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Good Day in Hell Hardcover – March 21, 2006

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; First Edition edition (March 21, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312334214
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312334215
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.7 x 1.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,222,676 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

At the start of Rhoades's well-crafted second novel to feature Jack Keller (after 2005's The Devil's Right Hand), the North Carolina bounty hunter and his new girlfriend, sheriff's deputy Marie Jones, discover that the two suspects for whom each has been searching—a troubled young woman who skipped bail on an assault charge and the likely perpetrator of the brutal murder of a gas station owner—have taken the gas station owner's teenage son and in short order pulled off senseless mass murders at a local church and factory. When the media-savvy killers contact an amoral local news personality, guaranteeing her exclusive access in exchange for the chance to tell their tale, the situation escalates and the lives of all are put in danger. Fast-paced and rich in regional color, this satisfying thriller is notable for its empathetic portrayal of the two emotionally damaged protagonists, each struggling with past trauma—his sustained in the first Gulf War, hers resulting from the killing of her partner—in order to form a trusting relationship.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Rhoades follows up his scorching debut, The Devil's Right Hand (2005), with another high-voltage thriller starring bounty hunter Jack Keller. This time Keller, his Gulf War nightmares on simmer, thinks he's ready to take a stab at a committed relationship with North Carolina state cop Marie Jones, but that's before he starts tailing a bail jumper turned serial killer and her equally deranged partner in crime. As before, this one is all about the chase, but Rhoades lets us follow the action from the points of view of both hunters and hunted. Unlike Elmore Leonard and Carl Hiaasen, who humanize their bad guys by giving them senses of humor, Rhoades portrays unrepentant, psychotic killers but manages to make us feel, almost against our will, the human hearts that beat within their violent souls. Keller's own violent soul remains in turmoil, loving the hunt even as it threatens his new-found stability. Drawing from a half-dozen thriller formulas used by such masters as Lee Child and Stephen Hunter, Rhoades shuffles the deck skillfully and deals an altogether new hand. Bill Ott
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

Bestselling author, attorney, award winning newspaper columnist--J.D. Rhoades is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; but with a soft creamy center. He attended the University of North Carolina, where he majored in Spelling. A stint in UNC's creative writing program resulted in his not writing another word of fiction for 13 years, unless you count legal briefs.

In 1993, Rhoades' local newspaper, the Southern Pines, North Carolina, Pilot, apparently got tired of his snarky and sarcastic letters to the editor and asked him to write a weekly column. "Hey, smart guy," they said, "you think this is so easy, you try it!" "Hey," he said, "how hard could it be?" These proved to be the very words that have gotten him in more trouble than any others in his life, except maybe "hey, gorgeous, can I buy you a drink?"

After a few years and an award for the column from the North Carolina Press Association, the same editor grudgingly allowed as how Rhoades wasn't a complete hack after all, and suggested he write a novel. "Hey," he said, "how hard can it be?" The answer, as it turns out, was "very hard indeed."

He wrote a novel. It sank like a stone. For some inexplicable reason, he wrote another. That one, THE DEVIL'S RIGHT HAND, was picked up by St. Martin's Minotaur and was nominated for the Shamus Award for Best First P.I. novel. Two more Jack Keller novels followed, as well as a stand-alone, BREAKING COVER.

In 2010, Rhoades looked at the world of e-publishing after seeing the success several friends were having with it. "Hey, he said, "how hard..." --well, you get the idea. After a couple of missteps, his backlist is now available for Kindle, as well as his e-published novels STORM SURGE, LAWYERS GUNS AND MONEY, and GALLOWS POLE. His latest novel, MONSTER: NIGHTRIDER'S VENGEANCE, was written under the pen name J.D. Nixx, and his available at Amazon:

Rhoades lives, writes, and practices law in Carthage, North Carolina, where he does not usually refer to himself in the third person.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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See all 19 customer reviews
Good plot line and full of action.
If you like complex plots, fully developed characters and action that never lets up, have a "Good Day In Hell."
Jerry Saperstein
The seductive and sadistic female killer stood out in this one.
D. Smith

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By D. Smith on August 4, 2006
Format: Hardcover
A great guilty pleasure for anyone who enjoys a lightning-fast read. I started "The Devil's Right Hand" wondering if it would be TOO graphic, but both of Rhoades' books are unoffensive in their depiction of sex, drugs and violence. The seductive and sadistic female killer stood out in this one.

