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Under Cover of Daylight (Thorn, #1)
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Under Cover of Daylight (Thorn Mystery #1)

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  548 ratings  ·  31 reviews
James W. Hall s haunting debut novel first introduced the rugged character Thorn and the breathtaking South Florida landscape where he lives. Thorn s past includes a savage act of revenge on the drunken hit-and-run killer of his parents. Now, fifteen years later, Thorn still cannot escape that moment, or the darkness he took into his soul that night. Not even his best frie ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published March 17th 2001 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published 1987)
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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
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
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
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!
Peter Fiske
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.
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
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.
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.
Glenn Bruce
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!)
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 1 of 5 stars
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Carolyn (in SC) C234D
This was the first of many James W. Hall books that I have read. Thorn is a great character, and I love the Florida Keys setting.
A fun, fast read. Sex, violence, and drugs - what more can you ask for in a crime novel. Oh, the writing isn't bad either.
Feb 17, 2009 Glenn rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of Elmore Leonard
3.5 stars. Starts out quickly and grabs your attention - a clever unexpected twist revealed towards the end.
entertaining - a quick read with some fab characters. and set in key largo, which was nice.
James Goalder
Excellent read, characters are well developed and interesting because of their flaws.
This is Hall's first novel...thankfully he gets much better later on in his career.

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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...
Blackwater Sound (Thorn, #7) Mean High Tide (Thorn, #3) Buzz Cut (Thorn, #5) Tropical Freeze (Thorn, #2) Hell's Bay (Thorn, #10)

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