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Magic City    by James W. Hall order for
Magic City
by James W. Hall
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2007 (2007)
Hardcover, CD
* * *   Reviewed by Tim Davis

In a dynamic and intriguing tale - 'based on real events and newly declassified documents' as noted in the book's dustcover - James W. Hall's highly recommended Magic City transports readers to a dangerous and magical city that is 'long on rumor, short of memory, and overbuilt on the chimera of runaway money': Miami, Florida.

Years ago, in 1964, Cassius Clay and Sonny Liston squared off against each other in Miami for one of the most sensational heavyweight prize fights of the twentieth century. At that time, anybody who was anybody had converged on the arena, and some of the most famous and infamous people in America watched from their high-priced seats as the boisterous, victorious Clay (a.k.a. Muhammad Ali) ultimately pummeled and prevailed over a vanquished, embarrassed Liston.

Years later, in present day Miami, a long hidden, enigmatic (and surprisingly dangerous) photograph from that boxing match has surfaced, and it shows certain spectators who are seated together at ringside. In fact, the identities of and the relationships among several of the people in the photograph seem to be important clues to solving a vicious crime in 1964 when eight people were butchered by a ruthless 'pack of devils.' At the time, in the immediate aftermath of the unspeakable butchery, one of the young survivors vowed he would do anything, 'whatever it took. However long. Until then ...' when he could take full and merciless revenge on the murderers who had invaded his home and slaughtered his family.

Now, when the last remaining copy of that mysterious photograph accidentally falls into the hands of the singular outdoorsman Thorn, Miami suddenly becomes an even more dangerous city. Thorn's life, because of a series of coincidences, intersects with the life of the vengeful survivor of the 1964 murders, and both men are brutally thrust into a murderous labyrinth inhabited by secret agents, militant Cuban exiles, crime syndicate bosses, politicians, former cops, and frightened citizens. Unfortunately, before the perplexing mysteries of the photograph (and the 1964 murders) can be solved, many will die. Even Thorn - and those closest to him - cannot avoid the toxic pollution of death.

Clearly, Florida author James W. Hall knows how to tell one hell of a good story, and Magic City is one of those not-to-be-missed suspense-filled thrillers that will keep readers mesmerized by the relentless action, compelling characterizations, and fascinating plot. Hall's narrative style and writing abilities are rock-solid, so if you want to read a great book by a writer who is at the top of his form, don't miss out on the excitement and entertainment of Magic City. You won't be disappointed!

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