicely observed characters and lively dialogue—and terrific sex scenes—it keeps readers turning the pages.


Naples Florida Weekly:

There is no more delightful companion for a habitual reader than a new book by James W. Hall. 


Tampa Bay Times:

Going Dark, the 13th in the series, is one of his very best, a breathless thrill ride with a brain — and heart.


Charlotte Observer:

For those who enjoy a good steely-jawed mystery man, here's a new Thorn novel from James W. Hall. If you've ever daydreamed of living off the land in a beachfront shack, Thorn's life might be a nice getaway for you. 

If you like your mysteries macho and enjoy some Florida scenery into the bargain, this one's for you.


South Florida Sun-Sentinel:

In Going Dark, Hall continues his high standards for gripping, action-packed plots that revolve around Florida's intricate ecology and beauty.


Florida Times-Union:

Another first-class page-turner from the master of mystery.


Sacramento Bee:

High adventure in the sun – what's not to like?


Richmond Times-Dispatch:

As Florida's population has soared, so has its contingent of writers who live in the Sunshine State and use it as a setting for stories of suspense.

Among the best is James W. Hall, who again displays his bona fides in Going Dark, the 13th novel in his series featuring Thorn, a middle-aged loner who lives on Key Largo and eschews the conveniences of contemporary life, preferring to fish and savor his solitude.

[Hall] treats the reader to gorgeous prose about the state’s natural bounty, advances his development of Thorn, supplies multiple shocks and proves that not all of Florida's reptiles slither on their bellies.