Blackwater Sound
James W. Hall
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Blackwater Sound
James W. Hall
St. Martin's
368 pages
November 2002
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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Morgan Braswell was born into a wealthy family and, for the first sixteen years of her life, has had everything she could possibly want. Her father owns MicroDyne, a company manufacturing computer parts, and the family lives in a mansion in Miami, Florida. Morgan is especially close to her older brother, Andy, a genius who at seventeen is destined for great things. Then one day it all falls apart. The Braswells are marlin fishing in the waters off of Key West. While trying to attach a transmitter to a marlin weighing well over 800 pounds, Andy is pulled off the boat and down into the deep water. The family is never the same after that. Morganís mother hangs herself in the attic a few months later. Her father becomes obsessed with finding the marlin that killed her brother. And her little brother, Johnny, has a special liking for knives and gangster movies. It is all left up to Morgan to hold the family and their fortune together, no matter what it takes.

Ten years later, an airliner crashes into the waters off the Florida coast. A man named Thorn happens to be nearby when the plane goes down. Also nearby are Morgan and Johnny on their yacht, and although he is busy pulling survivors out of the water, Thorn canít help but notice that the Braswells are watching rather than lending a hand. His suspicious nature leads him to believe that they are in some way connected to the accident.

Fans of James W. Hall will recognize the name Thorn from many of the authorís previous novels. Content to spend his days in the disappearing solitude of the Florida bay, earning a living tying fishing flies for wealthy fishermen, Thorn shows no reluctance at all in getting involved in the events taking place around him. Joining Thorn in Blackwater Sound are his friend and sometimes partner, Sugarman, and from Hallís novel Body Language, police photographer Alexandra Rafferty and her father, retired police officer Lawton Collins.

Blackwater Sound is a fast-paced adventure story with many twists and turns. Readers will have to adjust to Hallís use of incomplete sentences in close to half of his narration and dialogue. But they will be delighted to find that they wonít always know where the story is going. Just like the novelís hero, Blackwater Sound is as unpredictable as it is thrilling.

© 2002 by April Galt for Curled Up With a Good Book

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