Dead Last by James W. Hall

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From an acclaimed "master of suspense"(New York Times Book Review) comes a thriller in which Thorn must confront an assassin whose victims and methods are taken directly from the script of a popular TV show

April Moss writes obituaries for the Miami Herald. Her son, Sawyer, also a writer, has been scripting a cable TV series called "Miami Ops" and has been using his mother's work as a central element of the show's storyline. In "Miami Ops," a serial killer is using obituaries published in the local paper as a blueprint for selecting his next victims.

But midway through the season, a copycat appears off-screen, a real-life killer who is using the same strategy to select victims. When this serial killer crosses paths with the reclusive Thorn, he has no choice but to leave his sanctuary in Key Largo and join forces with a young policewoman from Oklahoma who is investigating the murders.

In addition to the show's head writer, April's other son, Sawyer's twin brother, works on "Miami Ops" as the lead actor. Could one of them be involved in the killings? Or are they orchestrated by the director of the TV series, an aging mogul who badly needs a hit? And what about the female star of the show, a deliciously strange young woman who seems willing to do anything to promote her career.

Thorn walks into this hotbed of entertainment business intrigue totally unprepared for the life-altering shocker he's about to face. This loner from Key Largo has brought down his share of killers, but he's never confronted one that was his own flesh and blood.

With the pacing of a thriller, and the lyrical prose for which Hall is renowned, this story pits Thorn against a killer—or killers—whose motives are as elusive as their identities.


About James W. Hall

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JAMES W. HALL is an Edgar and Shamus Award-winning author whose books have been translated into a dozen languages. He divides his time between South Florida and North Carolina.
Published November 22, 2011 by Minotaur Books. 336 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Crime. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Dead Last

Kirkus Reviews

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Thorn, who’s mourning the death of his lover and wife Rusty Stabler, isn’t best pleased to see the 19-year-old sheriff, or to get tangled with a TV cast and crew as dysfunctional as any of Hall’s trademark villains (Silencer, 2010, etc.).

Nov 15 2011 | Read Full Review of Dead Last

Publishers Weekly

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In Edgar-winner Hall’s compelling 12th novel featuring Florida PI Daniel Thorn (after 2010’s Silencer), Thorn mourns the sudden death of his new wife, Rusty Stabler, in typically idiosyncratic fashion—by burning his possessions.

Oct 17 2011 | Read Full Review of Dead Last

Book Reporter

Hall has assembled an amazing cast of characters for this complex story set in southern Florida.

Jan 12 2012 | Read Full Review of Dead Last

Tampa Bay Times

The real murder of Michaela Stabler seems to echo a story arc on a cable TV crime drama called Miami Ops, in which a pair of rogue detectives is tracking a serial killer who chooses victims by reading the obits and sneaks up on them disguised in a Zentai, a skintight black bodysuit and mask.

Nov 26 2011 | Read Full Review of Dead Last

Look At OKC

Now, a serial killer is also using the obits to select his victims and even the type of weapon he'll use.

Jan 15 2012 | Read Full Review of Dead Last

Nights and Weekends

But then a copycat killer starts committing murders in the same way the show does, using the Miami Herald obituaries as a way to choose the victims—obituaries written by April Moss, whose son scripts the floundering series.

| Read Full Review of Dead Last

Sun Sentinel

The calm Buddha, who bears the physical marks of horrendous abuse as a child, sees through Thorn and forces him to deal with his grief.

Nov 20 2011 | Read Full Review of Dead Last

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