St. Martin’s, Feb 2008
Leaving his peaceful Key Largo, semi-hermit Thorn is helping his friend Rusty establish a fishing oasis for tourists in the Everglades. However, he is taken aback when Rusty’s affluent client John Milligan insists Thorn is his nephew. Preferring to ignore his so called DNA family, Thorn finds himself sucked into the drama of the drowning of the family matriarch billionaire Abigail Bates.
Abigail’s granddaughter insists she was murdered, but almost everyone else believes she died from a fortunate accident. Thorn asks his police friend Sugarman to investigate. Meanwhile an angry war veteran wants the Bates clan dead as she blames Abigail for making her billions with no regard for the environment especially of others; she holds the entire clan including Thorn culpable in the deaths of her spouse and her soon to be dead son. Cut off at HELL’S BAY in the Everglades, Thorn may be the only person capable of keeping them alive against deadly avenging predators planning to turn the Bates brood into alligator bait.
The latest Thorn thriller (see UNDER COVER OF DAYLIGHT, GONE WILD and TROPICAL FREEZE) is an action-packed tale that works because readers will feel transported to the isolation and remoteness of the Everglades. The story line is obviously people trying to survive against much more powerful adversaries who have isolated the hero and others from obtaining assistance. However, there is also a secondary serious theme re the opportunity costs between competing demands of economic growth and protecting the environment. The bottom line is blood may be thicker than water, but it flows freely when you are shot as Thorn learns with this tense one sitting suspense.