Sunday, December 04, 2011

My Thoughts on "Dead Last" by Jim Hall

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.

1 comment:

Roy Connors said...

I will always trust Ken's reviews of mystery writers and their books. If he likes the book, then I know I will. Ken: Keep on reading and reviewing.