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Forests of the Night: A Novel Hardcover – December 23, 2004


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; First Edition edition (December 23, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312271808
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312271800
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #900,373 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Police detective Charlotte Monroe arrives home in Coral Gables, Fla., one evening to find her lawyer husband, Parker, and their teenage daughter, Gracey, chatting amiably with a man she's never met, Jacob Bright Sky Panther, the Cherokee nephew of one of Parker's old friends. The always observant Charlotte recognizes Panther's face—he's number eight on the FBI's Most Wanted list. Before the SWAT team can arrive, Panther has fled with Gracey in tow, and this fast-paced, entertaining thriller has kicked into high gear, taking the reader to the mountains of North Carolina and deep into the pasts of Panther, Parker and the entire Cherokee Nation. The plot linking these characters is, predictably, convoluted and over the top, but it's compelling, with action scenes that bristle with visceral intensity. But Hall's real strength is characterization. Charlotte is a fascinating protagonist with an unusually valuable gift—an unparalleled ability to interpret facial expressions—but her role is more that of concerned parent and troubled wife (one hopes her investigative prowess will be a future novel's focus). Nearly everyone has real depth, and the author's appreciation for history and its reverberations adds further complexity.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Bookmarks Magazine

Hall has long been a favorite of critics and fans alike. He creates page-turners, sure, but his books are much more than that: they offer multi-dimensional characters with rich inner lives. Hall has taught creative writing for the past 32 years at Florida International University, and perhaps this explains how he mastered the skills that have critics resoundingly praising his 13th book, Forests of the Night. Though the Plain Dealer thinks burgeoning (but not always fully developed) plot lines weigh down the book, critics otherwise universally laud the novel for its suspense, historical perspective, and the way in which Hall’s characters both expand and surpass the crime genre.

Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.


More About the Author

James W. Hall is the author of 18 novels, 14 of which feature Thorn, the off-the-grid loner who lives a primitive existence in Key Largo, Florida. Thorn and his friend Sugarman, an African-American PI, team up to solve exotic crimes from animal smuggling to piracy to kidnapping to espionage. He has won the Edgar Award and the Shamus and several of his novels have been optioned for film.

His most recent Thorn novel is The Big Finish (December 2014.)


Customer Reviews

James W. Hall is one of the few thriller writers I buy in hardback.
Billie Lee from Boston
There wasn't a single character about which I cared; the plot was just plain absurd and the ending silly.
L. J. Roberts
The storyline is complex and interesting, and makes for a great read.
M. Fetcho

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Jerry Saperstein HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 21, 2005
Format: Hardcover
"Forests Of The Night" is built on a weak premise: that Charlotte Monroe has a "sixth sense" about people, particularly criminals. The story is really a mishmash of pseudoscientists trying to harness Charlotte's semi-psychic abilities, a decades old spat between Cherokees and a local family, a dark spot in Charlotte's and the public defender who rescued and then married her. Throw in a psychotic daughter, a son who magically appears, a direct line to the FBI's head and a few other odds and ends and you have it all.

The story is stilted to a large degree, depending on contrivances to move the plot forward. There is never any real suspense, but Hall is still readable.

My suggestion is to put this one on the list for when there's nothing else you really want to read. It isn't bad; it just isn't a page-turner.

Jerry
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By mrliteral VINE VOICE on January 27, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
With Forests of the Night, James Hall takes a break from his series of Thorn novels. This book follows Miami cop Charlotte Monroe, a woman with an exceptional ability to read other people. One day she returns from work to find her husband Parker chatting with a young Cherokee named Jacob Panther. Charlotte quickly identifies him as one of the FBI's most wanted, but before she can do much, he gets away and goes into hiding.

The bombshell of having this man in her house is followed by an even bigger one from Parker: Panther is apparently his son from a teenage romance. Parker, a criminal defense lawyer by trade, refuses to accept Panther's guilt, leading to a major conflict with Charlotte. In the middle is their sixteen year old, schizophrenic daughter who has run away in search of Panther.

Indeed, there is more to Panther's story than is initially presented, and it's all linked to an event that took place back in 1838 and is described in the prologue. (There is one historical error in this prologue, as Andrew Jackson is referred to as president; actually it was Martin Van Buren.) It is Charlotte's role to find out what this link is, even as she acts to get her daughter home.

This is a very good, well-written crime novel, although a little atypical for Hall. In most Hall books, the villain is a rather off-beat character who is warped in a unique way. In this book, the villain is a bit plainer and actually remains faceless through most of the story. Also, although Hall's books are never comic (unlike fellow Florida writer Carl Hiaasen), there usually is a touch of humor that this book doesn't have. That is not to say this book is flawed, but it is just a little different from other Hall books. However, whether you've read Hall or not, this book should not disappoint.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Bookreporter on February 20, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This stand-alone thriller from South Florida series writer James W. Hall weaves an intricate tale of intrigue, from a posh neighborhood in Coral Gables, Florida to a hard-scrabble trailer in the hills of North Carolina. It spans generations of history, from a Cherokee murder in 1838 to current-day vendettas.

Police detective Charlotte Monroe arrives home from a grueling day of tests devised to ascertain her special skills at reading faces and body language, and finds her husband and daughter deep in conversation in the kitchen with a stranger. He looks vaguely familiar, and when she recognizes him as Number Eight on the FBI's most wanted list, she slips into her home office to alert the authorities. While she is on the phone, the man, Jacob Bright Sky Panther, abruptly leaves, and Charlotte soon discovers that her teenaged daughter Gracey has gone missing. The SWAT team is called, the chase is on, and Hall's singular skill at interweaving a dense, complicated plot into a very readable thriller has the reader turning pages.

Gracey, who suffers from schizophrenia, is a particularly interesting character whose separation from family and medications leads her to fantasies in her own delusional world. She is at great risk as her parents frantically try to find her trail. Hall is masterful at letting us into Gracey's Steven Spielberg version of life, which adds pathos and occasional humor to the extreme danger in which she finds herself.

This fast-paced literary thriller fuses historical fact, political intrigue, corruption and family feuds with deep characterizations of a troubled family facing inner terrors of their own. Charlotte's innate ability to read facial expressions could and should lead to a fascinating new series based on her character.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Gail Cooke HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 6, 2005
Format: Audio Cassette
Laural Merlington, a veteran of countless audio book performances, is a true pro. She reads with control and distinction, allowing the narrative to carry listeners along.

Forests of the Night will more than carry listeners along - it'll have them on the edges of their seats. Charlotte Monroe is a police woman with amazing gifts - she can read people's faces and body language. She lives in Coral Gable, Florida with her husband, Parker, and their emotionally disturbed teenager, Gracey.

Gracey is so unstable that she runs away from home to be with an outlaw, not just any outlaw but Jacob Panther, a criminal on the FBI's most wanted list. The chase to find Gracey and Panther takes Charlotte to the Great Smoky Mountains and Cherokee land. Little does she know that she's now not only in North Carolina but also smack in the middle of a Cherokee feud that's been going on for over 150 years.

Hall. As always creates complex characters - no stick figures here - and parallel plots. Makes for an absorbing story and good listening.

- Gail Cooke
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