Looking forward to the next one.
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Format: Hardcover
J. D. Rhoades is quickly becoming the master of "redneck noir," a classic description for dark thriller fiction set in the deep or rural south. William Faulkner arguably is the godfather of this genre and James Lee Burke is his heir, but there are such authors as Ace Atkins, Jack Kerley, Jim Born and Jonathon King who also can be counted among its practitioners.

Rhoades is one of the most recent additions to this list. His latest novel, GOOD DAY IN HELL, is but his second, yet his voice is as steady, confident and strong as a seasoned journeyman with a groaning shelf of books to his credit. Rhoades's primary protagonist is Jack Keller, a bail enforcement officer who travels the rural areas that lie between North Carolina's growing urban centers, resulting in an uneasy and often deadly mixture of old and new South.

Keller's target in GOOD DAY IN HELL is Laurel Marks, a good girl gone bad who is wanted on a parole violation. His girlfriend, Deputy Sheriff Marie Jones, is simultaneously investigating the robbery of a gas station and the murder of its proprietor, as well as the apparent abduction of the proprietor's son. Neither Keller nor Jones anticipates that their respective assignments are about to intertwine into what is only the beginning of an explosive, angry and senseless rampage, reminiscent of the Starkweather/Fugate murders in the late 1950s.

What results is a dark character study of individuals on opposite sides of good and evil who are alike in that they are drawn to their inner, dangerous darkness even as their actions spring from opposing motivations. The ending, which ironically takes place in an area far removed --- geographically and socially --- is perhaps inevitable, but carries with it a hope, however faint, of redemption.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Judy Nichols on October 27, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Bail bondsman Jack Keller is back again, hot on the trail of Laurel Marks, a young woman with a long criminal history and a knack for getting into trouble. She's open for anything, including helping a washed up stuntman choreograph his cinematic vision of mass killings throughout coastal North Carolina. That happens to be my neck of the woods and he nails the area perfectly including Wilmington's reputation as "Hollywood On The East Coast."

It is, of course, a bit graphic in the scenes of violence, with lots of death and destruction. But on the whole, it's a good and quick read, and made my flight from Cincinnati to Eugene, Oregon with the layover in Salt Lake City most enjoyable.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jerry Saperstein HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 1, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Jack Keller, stressed out war veteran and bail enforcement officer, is back. He's still subject to terrifying flashbacks of his harrowing war experience, still boils over with murderous rage now and then and still has trouble establishing normal human relationships. Overall, a very satisfying kind of action oriented guy.

Author Rhoades must be described as a brilliant writer. His plots are meticulously constructed, his characters come alive with only a few words and the story literally leaps from one page to the next. "Good Day In Hell" is great evening reading if you don't mind staying up late: it's that hard to put down.

This story opens with Stan, a 16 year old, being beaten by his abusive step-father in the latter's gas station. While Stan is repairing his battered face, a car pulls in with a young woman and an older man. The girl, Laurel Marks, encounters Stan and says she understands his situation. A few moments later, Laurel and her older boyfriend each put a bullet into the stepdad's head. Stan is given an invitation he can't refuse: get in the car himself or die.

Within a few moments, Stan is possessor of every teenage boy as Laurel "entertains" him in the back of the van.

Gotta admit: Rhoades knows how to start a story.

Jack Keller in the meantime is chasing down a bail jumper. His girlfriend, Marie Jones, a county cop, is called to the station where the murder occurred.

It doesn't take long before Keller and Marie Jones are pursuing the same goal together in their own distinctive styles. Jones is always the cop. Keller simply wants the financial reward from apprehending his next bail jumper, none other than Laurel Marks.

Laurel is a character and a half.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Robert Lee Carey, Jr. on August 6, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
After completing J.D. Rhoades first novel "The Devil's Right Hand", I quickly downloaded this one. I'm glad I did. I've found another top-shelf novel and very skilled writer of hard-boiled mysteries.
This story was perfectly put together, including two main characters and a trio of evil, yet emotionally screwed up characters. You could say this novel, written years ago, could be pulled from today's headlines. Rhoades takes the reader into the minds of each of these antagonists using well-spaced POV's. A difficult task, but not for Rhoades.
I enjoyed his first novel, but this one was even better. "Great work, J.D."
The reader will be pulled in from the beginning, unable to put it down, and the ending will blow your mind. I highly recommend this author and his work. You can bet I'm going for the next one...I love his style, dialogue, and excellent descriptions.
"Keep up the fine writin' and keep smilin'..."
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