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Magic City: A Novel | [James W. Hall]

Magic City: A Novel

A simple black-and-white photograph, taken during the 1964 Clay-Liston fight in Miami Beach, sets off a modern-day murder spree that reaches from the quiet neighborhoods of Miami to the back corridors of the White House. When the last remaining copy falls into the hands of Thorn, a Key Largo recluse, he and everyone he loves become the targets of madmen and trained killers, each of whom has his own powerful motive to see the photograph destroyed forever and its secrets kept hidden.
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Publisher's Summary

Based on real events, and newly declassified documents, Magic City, like the films L.A. Confidential and Chinatown, evokes a time in our nation's history when powerful men were willing to do whatever they thought necessary to achieve their goals.

A simple black-and-white photograph, taken during the 1964 Clay-Liston fight in Miami Beach, sets off a modern-day murder spree that reaches from the quiet neighborhoods of Miami to the back corridors of the White House. When the last remaining copy falls into the hands of Thorn, a Key Largo recluse, he and everyone he loves become the targets of madmen and trained killers, each of whom has his own powerful motive to see the photograph destroyed forever and its secrets kept hidden.

©2007 James W. Hall; (P)2007 Tantor Media Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Another outstanding chapter in one of the genre's most consistently first-rate series." (Booklist)
"Entertaining....Hall offers lively characters, livelier dialogue, and an excellent depiction of contemporary south Florida." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.3 (35 )
5 star
 (6)
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 (8)
3 star
 (14)
2 star
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Overall
3.8 (9 )
5 star
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3 star
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1 star
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Story
3.9 (9 )
5 star
 (4)
4 star
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3 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    M. Anderson Michigan 04-08-07
    M. Anderson Michigan 04-08-07 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    33
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    27
    9
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    6
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    Overall
    "Magic"

    I'm not much of a reviewer, but I really enjoyed this book. The plot was well done, it amazed me that one photo could bring about such tragic events. I thought the narrator did an excellent job, especially with Laughton. I could picture him as a cop in his lucid moments and in his confused state he was at times a crack up with his attitude toward Thorn and sad when he was over tired. The ending left an opening for a sequel. I will definitely look forward to more from this author.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daniel Tamarac, FL, USA 05-14-07
    Daniel Tamarac, FL, USA 05-14-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    21
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Poor Plot Plus"

    I have been a fan of James Hall, but I found the plot and main characters impossible to like. The main character, Thorn, a hero in other books, makes boneheaded mistake after mistake. His stupid moves force you to cheer for the bad guys. You can almost hear the narrator dreading the next line when Thorn in pondering his next move. The idea of a forty year gap in the storyline is absolutely ridiculous. I will give Hall another chance, but it better be good.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda Rogue River, OR, United States 04-27-07
    Linda Rogue River, OR, United States 04-27-07 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    46
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    44
    16
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    FOLLOWING
    1
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    Overall
    "absolutely excruciating!!"

    I searched diligently, I thought, for a mystery that would appeal to both my husband and myself. Magic City is Miami in 1964, home to the Liston/Clay fight and hoards of Cuban refugees fleeing Castro. The sample was enticing, however, the book was awful. We listened for over 5 hours and still could not figure out the tenuous connections between characters. The plot wandered all over. I gave up 6 1/2 long hours into this. I totally wasted a credit.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alan 12-21-13
    Alan 12-21-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    60
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    216
    21
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    21
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    Performance
    Story
    "A thoroughly ordinary effort, at best."

    The basis for the plot is preposterous. If you don't slap your forehead and yell "What??" when it's finally revealed, you just aren't paying attention. It reads as though it was cobbled together the weekend before a deadline in a freshman composition class. The characters are 2 dimensional and the story line is riddled with inconsistencies and improbabilities, not the least of which concerns the photo around which this whole mess pivots. It was taken by a professional nearly 50 years ago at one of the most famous sporting events in history. It was chosen by the photographer as part of an exhibit. Yet, for the story to gain any traction, the reader must believe that only one copy has made its way into the hands of someone other than the photographer. As for the narrator, imagine James Earl Jones heavily overdosed on quaaludes.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    W Barry McCue Braidwood, IL United States 05-03-08
    W Barry McCue Braidwood, IL United States 05-03-08 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    16
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    61
    6
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    0
    0
    Overall
    "One of the best books I've listened too."

    The characters are very interesting and well portrayed. I was mesmerized by the story. Extremely well written, and the narrator does an excellent job. You shouldn't miss this one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ed Saint Augustine, FL, United States 05-05-07
    Ed Saint Augustine, FL, United States 05-05-07 Member Since 2006

    Retired former magazine editor who is working harder than ever as Mr. Dad to his 11-year-old daughter.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    2448
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    410
    219
    FOLLOWERS
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    2307
    0
    Overall
    "Nothing Magic About This"

    Didn't use a credit on this book, but purchased it on sale. It was about what I expected. I was intrigued by the Miami setting since I live in Florida and like books by Hiaasen and Grippando. I think the characters and plot of this story were weak. Lots of hard-to-believe situations and outcomes. I didn't like the soft-spoken narration. Given all those negatives, I still enjoyed the listen. Don't think this will make many Top Ten lists. But it shouldn't generate a plethora of "couldn't finish the listen" reviews either.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Donna K. Ford Little Rock AR USA 04-23-07
    Donna K. Ford Little Rock AR USA 04-23-07 Member Since 2007

    English Mystery Collector

    HELPFUL VOTES
    76
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    169
    13
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    3
    0
    Overall
    "Wow! Thorn is Back!"

    If you are not already a James W. Hall fan this book
    is a wonderful place to start. Richard Allen's unique
    voice truly lends magic to this twisted tale. Thorn
    as Hall's main character is a Luddite, not a modern man,
    but one that anyone would like to have in his corner if he needed help. He is fearless even to
    the point of being a bit crazy but he will find the truth no matter what. He carries no ID but he navigates Miami like a pro though his home, his
    life spirit lies in the Florida keys.

    Having read all of the Thorn novels, my favorite until now was Blackwater Sound. I hope that Audible will add more of James Hall as he has some
    super novels not in the Thorn series like Body Language. If you like mystery, superb characterization, and twists right up until the end enter Magic City; you won't regret it!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-7 of 7 results
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  • Barrie
    Dudley, United Kingdom
    8/13/08
    Overall
    "dark"

    Definitely a dark book. Quite hard to keep with. Even the reader sounds depressed. The plot is ok, and does keep you involved.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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