Passion and intrigue heat up the Florida Keys as Thorn and Alexandra Rafferty--returning from Blackwater Sound---face down a brutal killer who has kidnapped the daughter of Thorn's best friend.
Before Alexandra came into Thorn's live, there had been Anne Joy, a beautiful woman who, after escaping the violence of her past, found something like happiness in the languid life of the Florida Keys. And her past includes her sadistic brother Vic, now a wealthy rogue businessman who specializes in the hijacking of pleasure boats and who delights in cruelly murdering their owners. Vic is obsessed by his sister and will do whatever it takes to drive her lovers away---even murder. When Vic decides that he must possess the land on which Thorn's beloved home is built, nothing will stand in his way---not even the life of a little girl, the daughter of Thorn's closest friend. From the lushness of the Florida Keys to a nightmare climax on the tropical coast of Central America, Off the Chart is vintage Hall.
Hall (Blackwater Sound; Buzz Cut; etc.) once again sweeps the sand, surf and swamps of Key Largo, in a hyperdramatic mystery featuring sensitive tough-guy Thorn and his live-in girlfriend, Alexandra Rafferty. Hall sums up the plot nicely at the beginning of the book: "Lunacy and violence. Pirates, pirates, pirates." Thorn's long-ago fling with a beautiful woman named Anne Joy comes back to haunt him years later when Anne's brother, Vic Joy, a modern-day pirate along the Gulf Coast, decides he needs to add Thorn's five-acre property to his ill-gotten business and real estate empire. Anne and Vic are the damaged products of a dirt-poor Kentucky upbringing overseen by a smalltime dope-dealing father and a deranged mother with an all-consuming passion for pirates. Thorn refuses to sell to Vic, triggering a complicated coercion scheme that eventually includes the kidnapping of the nine-year-old daughter of Thorn's best friend. The local body count builds until Thorn is in an all-out battle against the deranged Vic, with a complement of U.S. helicopters and a small army of cutthroat international pirates. Hall's crisp writing, plus the ticking-clock suspense of the child-in-peril subplot and amusing secondary characters like Alexandra's dotty dad make this an exhilarating addition to the series.