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Going Dark (Thorn Mystery #13)

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  340 Ratings  ·  51 Reviews
The New York Times Book Review calls Edgar Award–winner James W. Hall a "master of suspense" and this new high-stakes thriller Going Dark shows why as Thorn embarks on a mission to save his newfound son

Earth Liberation Front, known as ELF, is a loosely knit organization comprised of environmental activists scattered around the country. These extremists take a "by any means
Hardcover, 294 pages
Published December 3rd 2013 by Minotaur Books
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Cathy DuPont
Sep 03, 2013 rated it liked it
Thorn, oh Thorn, wherefore art thou?

Oh, yeah, I admit, I’ve been hooked on Thorn for years, well since he was 20 years old more or less. I’ve followed his family life or lack thereof, his simple lifestyle in the upper Keys, his adventures, his lovelife, friendship with Sugarman then, more recently, his discovery of twins he never knew existed. (That’s not a spoiler since it’s on the back cover of that book.)

In one of the more recent books, the last couple of years anyway, Thorn spent an ungodly
Dec 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Thorn's 14th adventure puts him into the orbit of some dangerous people, as usual. In pursuit of his dangerously naive son, Thorn is caught between a group of eco-warriers out to destroy a nuclear power plant, the fairly loony head of plant security, an incredibly ambitious federal agent, and a pretty honest FBI agent. Thorn, the ultimate swamp-based loner, never learns. Obligations to a friend from the past and to his son override his short-term judgment. It all comes together in a satisfyingly ...more
Apr 03, 2014 rated it liked it
Hall is the best mystery/thriller writer you've likely not read (based on the low number of reviews here, apparently too few people do read him). This was not my favorite of the Thorn series, but as always, the prose is better than 98% of that you will find in most "genre" fiction. Too many young, hot women in the novel wanting to have sex with old, gray men made me go with 3 stars rather than 4.
Dec 30, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: books-abandoned
Didn't finish. Tried several times to get into the book, but couldn't. I'm sure the read is perfect for some, just not for me.

Disclaimer: An ARC of this book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

Another Hall book, focusing on the environment destruction, bit by bit, of Florida. It's a common theme he returns to--that and his protagonist Thorn, always throwing himself in front of the nuclear bomb or flame thrower. It grows weary. I have one more to read and then I'm caught up and can move on to something else. You can warn an author away from clichés and formula, but if the books prove financially successful and everyone is happy, I will understand the reluctance to let it go. People die ...more
Sep 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
The adventure continues this time with his son! Enjoy
Apr 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
This is half mystery-thriller, half nature guide to southern Florida.

