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Silencer (Thorn Mysteries) Hardcover – January 19, 2010


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Product Details

  • Series: Thorn Mysteries (Book 9)
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; First Edition edition (January 19, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312359594
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312359591
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.4 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,070,273 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Shamus-winner Hall's superlative 11th thriller to feature Thorn (after Hell's Bay) finds his iconoclastic Key Largo, Fla., PI with a newly acquired fortune. Thorn is excited when his girlfriend, Rusty Stabler, presents a deal to protect 300 square miles of Florida from development and also put Earl Hammond's Coquina Ranch game-hunting operation out of business. Then Hammond is shot to death, Thorn is kidnapped—but Hall is just getting warmed up. While Thorn tries to figure a way out of the literal hole he's in, Rusty and Thorn's longtime friend Sugarman try to track him. Warped contract killers Jonah and Moses Faust, who deal in serial killer memorabilia, and Hammond's very different sons, ex-football star Browning and Miami cop Frisco, play large roles. Hall steadily ratchets the suspense while seamlessly combining elements of Florida's natural history with elements of the state's early development and overdevelopment. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* When Hall’s hermit hero Thorn, the Key Largo beach bum who used to earn his meager living tying flies, inherited millions of dollars from a long-lost relative (Hell’s Bay, 2008), readers couldn’t help but wonder where the series could possibly go next. Thorn a multimillionaire, even one determined to use his money to preserve uncivilized Florida? Well, yes, we’re happy for him, but won’t he cease to be the quintessential off-the-grid loner living on the fringes of civilization? Hall answers that question in this superb thriller, which finds Thorn still on the outside, still inadvertently bringing disaster to those he loves. Nothing like money to make a mess out of life. It starts with what should have been a sweet deal. Thorn’s lover, Rusty Stabler, now also his business manager, has negotiated a three-cornered transaction with the state of Florida and ranching mogul Earl Hammond to save Hammond’s massive holdings in central Florida from developers. All seems to go awry, however, when Hammond is murdered and Thorn is kidnapped. With his hero out of the action for a chunk of the novel, Hall luxuriates in character development, creating rich, multidimensional portraits of the Hammond clan and of two wacko contract killers. But there’s still room in the story for Thorn to face down his demons, the mild-mannered hermit once again giving vent to his lizard brain and unleashing “a crazed surge that wasn’t hate or fear or rage but some poisonous cocktail of all three.” Can anyone match Hall’s ability to combine thoughtful, character-driven drama with blood-thumpingly in-the-moment existential thrills? No, no one can. --Bill Ott

More About the Author

James W. Hall was born in Kentucky, and graduated from Florida Presbyterian College with a B.A. in literature, and a deep love of Florida. He went on to earn an M.A. from Johns Hopkins University and a Ph.D. from the University of Utah, then returned to Florida to teach literature and creative writing at Florida International University for the next 36 years. During that time he published four books of poetry, a collection of short stories, a book of essays, and seventeen novels--most of which feature an enigmatic loner named Thorn. Hall was a Fulbright professor in Spain and is the winner of both the Edgar Award and the Shamus.

His collection of stories, OVER EXPOSURE, is available as an ebook. HIT LIT is a non-fiction work that focuses on twelve of the biggest bestsellers of the 20th Century and examines why we love the books we love.

His most recent Thorn novel is GOING DARK.


Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By TMStyles VINE VOICE on January 25, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If James W. Hall is not already on your "must read" list, do yourself the favor of adding him immediately. "Silencer" is his eleventh novel to feature Thorn, the Key Largo private investigator and crafter of fishing lures. Thorn inherited an immense fortune (see "Hell's Bay")and is interested in giving much of it away in humantarian efforts. His girlfriend, Rusty Stabler, brokers a deal with Earl Hammond Jr. to swap lands in a complicated deal that will result in the preservation of 300 square miles of inland Florida land.

But the night before the deal is to be finalized, Hammond is killed under suspicious circumstances in front of family and the Florida Governor and almost simultaneously, Thorn is kidnapped and thrown into a deep, seemingly impenetrable sink hole by the Faust brothers, hired killers who live on Hammond's Coquina Ranch. Earl Hammond's vast holdings have been kept free of development except for grandson, Browning's, efforts to establish a big-game hunting preserve for high rollers in a section of the ranch.

