Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Dead Last-James W. Hall

Dead Last

James W. Hall

Minotaur, Nov 22 2011, $25.99

ISBN: 9780312607326

Sawyer Moss, son of Miami Herald obit reporter April, uses his mom’s obituaries as a key source in writing scripts for the cable series “Miami Ops”; a show in which his twin stars. The show’s theme centers on a serial killer using obituaries as a guide to selecting his next kill.

However, a fan duplicates the TV show using April’s obits to pick and kill. Starkville, Oklahoma teenage sheriff Buddha Hilton travels to Key Largo to ask for reclusive grieving widower Daniel Thorn’s help. Thorn’s late wife Rusty’s Aunt Michaela Stabler (who also was Buddha’s adoptive mother) was stabbed to death in Starkville; Rusty’s Miami Herald obituary next to her. Thorn agrees to assist the Sooner law enforcement official in finding out who enforces real life to imitate art.

The latest Thorn thriller (see Silencer) is a superb whodunit as the protagonist wonders if someone from the show is willing to do anything for publicity. The story line is fast-paced while containing plausible exciting twists. Thorn is at his best as he prefers to grieve his loss alone, but out of homage to his late wife works the case. James W. Hall always provides a great mystery.

Harriet Klausner

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