Going Dark reintroduces snarky recluse Thorn and sharp, near-retirement FBI agent Frank Sheffield, both of whom have appeared in Hall’s other books. They operate mostly independently, but both are sarcastic and worth rooting for as they fiercely go after what they want. Thorn wants his privacy, but more importantly he wants to protect his son, who gets mixed up with environmental “terrorists”. Sheffield initially wants to solve
John McKenna
May 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
Mysterious Book Report No. 148
by John Dwaine McKenna
My old friend Caywood was opposed to modern technology. He hated microwave ovens and cell phones, but most of all he hated computers. He’d say, only half joking, “Computers are the work of the Devil, and when we’re totally dependent on ‘em . . . that damned old Devil’s gonna shut off all the electricity. You just see how effed-up everything gets then.” I laughed and treated it as a joke when he said that back in 2001. Caywood passed in 2004, a
Gloria Feit
Jul 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book is the latest in the series whose protagonist is Daniel Oliver Thorn, “the man from Key Largo” known simply as Thorn, “a loner by choice,” whose well-deserved reputation is that of someone “going off the rails at warp speed.” (Although it should be noted that this time out he’s probably the most stable person in the book.) The supporting characters returning here are all memorable: Laurence Sugarman, known to all as “Sugar,” a private detective and former deputy sheriff with a Norwegia ...more
Feb 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
#13 in the Thorn series. Thorn would prefer to life as a loner, tying bonefish flies to make a subsistence living on Key Largo, FL. However, circumstances seem to arise that force Thorn from his torpor and cause him to don his knight errant armor and sally forth to right a wrong. Hall is one of a number of authors (e.g. John D. MacDonald, Carl Hiaasen) who find wrongs to right in Florida, often concerning the environment and/or venal politicians, in numbers seemingly disproportionate to other st ...more
Dec 02, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobooks, 2014, florida
Two years ago, I would have rated this 4 stars. The latest Thorn book is solidly good for the series, not one of the best, but is entertaining. The reason I only rate it three is a result of my changing tastes as a reader. I do like having my emotions played with by a good writer, and there's some of that here, but I also like to have something thematic or profound to think about either during the read or afterward, and that's not the case here. And it's not like there's a lack of opportunity. Y ...more
Mar 26, 2016 added it
A “Join or Die” scenario faces Thorn when he barges into an imminent act of eco-terrorism planned by a flakey and increasingly violent group called the Earth Liberation Front (ELF). Thorn, a near-hermit fly-tier and occasional vigilante, has needed a year to re-grow his “familiar shell of seclusion” (p15) after the death of his wife, Rusty, and the surprise discovery in Thorn #12 that he is the father of adult twin sons. Suddenly invested in the well-being of the surviving twin, Flynn Moss – a T ...more
Dec 03, 2013 rated it liked it
The Thorn series has always been a favorite of mine, with the best book being 'Magic City', and the first effort a close second. I view Thorn as a 'thinking man's Doc Ford', as the writing and character drawing is superior to the popular Randy Wayne White series while having the same Florida ties and adventure quotient. The Thorn series is no copy, however, with 'Under Cover of Daylight' predating the first Doc Ford novel.

This latest adventure, though, seems to borrow too much from the Doc Ford
Feb 03, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: did-not-finish

Very disappointing. Read a review in Bookpage Magazine awhile back - eco-terrorists along the lines of Earth First (if they still exist) - and/or environmental activists.

Read to page 72 - I never liked any of the characters, didn't care what happened to them, and wasn't interested enough in the death in the book early on to continue.

What went from "BOR-ING", to "I hate this book", was when Thorn physically attacks his 20 something son in order to get the son to leave a place Thorn doesn'
Tom Tischler
Dec 24, 2013 rated it liked it
The Earth Liberation Front known as ELF is a group of
environmental activists. Their main goal is supposedly
defending the planet and in the last decade have been
responsible for a hundred million dollars in damage
mostly in arson. Flynn Moss the newly discovered son of
Thorn Moss has fallen in with a cell in Miami and they
have their sights set on Turkey Point the largest nuclear
power plant in the state. Their plan is a non violent stunt
to shut down the plant but some members have a far more
Adam Rosenbaum
Mar 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Always good to welcome Thorn back. This time, Thorn, the fierce maverick loner finds himself involved with the terrorist group ELF (Earth Liberation Front). Flynn is Thorn's adult son he never knew, and instrumental in Thorn having to side with the terrorists as they plan to make their point about the hazards of nuclear energy. Ex-FBI Frank Sheffield leads the good guys but Hall makes the vivid bad guys seem just as compelling. Double crosses abound. What comes through is Thorn's and Hall's pass ...more
Jul 24, 2014 rated it it was ok
I have not read any of the other "Thorn" books, nor have I read anything else by James W. Hall. I picked this up out of interest in how the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) was portrayed. I found the idea that the ELF would attack a nuclear power plant and generally behave as a bunch of violent thugs to be pretty inaccurate, as were many of the behaviors attributed to the group. I don't generally read books like this, but I found the characters to be pretty thin, the story unbelievable, and the writ ...more
Dec 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another solid entry in the Thorn series from Hall, this time involving nuclear power, an eco-terrorist group and Thorn's semi-relationship with his previously unknown son, Flynn. As usual, the writing is fluid and captures the essence of the Florida coast as well as any author writing today, providing a colorful background for the sinister goings-on. A satisfying ending brings the whole thing to a close. If you are a fan of this series, as I am, you will not be disappointed.
B.L. Hewitt
Jan 02, 2014 rated it really liked it

