This was a very good debut, even if it was over 25 years ago.The sense of place and the people of the Florida keys, was really well done As in a lot of mysteries P.I tales, Thorn has been living with something he settled his way 30 years ago And the woman he meets in the present, becomes a challenge Will continue with this series. Mediocre crime revenge story with characters that I just couldn t care about A public defender who smuggled marijuana so she can save wood rats James W Hall S Haunting Debut Novel First Introduced The Rugged Character Thorn And The Breathtaking South Florida Landscape Where He Lives Thorn S Past Includes A Savage Act Of Revenge On The Drunken Hit And Run Killer Of His Parents Now, Fifteen Years Later, Thorn Still Cannot Escape That Moment, Or The Darkness He Took Into His Soul That Night Not Even His Best Friend, Sugarman, Knows The Truth Not Even Sarah Ryan Knows The Depths Of Her Lover S Pain Then Suddenly, The Nightmare Begins Again As Thorn S Foster Mother Is Found Slaughtered Thorn Can Almost Taste The Rage As He Stalks Her Killer And Waits An Exciting, Well Crafted First Novel That Smoothly Places Complex, Believable Characters Into An Action Filled Plot Washington Post It Starts Good And Stays Good, Right To The End Chicago Tribune James Hall has written 15 books but this is my first one Was recommended in a readers advisory book I liked it, but didn t love it Suspect it may appeal to men The plot worked well While you could tell what was likely to happen, the story never got dry The characters are rather dry though and some are downright sociopathic Short chapters keep the story moving Two very sensual scenes and several rather graphic murders included. I m always a little wary when I review a book that was written decades ago They don t write em like they used to, is sometimes a good thing Don t get me wrong, I m no spring chicken I was reading books in 1987, but in general, I think fiction writing has gotten better Forgive me Dickens, Hemingway, Chandler, Twain and the rest Under Cover of Daylight starts out a little murky and sporadic Or maybe it s crystal clear and consistent, but I just couldn t care about the characters that much The first half had me questioning my choice and I always and I mean always finish the book, well at at least in this decade The second half moved faster, was succinct and seemed to mesh together for a better read I could enjoy the action and quirky characters better, which are the strengths of this novel I was conflicted on how to rate this book I mean the first half was two stars and the second four So I guess I ll give it three stars But stars don t always reflect the whole story Let s just say I m glad I read this book and I d recommend it if you have patience. I kept waiting for the characters to develop and the plot to hang together I kept thinking that people don t talk to each other like the characters did, and if they do, somebody tells them they re not making any sense There were flashes of brilliant, poetic writing perfect for poetry, but maybe not as well suited to a novel, unless the other elements like plot, character development, etc., are polished enough to hold the thing together I note that this was the first in a long running series featuring Thorn I hope the books got better with time. The plot was outside the realm of reality as I know it At the beginning I thought that even with the inclusion of some violence and vague sex scenes, it would inte resting enough to want to give this series a chance After reading further into the book, I discovered I was completely wrong The sordid and violent details and never ending profanity convinced me to close this book and go on to titles that are of interest to me. I really liked this book It is very apparent that it is written pre modern technologyand I loved that about it It was almost refreshing The body count was pretty high in this book The story line was engrossing and had twists and turns I read this book in just over 24 hours I couldn t put it down Loved this unusual murder mystery set in the Florida Keys Thought it might be an updated Travis McGee, but there s no real similarity besides location and underemployment Interesting characters and a smidge of hot sex thrown in The murders themselves are pretty upsetting but this book is gritty without the detachment present in most noir It makes for a nice change. James W Hall s debut novel is not profound or significant It is a derivative Florida crime novel that launched a long running series Under Cover of Daylight is a mess, structurally and thematically Its failures are mind boggling at times The novel starts with a flashback scene in which the main character, Thorn, kills another man I would say spoiler alert, but it is right there in the product description Oh well After the prologue, readers are reintroduced to the killer, er, main character, who is celebrating the 20th anniversary of this event at the murder scene with his skinny dipping girlfriend I wish I was making this up We learn that the murder victim killed Thorn s parents on the day of his birth The murder victim was drunk and ran his family s car off the road into the same body of water that his girlfriend is enjoying, the exact place that Thorn killed him Ham fisted In the second chapter, the audience learns that the girlfriend, who is a public defender, is smuggling marijuana with the main character s foster mother Is this world starting to feel small to anyone else yet Is everybody related to each other Does everything have to tie back to Thorn From this point, characters and story lines begin to intersect with astonishing regularity It is elaborate, yet ineffective.Hall loses sight of his themes forgiveness, loss, and vengeance amid the flotsam and jetsam that comes to define his novel The disparate parts, mainly genre traditions, overrun the story as a whole While chaos and conflict are essential when creating suspense in this genre, it must serve an overall purpose, otherwise it is exploitative and tawdry In an ideal world, authors would scaffold their descriptions of humanity s depravity toward something greater, an artistic statement either pro or con, always unspoken though about the human condition.For the majority of this novel though, Hall seems unable to get ahead of his characters and their actions The characters are so ill defined that they bounce between noir and screwball And, it s not part of his plan The author clearly doesn t have an overarching point when a character murders someone, then dresses up like a zany golf pro and hits three dozen golf balls at a house to rescue a hostage This isn t Dashiell Hammett or Jonathan Latimer It is just bad I will read a couple Thorn novels to see if the author finds his footing with this character After all, it took him two attempts to create a somewhat believable female lead in a standalone novel See my reviews for Body Language and Rough Draft.