Friday, April 18, 2014
Review of Tropical Freeze by James W. Hall (1989, WW Norton)
Tropical Freeze is the second book in the Thorn series set in and around the Florida Keys. There’s much to like about the story - the characterisation, sense of place, and quick moving plot. Thorn is the classic loner, lonely, hard man drawn to the beautiful and determined, Darcy Richards, who is stalked by the slightly crazy, Ozzie, and whose brother works for the megalomaniac Benny Cousins. They inhabit the backwaters of the Florida Keys, with its rundown shacks and trailers nestled amongst the millionaire mansions and strip mall development. Hall places the reader in this landscape, evoking a slightly seedy atmosphere that mixes laidbackness and lawlessness. The edgy plot rattles along, with plenty of tension and understated action sequences. There’s not much in the way of reveals or twists as Hall’s style is to tell aspects of the story from different perspectives, which works well. Where the story suffers a little is with respect to plausibility, especially with respect to the Benny Cousin’s plotline and Thorn’s heroic exploits. However, if one can suspend one’s belief a little, then Tropical Freeze is an entertaining and atmospheric yarn.