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Under Cover of Daylight (Thorn Mystery #1)

3.82  ·  Rating Details  ·  814 Ratings  ·  39 Reviews
The first Thorn mystery from Edgar Award–winning author James W. Hall: a story of revenge in the Florida Keys that “starts good and stays good, right to the end” (Chicago Tribune).

Thorn’s parents died the day he was born, run off the road by a drunk driver on their way back from the hospital. The baby lived, the offender beat the rap, and both went on with their lives—unt
ebook, 358 pages
Published September 6th 2011 by Open Road Media Mystery & Thriller (first published 1987)
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Jan 28, 2010 Jonathan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, mystery
I was surprised to find that there was a "Florida mystery" series, a la Travis McGee (starting with The Deep Blue Goodbye) and even Carl Hiaasen's books, that I hadn't read or, in fact, even heard of before. This was poet James Hall's Thorn series, which opens with Under Cover of Daylight, written in 1987. Hall mines familiar territory but does it with some panache and flair.

Thorn is a lazy beach bum, with a reputation as a gifted fly maker. He sells the flies to local fishing guides, and manage
May 06, 2016 Lynn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved this unusual murder mystery set in the Florida Keys. Thought it might be an updated Travis McGee, but there's no real similarity besides location and underemployment. Interesting characters and a smidge of hot sex thrown in. The murders themselves are pretty upsetting but this book is gritty without the detachment present in most noir. It makes for a nice change.
May 11, 2015 Matthew rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
James W. Hall's debut novel is not profound or significant. It is a derivative Florida crime novel that launched a long-running series.

"Under Cover of Daylight" is a mess, structurally and thematically. Its failures are mind-boggling at times.

The novel starts with a flashback scene in which the main character, Thorn, kills another man. I would say "spoiler alert," but it is right there in the product description. Oh well.

After the prologue, readers are reintroduced to the killer, er, main cha
Jun 07, 2010 Gloria rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
James Hall has written 15 books but this is my first one. Was recommended in a readers' advisory book. I liked it, but didn't love it. Suspect it may appeal to men more. The plot worked well. While you could tell what was likely to happen, the story never got dry. The characters are rather dry though and some are downright sociopathic. Short chapters keep the story moving. Two very sensual scenes and several rather graphic murders included.
Jon Breakfield
Apr 24, 2013 Jon Breakfield rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely love James W. Hall. My wife and I discovered him when we were living in Key West. No other author captures the physical surroundings of the Florida Keys as well as Mr. Hall. That combined with his multi-layered characters and superb storyline, all set in your favorite locales, will have you hooked.
Elissa Williams
Mar 02, 2014 Elissa Williams rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book! It is very apparent that it is written pre modern technology...and I loved that about it. It was almost refreshing! The body count was pretty high in this book. The story line was engrossing and had twists and turns. I read this book in just over 24 hours. I couldn't put it down!
Mar 23, 2016 Ed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
#1 in the Thorn series.

Thorn thriller - When Thorn was 19 he killed the drunk driver who killed his parents when he was an infant, 20 years later the drunk's daughter wants revenge. His adoptive mother's daughter hires her murder for the inheritance.