Great regional color sets the stage for this twisted thriller. Great development of characters and a very scary plot. The extensive knowledge of Miami and the Keys lets Hall use them well as a character in it’s own right. Set up a plot with many devious players, all with unknown agenda and you are off and running. The story is fast paced and intriguing, the protagonist believable and the sex, hot. You don’t need to live in Florida for this one to make you sweat.

Nov 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: florida-fiction
In both of the last two books, Thorn has just felt tired and played out to me. That being said I really enjoyed this fast-paced read. The plot and setting more than made up for the slow demise of one of my favorite characters. It so rare in this genre that an author willingly lets go of his bread-winning character so I'm looking forward to seeing how the final chapter in this series wraps things up.
Nov 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good to-and-from holiday driving entertainment. A fringe environmentalist group is bent on an act of civil disobedience that grows massively out of hand. Thorn, Mr. Hall's reliable loner and resilient good guy, and Frank Sheffield, FBI straight-shooter both are trying to sort out a lot of mysterious threads and hints, unsettling occurrences that turn out to be anything but coincidental or spontaneous.

I haven't read a James W. Hall in a long time, and I'm glad I've returned to him.
Aug 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
I 1st met Thorn & Sugarman back in the 90's, then lost track of them. I didn't know Thorn was a father, he didn't either, until his twin boys were grown. So I might have to back track here. Going Dark finds Thorn mixed up in a wild ecoprotest, not of his choosing but in an effort to protect his son, Flynn. The characters he comes up against are pretty crazy, each on their own agenda. Like the other adventures of Thorn in Key Largo, FL it kept me turning the pages.
Apr 26, 2015 rated it it was ok
I was very disappointed in this book. The story was primarily focusing on the police and FBI and didn't involve Thorn like I would have expected. This was my first Thorn novel, I going to give another one of his books a shot and if it's as bad as this one, the whole series is coming off my "To Read" list.
David Weinfeld
Aug 17, 2016 rated it liked it
Started slow but picked up. Story was complex and not overly believable. Members of the Earth Liberation Front intend to stage a break-in at a nuclear power plant. But a conspiracy of a nuclear security director, a national security advisor, and an FBI executive secretary intend to turn the staged event into a real nuclear meltdown. Twists within twists.
David Shaw
Mar 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I always enjoy James W Hall and this book was no disappointment. His descriptions of South Florida are evocative. Thorn seems to find himself in inescapable predicaments, but manages to find a way out. Come to think of it he might be considered a Key Largo Jack Reacher without the military background.
Frank Richardson
Jan 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is another Thorn novel set in South Florida. A group of eco-terrorist are planning to destroy a nuclear energy plant and Thorn gets into his usual difficulties trying to get to the bottom of the threat and still managing to stay alive.
Jan 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
Hall never disappoints. Thorn is a great character and those surrounding him are also believable. If you want to discover the Florida Keys and read a good mystery at the same time James W Hall delivers.
Dec 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: thriller, suspense
Eco-terrorists threaten to blow up Florida's largest nuclear power plant in this pulse-pounding thriller featuring the ultimate loner, Thorn. Well-developed characters hold our interest as tension mounts. Highly recommended.
Aug 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, mystery, owned
A fast moving mystery thriller. This being the 14th "Thorn Novel", James W. Hall continues to be able to deliver a fresh story without rehashing prior Thorn and other character history. Well written, however, the finale tended to go a bit too long, but a great ending!
Frank Brennan
Sep 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
I like Hall and his writing . . . not his best but worth a read. Obviously, he is setting up for his next with this ending.
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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)
  • Under Cover of Daylight (Thorn, #1)
  • 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)

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