Magic City: A Novel
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Magic City: A Novel (Thorn Mystery #9)

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  268 ratings  ·  24 reviews
A simple black and white photograph taken during the 1964 Cassius Clay-Sonny Liston fight on Miami Beach may hold the key to a horrific, politically-motivated crime forty-two years earlier.After it mysteriously reappears, the photo is burned in an act of arson thatsets off a modern-day killing spree reaching from the quiet neighborhoods of Miami to the back corridors of th...more
Paperback, 308 pages
Published February 5th 2008 by St. Martin's Paperbacks (first published March 2007)
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Kathleen Hagen
Magic City, by James W. Hall, A-minus, Narrated by Richard Allen, produced by Tantor Media, downloaded from

The publisher’s note says that this novel is based in part on real events from recently declassified documents. Thorne, a young man who has spent most of his life on Key Largo or in the Keys, has become attracted to a woman who is a police technician in Miami. He decides to move to Miami and figure out whether he and Alexandra have anything in common. When he gets to Miami, Ale...more
Lourdes Fernandez Venard
The reclusive Thorn leaves his home in Key Largo to visit Miami for a few days in this novel. He's prepared to show his commitment to girlfriend Alexandra, taking care of her father Lawton, who has dementia, while she's in police training for a few days. But on the first day, two men try to break into Lawton's house, looking for a photo taken in 1964, during the Cassius Clay-Sonny Liston fight. The photo is important enough for several people to lose their lives, and Thorn is caught in the middl...more

Bound 03/08/07

102 in the Shade
In James W. Hall’s Magic City, Even the Shadows Have Shadows
— and They Burn

Key rats and cops, Cuban ultra-nationalists and paid-for politicos, all with secrets to be kept— or else.

By John Hood

Miami seethes with story. High, low and just plain otherwise. Hot, most of those tales tend to be heated, and, as we all well show, heated very often gets intemperate. Our town’s peculiar place in the sun also requires those stories to be...more
In this 15th out of 17 in his series of suspense-thrillers, Hall is in top form, and this is an excellent read even if you never read the others. Thorn, the off-the-grid fishing "bum" with special survival skills, takes a trial run on living in Miami with his policewoman girlfriend, and shitstorm of trouble lands immediately on his plate. An art exhibition includes a photograph of the audience at the famous Clay-Liston fight in 1964, which raises the violent interest of several parties. All prov...more
GENRE/PUB DATE/# OF PGS: Mystery/2007/308 pgs
SERIES/STAND ALONE: # 9 in the Thorn series
TIME/PLACE: Present/Miami
FIRST LINES: Outside Snake's window a slice of Miami moon hung like the blade of a freshly sharpened scythe.

COMMENTS: 04/27/08 purchase from MOTB. Loved it! Have only read the 1st book in the series & even tho' I loved that one just had not gotten around to reading more. Magic City is the pick for th...more
Pamela Small
I happened upon this author, and was completely hooked by his mesmerizing lyrical writing style. The setting is farther south of my hometown,Miami. He writes of the beauty of The Everglades and Key Largo, with its lazy, meandering lifestyle, tropical breezes, and breathtaking sunsets. All his books are gorgeously written prose. Couple that with intense suspense and realistic, round characters and it makes for thoroughly satisfying,vivid storytelling. The protagonist, Thorn, is a dark, brooding,...more
It has been a long time since I have read a Thorn book. I can't say that I really cared for this storyline much. The story didn't make much sense to me and was way too complicated and I thought many of the things that happened didn't make a whole lot of sense. It seems like if Thorn would have called the police at the very onset or multiple times throughout, he could have kept a lot of people from getting hurt. I know his character is this laid back guy who stays under the radar but for some rea...more
Mary Sue
Aug 21, 2008 Mary Sue rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: those who love Florida mysteries
Thorn can't escape violence and mysteries. This novel in the series is one of the best. Fish out of water story of Thorn who makes an effort to try city life in an effort to please his love Alexandra. One day into the trial and he is embroilled in a fast paced mystery involving an old photograph. I liked the story because it is rooted in an actual event. Thorn is Thorn and will never change even if it endangers those he cares about.
This book engaged me from the start and moved quickly, but ultimately disappointed. Elements of the plot and characterizations were just too far over the top. So much seemed so promising at the beginning, and Hall really does write so well, but it doesn't amount to much at the end. It's essentially an action movie waiting to be filmed.
Pretty good. I could definitely do without the romance crap. It is just such a waste of time when murder, intrigue and large scale conspiracies are at work. There were a few pages wasted with that stuff, otherwise quite interesting and supposedly based on some real events.
Almost forgot why I read this guy's books; now I remember. Enjoyable mystery thriller set in Miami and the Keys with the usual protagonist, Thorn, trying to figure out why everybody is so interested in a picture from the 1964 Clay-Liston bout in Miami.
Cassius Clay-Sonny Liston fight in 1964. Five bad people go out later and kill a family. Surviving son wants revenge. Thorn does a lot of illogical and violent things. Pretty good, but a little hard to ignore some ridiculous plot points.
Quick fun read that takes place in the Keys and Miami, with the always enjoyable badass Thorne. This story apparantly is based on some true events, however Thorne is pretty over the top where truth is concerned.
This is the first book I've read from this author. It was pleasantly different, with interesting outlooks on the Cuban population in South Florida. The plot has a couple nice twists.
Edwin Pope! As a Miami native, I do love it when the little details are correct in the story! Another great suspenseful read.
James W. Hall is another of those authors I enjoy just for pure escapism fun. Good plots and interesting characters
I enjoyed this book. Solid story. Nicely solved mystery. Engaging character. I'd like to read more by this author.
Doctor Sax
Superb novel using real life cuban-exile situations woven into a real page turner...highly recommended!
Truly suspenseful--short and devastating, for the characters involved and the "true bits."
Laurie Stoll
I really liked some of the character's in this book. There were also a few surprises.
Different from most of Hall's work. Based on a true story. Definitely a great read.
3.5 stars Interesting read flavored with nostalgic references to '60s Miami.
Youmex Dorisca
not. much action or senspense
Tone Barnes
Tone Barnes marked it as to-read
Jul 05, 2014
Mandy marked it as to-read
Jun 26, 2014
David San Filippo
David San Filippo marked it as to-read
Jun 21, 2014
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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 four books of poetry, a collection of short fiction, and a collection of essays. This is his sixteenth novel. He and his wife Evelyn divide...more
More about James W. Hall...
Blackwater Sound (Thorn, #7) Under Cover of Daylight (Thorn, #1) Mean High Tide (Thorn, #3) Buzz Cut (Thorn, #5) Tropical Freeze (Thorn, #2)

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