With Thorn trapped in the deep pit, Sugarman, his longtime friend and partner, and Rusty begin tracking him down. Enter Frisco Hammond, a Miami police officer, who is the older prodigal son and brother to Browning, who returns to the ranch to team with Clare, Browning's suspicious wife, to uncover the truth to what has happened at Coquina ranch.

What secrets does the Hammond Ranch harbor from its celebrity studded past (Edison, Ford, Hemingway, Rockefeller) that haunt Earl Hammond Jr. today? What are Browning and his buddy, Antwon Shelton, former NFLer, cooking up--and how is the Governor involved? Can Thorn find a way out of his underground prison to exact revenge against his kidnappers?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on January 22, 2010
Format: Hardcover
In Key Largo, Florida Rusty Stabler offers a deal to her reclusive boyfriend private investigator Thorn who has come into a nice but unexpected inheritance. He appreciate what she proffers as that will environmentally protect 300 square miles from avaricious developers. Part of the consideration would shut down Earl Hammond's Coquina Ranch game-hunting operation as he plans to donate his property to the State to keep it safe from greedy developers.

However, soon after Rusty pitches her proposal, someone kills Hammond and Thorn is kidnapped. While the sleuth is struggling to come around and escape, his friend Sugarman searches for him unsuccessfully. Meanwhile professional killers Jonah and Moses Faust are working a serial killer memorabilia deal on the side of their paying gig of abducting Thorn; and Hammond's sons (ex-football star Browning and Miami cop Frisco) want justice and plan to obtain it for their late father.

This is an excellent Florida wilderness thriller that grips the audience throughout while also making a strong case for the environment. Thorn is at his best digging his way out of ironically a natural prison of a deep sinkhole while Frisco and Browning's wife Clare investigate the murder and the abduction that they tie together by the protect the land deal; neither realizes the real connection dates back to Depression Era developers in this great suspense thriller.

Harriet Klausner
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By J. Norburn on March 30, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I'm a big fan of James W Hall. I've read all his novels (one of only a few authors I can say that about) and I always bump a new one up to the front of the 'reading queue' no matter what I'm reading at the time. I hate to say it but I wasn't all that enthralled with Silencer. In fact, it occured to me that's it's been a long time since Hall delivered a novel like Bones of Coral or Gone Wild.

I often criticize other authors, particularly after they gain popularity, because their novels become bloated and self indulgent(editors and publishers allow the page count to rise with established authors because of their built in audience). This isn't the case with Hall whose novels keep getting leaner. Silencer comes in at less than 300 pages. I should consider this to be a good thing but for some reason it isn't. It seems to me that Hall's novels are becoming too lean. There is a lack of complexity to recent novels and they seem to be following a playbook that is all together too predictable.

Gone too are the memorable characters. If I didn't already know Thorn and company from previous novels, I'd find them pretty flat here and while the villains have some of the South Florida quirkiness we come to expect from the genre somehow they either needed to be more fleshed out and real or a little more `over-the-top' outrageous. Instead they fall somewhere in between and as a result they aren't real enough to be truly menacing, and aren't outrageous enough to be much fun. Truth be told, the novel as a whole isn't all that much fun. There is virtually none of the dark humor that earlier Hall novels featured.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ted Feit VINE VOICE on March 18, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Thorn is a unique character. In the previous installment of this series he inherited a billion-dollar corporation, but spurned any involvement in its operation, leaving the day-to-day activities to his girlfriend, Rusty, who seems to be doing a bang-up job. Both, however, are interested in preserving the environment, and toward that end, Rusty develops a deal in which the State of Florida buys acres and acres of the company's land holdings for $500,000, which money can then be used to buy the Coquino Ranch and preserve it in its natural state, in which it has existed for generations.

But things are never easy where Thorn is concerned (he seems to get himself into all kinds of situations) and this deal is no exception. There are those who oppose the swap and take drastic steps to stop it, including murdering the owner of the ranch and putting a contract out on Thorn, who is kidnapped prefatory to shooting him.

The tale unfolds with vivid descriptions and deep suspense. How Thorn eludes his death and how his friends attempt to save him is gripping and poignantly written. This suspenseful novel certainly is one of the author's best, and it is highly recommended.
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