Rough Draft

Hall, James

Published by St Martins, 2000, 2000
ISBN 10: 0312203837 / ISBN 13: 9780312203832
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Hard Cover. VG, Slight Spine Lean/Fine in Plastic DJ Cover. First Edition, First Printing. Signed by the Author on the Title Page. Bookseller Inventory #

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Synopsis: When her parents were murdered, Hannah Keller was 3,000 miles away, on leave from her job with the Miami Police Department. Her family's only survivor on that deadly day was Hannah's six-year-old son Randall. While fishing on the dock behind his grandparents' house, the boy glimpsed the killers, and later discovered his grandparents' bullet-riddled bodies. Five years later the trauma of that day still haunts the boy. He lives in terror that the killers will return for him. Hannah is no longer a cop but now works full time as a novelist, and is trying to do whatever she can to heal her son's wounds. But when she receives a coded message apparently from her parents' killers, the entire episode explodes again. Teaming up with a maverick FBI agent from the Miami field office, Hannah begins to track the killer. As she moves deeper into the labyrinth, she discovers, to her horror, that she and her son are being used as pawns in an elaborate scheme - a trap designed to catch one of the world's deadliest assassins. Hannah and Randall become entangled in a bitter feud, a burning vendetta, and the mind of a bloodthirsty professional killer.

Review: James Hall's series about beach bum Thorne (Mean High Tide, Buzz Cut, Hard Aground) placed him firmly in a Holy Trinity of Floridian crime novelists. Like Elmore Leonard and Carl Hiaasen, Hall brought to life Florida's alluring, addictive mix of sand and ocean, hibiscus and alligator, tanned skin and pastel stucco. Rough Draft, however, is less concerned with place than with plot: Miami is a cipher, a generic background for the convoluted whodunit (or perhaps more precisely, who's doing it to whom) Hall weaves around former policewoman and successful crime writer Hannah Keller.

Fiercely protective of her brilliant but haunted 11-year-old son, who five years ago witnessed the murders of his grandparents (presumably by the embezzler his grandfather was pursuing), Hannah becomes an unwitting pawn in an FBI operation to catch Hal Bonner. Bonner is a Cali assassin with a particularly brutal "signature." Since J.J. Fielding escaped with $463 million in drug money, Hal is hot on his trail; if--the FBI assumes--he can be persuaded that Hannah has found Fielding and the cash, he'll emerge from hiding to exact revenge. They lay a series of clues for Hannah to follow, beginning with a gruesomely annotated copy of her first book that seems to be a direct message from her parents' killer. But as the 72 hours allotted to the plan unfold, it becomes increasingly clear that Hannah will not be led by breadcrumbs; she prefers making her own path.

For sheer presence and emotional depth, Hannah may not be on a par with Alexandra Rafferty, the Miami police photographer of Body Language, and the machinations of the FBI agents--mostly an unpleasant bunch who are wound tighter than the proverbial top--may seem so labyrinthine as to verge on the ridiculous. But Hall serves up a delicious pair of villains in Hal and Misty (who is stalking Hannah for her own purposes). The slow-thinking killer and the quick-talking Hooters girl are chillingly vicious and oddly funny; picture a Capra-esque screwball courtship conducted at the Bates Motel. --Kelly Flynn

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Rough Draft
Publisher: St Martins, 2000
Publication Date: 2000
Binding: Hard Cover
Book Condition: VG, Slight Spine Lean
Edition: First Edition, First Printing

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Hall, James
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