Scott Lowe
While this author does bring alive a strong sense of place with Key West and south Florida, I didn't find the main characters believable or especially well developed. And the story, well, I couldn't quite suspend disbelief.
Peter Fiske
Feb 03, 2014 Peter Fiske rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, suspense
Right after Doc Ford, Thorn is my favorite Florida character. I have not read the first 3 or 4 Thorn books, but I am making up for that error. I am reading & rereading the entire series. This was the first book and have enjoyed it as much as the last 4 or 5.
Feb 13, 2014 Marjoladue rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
i enjoyed this novel . i think this is the first(?) of his Thorn servies. It had a complicated plot but was well written and had good characters
Jan 08, 2015 Marge rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Will definitely read the other books in the Thorn series. It's set in the Keys which makes the stories even better.
Under Cover of Daylight (Thorn, #1) by James W. Hall Under Cover of Daylight by James W. Hall - Really, really good book. This is the first book in the "Thorn" series. To me it had a real Elmore Leonard feel to it. I love when a plot has half a dozen different things going on and by the end they all come together in a nice little package. There is eleven more books in the series. I have already read #3 which I also liked. I really look forward to getting started with the others.
A good start to the series; exciting, & well told.
Aug 05, 2014 Mica rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Dec 10, 2013 Gramy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: never-completed
The plot was outside the realm of reality as I know it. At the beginning I thought that even with the inclusion of some violence and vague sex scenes, it would inte resting enough to want to give this series a chance. After reading further into the book, I discovered I was completely wrong! The sordid and violent details and never ending profanity convinced me to close this book and go on to more titles that are of interest to me.
When Thorn is 19 he takes revenge on the man who killed his parents when he was an infant. Dallas James was a drunk driver who got away with the crime. Thorn was adopted and lived his life in Key West. His adoptive mother Kate is an activist who is trying to keep the area from being overdeveloped. Kate is killed and Thorn has to find out who did it. Greedy and crazy people abound. Look forward to reading about Thorn.
Carolyn Akel
Apr 14, 2014 Carolyn Akel rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Glenn Bruce
Jul 08, 2012 Glenn Bruce rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I still think is James Hall's best. A great title, a great story, a great read. It's fun, dark and clever. One of those books that you're happy you spent the time to read. Since I put so many down after the first few pages, or at best a chapter or two, this book of Hall's is a real winner. Every page was entertaining, well-written and fun! (Plus, did I mention: one of the best titles, ever!)
Randy Schultz
Mar 30, 2011 Randy Schultz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hall writes like a serious Hiassen mixed with Leonard. Same locale as Hiassen, same crazy ass characters, same seriously flawed dudes as Leonard, same serious story as both of them. What makes Hall different? Thorn, one of the greatest non supermen protaganists ever. I don't know the order of the Thorn novels but this certainly would have been one of the first and it's excellent.
Mar 14, 2013 Jim rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one
Recommended to Jim by: Don't remember
In my opinion, I would like to give it a minus, but on these ratings, there is not any minus ratings. I feel as if I wasted my time and money on this book. Don't know if I will attempt to read another book by this author. There are too many other authors out there that have novels that I haven't read yet. This is just my opinion.
Dec 23, 2013 Lee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a very good debut, even if it was over 25 years ago.
The sense of place and the people of the Florida keys, was really well done. As in a lot of mysteries/P.I. tales, Thorn has been living with something he settled his way 30 years ago. And the woman he meets in the present, becomes a challenge. Will continue with this series.
Eric Orkin
Very good writer, though a bit too formulaic. Nevertheless, being a denizen of southwest Florida, I love his place descriptions and his apparent love of the land, the fauna, and the culture. I wish his characters were a bit more flawed, a little less intuitive, a little more like the rest of us. Nevertheless, an enjoyable read.
Apr 05, 2014 C-shaw rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I read this years ago and liked it; just goes to show you how tastes change over the years. I was so bogged down by disliking the characters this time that it took months to generate enough interest to finish it. Maybe I won't continue on with the other books in the "Thorne" series, as I had planned.
Douglas Cook
First sentence "STANDING IN FRONT OF HIS DRESSER MIRROR, the young man pointed the revolver at his reflection."

Hall, James W. (2011-09-06). Under Cover of Daylight: A Thorn Mystery (Book One) (Thorn P. I. Mystery) (Kindle Location 23). Open Road Media. Kindle Edition.
Ann Warner
Jul 08, 2013 Ann Warner rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm so glad I discovered James Hall, and pleased to know I have so many books yet to read. If you enjoy well-crafted mysteries presented in carefully controlled beautiful language that strips the story to its bones, Hall is for you.
Jan 01, 2014 June rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
One of the worst books I have encountered in a long while.
Jeffrey Hammerhead
My favorite Thorn book. It starts off "Thorn watched her standing at the shore, up to her ankles in Lake Surprise". I also have watched a woman standing in Lake Surprise. I had to read more.
Jun 23, 2016 RollingT rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I found it kind of strange, reminded me of Randy Wayne White's Doc Ford series but not as good. You have the weird characters, troubled mind, and over drinking hero. Ehhh!
Nov 01, 2014 Amy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014-fiction
When the protagonists' motives are in doubt, loose ends are left fraying, and every single issue is solved by murder, well, then I find it hard to recommend the book.
Mar 24, 2015 Kay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Well written mystery about love, regrets, grievances and protecting wood rats. Likeable characters and good plot set in south Florida.
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

James Wilson Hall is an Edgar and Shamus Award-winning author whose books have been translated into a dozen languages. He has written eighteen novels, four books of poetry, a collection of short stories, and a collection of He also won a John D. MacDonald Award for Excelle
More about James W. Hall...

Other Books in the Series

Thorn Mystery (1 - 10 of 14 books)
  • Tropical Freeze (Thorn, #2)
  • Mean High Tide (Thorn, #3)
  • Gone Wild (Thorn, #4)
  • Buzz Cut (Thorn, #5)
  • Red Sky at Night (Thorn, #6)
  • Blackwater Sound (Thorn, #7)
  • Off the Chart (Thorn, #8)
  • Magic City (Thorn, #9)
  • Hell's Bay (Thorn, #10)
  • Silencer (Thorn, #11)

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