Friday, January 29, 2010

Providence Journal

Here's a nice review of Silencer from the Providence Journal:

James Hall’s enigmatic hero Thorn is back in “Silencer” (Minotaur, 276 pages, $24.99), albeit no longer the same simple rapscallion. Indeed, his last adventure, “Hell’s Bay,” ended with him inheriting a 10-figure fortune from a grandmother he hadn’t known he had.

With money, though, come problems and Thorn faces a host of them this time out, not the least of which is getting kidnapped by a pair of murderously deviant brothers right out of the Carl Hiaasen school of Florida lowlifes. They’re actually hired to kill Thorn, but opt to snatch him instead in order to see if there’s more they can get from the job than their bargain basement fee.

Ernest Hemingway explored similar territory in his brilliant short story “The Killers,” and the comparison holds further since Hall ranks with James Lee Burke as a brilliant stylist, lyricist and novelist as well as storyteller. And, make no mistake about it, there’s plenty of story in “Silencer,” including an animal preserve for rich folk who like to shoot geriatric big game and a sinister plot involving, as always, the tortured state of Florida’s land and environment.

Hall never disappoints and “Silencer” is no exception. Like Burke, to read Hall is to savor every sentence and description, and Thorn remains crime’s most unusual, if phlegmatic, protagonist.

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