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Dead Last (Thorn Mysteries) Hardcover – November 22, 2011

4.1 out of 5 stars 46 customer reviews
Book 12 of 14 in the Thorn Series

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Dead Last is a mystery with multiple layers, with Thorn pursuing a ruthless and clever killer as well as diving into his own past — two paths that will have a shocking convergence.” —St. Petersburg Times

“Thorn, that Key Largo loner whose renegade style always gets results, has written another page-turner, this time with a surprising twist. [...]Which, if any, of these leading suspects, is the right one? As if that weren't enough of a puzzle, Thorn gets the surprise of his life in the course of the investigation.” —Valerie Ryan, Shelf Awareness

"Hall combines crisp prose, solid psychology, sardonic humor, and glimpses of an edgy, fast-changing Florida into a suspenseful and satisfying whole." --Publishers Weekly on Dead Last

About the Author

JAMES W. HALL is an Edgar and Shamus Award-winning author whose books have been translated into a dozen languages. He divides his time between South Florida and North Carolina.

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Product Details

  • Series: Thorn Mysteries (Book 10)
  • Hardcover: 326 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; First Edition edition (November 22, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312607326
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312607326
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #796,913 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Jim Hall is an uncompromising novelist. His latest Thorn adventure is an intoxicating, noir shrouded Florida mystery/thriller.

Thorn at best is a conflicted and reluctant hero. After his bride of just one month dies, he withdraws and attempts to destroy all of his possessions. Underneath the rage, he appears to be re-evaluating his existence.

The self-pity is short lived when an Oklahoma Sheriff enters his life. She's 19 years old and as fierce as any 19 year police veteran. She (Buddha Hilton) has a case that interlocks with Thorn's past and present. The case takes Thorn out of his comfort zone in the Keys and into the urban jungle of Miami.

In Miami, Thorn is reunited with a lover from his past (Obituary writer, April Moss) and learns that he now has twin sons. He reacts as best he can...but it's a tough one to come to grips with.

To get to the bottom of the murders, Thorn must match wits with both the law and the bad guys.

Everyone he encounters harbors some secret and suspicions weave through the story. No action (past or present) is without consequence.

"Dead Last" is smartly plotted. The plot is absorbing, disquieting and unpredictable.

Even with just a small cameo from Thorn's best friend Sugarman, the supporting cast is wonderful.

April Moss, his former lover; FBI agent Frank Sheffield; Sheriff Buddha Hilton and April's mom, Garvey are vividly brought to life.

Jim Hall captures the Florida feel in an authentic manner---you can feel the humidity, taste the salty sea breezes and feel the heat of the Florida summer sun.

At the end, past and present lock together for a payoff I never saw coming.

In the finale, Thorn requests one favor from April. The granting of that favor on the final pages is powerful, moving and unforgettable.

Just a great ending that leaves you thinking Thorn may have hope for some happiness in the future.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
My interest in Hall's writing in the last few years has dwindled because of my sense that Hall and Thorn both lost their way. There was little resemblance to the earlier work that introduced a more free spirited Florida Keys guide and independent man of the sea. As a resident of the Keys and a self-styled waterdog myself, Thorn's antics seemed commonplace and often enviable. But Hall's more recent novels seemed to have misplaced the unpredictable and unique character, and instead morphed Thorn into an unrecognizable dolt.

"Dead Last" brought Thorn back with a vengeance (literally!). The writing is tight, the twists and turns almost unbearable, and the action wonderfully fast paced. The character development - and make no mistake, there are MANY characters to follow - is vintage Hall and the challenges they face and the outcomes of those challenges, while not always what the reader may want to see, make for suspenseful reading.

Highly recommend. It wouldn't hurt to have a rum and coke nearby to complete the mood...
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"Dead Last" is the 12th book in the 14 book series featuring Thorn, a laid back Florida based PI who has been compared by some to John MacDonald's Travis McGee (the series that always had a color in the title). It was my first Thorn book and I knew nothing about the guy nor the previous books. Early on, I estimated his age to be late 30's. After a few more pages and a few more hints I had upped that to near 50. The plot is about a serial killer who is mimicking a TV series serial killer, perhaps to induce a ratings boost. Not a deep plot, no sub-plots worth mentioning, the characters are so-so (I knew Travis McGee, having read the entire series, and Thorn is no Travis McGee) and the writing seemed to me to be a tad sloppy on top of everything else. To make a character's involvement work, the local police have to ask the FBI to investigate the first of the reported murders since they are too busy with other cases. Yeah, right. Then there's the scene where Thorn has the drop on a cop, and she draws and fires, shooting the gun out of Thorn's hand without blowing off three of his fingers. Even Westerns don't do that anymore. Early on in the book, Thorn decides to burn all his stuff in a front yard bonfire, then in the climactic scene he has a philosophical discussion with a bad guy during a fight to the death, where he suggests that it is always wrong to destroy because you will often find a need soon after for the things you are destroying..... If you are looking for crime fiction featuring a Thorne, I suggest you try anything by Billingham in his Tom Thorne, London cop, series.
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By Mike on October 20, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Thorn is a great character. Laid back fisherman, tying flies for special customers. Always seems to have a gorgeous girl in his bed at his little wood hut in the Florida Keys. Always ready to help a friend or a friend of a friend. And, that good Samaritan idealism gets him in trouble. Sometimes BIG trouble. This book is really good. It's a very good "Who done it". It has many good characters with good development by the Author. And James Hall is a good author. Have read most of his "THORN" series. Some are better than others. But they all are a good read. Enjoy, Mike
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James Hall has been churning out the Thorn series for years now and it's incomprehensible to me that after all this time his best book could come this deep into the series. And trust me, this is one strong series.
Thorn has continued to develop and in this book, he's at his tormented, driven best. Thorn tries to do what's right and Hall did right by his main man by giving him some serious challenges in this book. I'm not sure I've ever identified as much with Thorn as I did in "Dead Last." And I wish I could tell you why.
I'm not a book reviewer but I'm a serious reader and if you don't find this book compelling you need to find another genre.
Hall is still, after all these years, at the absolute top of his game.
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