Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Read: "Magic City" by James W. Hall

Read: Magic City by James W. Hall, 2007, 9780312271794.

Very good. A mystery novel set in Miami with a connection to the 1964 Cassius Clay vs. Sonny Liston fight and a mass murder the night of the fight. You can tell by the writing that Thorn must be a continuing character. Hall's vague references to Thorn's past come off as mysterious and intriguing, not like the seemingly inside jokes of some series.

Main character Thorn lives in Key Largo but his girlfriend Alexandra lives in Miami. Thorn is going to spend a week watching after Alexandra's father, Lawton. Lawton's senility has been slowly progressing and he is getting more and more difficult for Thorn to deal with. Thorn is a laid-back beach bum and considering moving to Miami to be with Alexandra. Thorn's week long stay in Miami watching Lawton is a trial run to see if Thorn can take moving to the city.

Things go bad when a couple Miami goons try to steal an old photo of the Liston-Clay fight from Lawton's home. The photo shows proof a relationship among group of people in the fight audience. Proof of a relationship related to a mass murder against a Cuban family and their anti-Castro militia pals.

Hall does a great job in drawing out his characters and their actions. The two surviving boys of the massacre, the G. Gordon Liddy style goon, Thorn and his relationships with Alexandra and Lawton. Even briefly appearing minor characters get a revealing light shown upon them.

Hall also conveys the feelings and emotions of 1964 really well. The excitement of the upcoming fight and the social and political changes caused by the influx of immigrant Cubans are very well, and succinctly, done.

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