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Book Review: Forests of the Night

Reviewed By: Harriet Klausner

[5 stars]

Forests of the Night     Amazon US HC Amazon Canada HC
James W. Hall
Class/Genre:   Mystery   Woman Main Character   Thriller   Kidnapping
St. Martinís, Jan 2005, $24.95, 341 pp.

In her Coral Gables, Florida home, police detective Charlotte Monroe shockingly sees her spouse Parker and their daughter Gracey amiably talking with Jacob Bright Sky Panther, who she recognizes from the FBI's Most Wanted list. Jacob escapes abducting Gracey. Stunned, Charlotte questions her husband who reluctantly confesses that Jacob is his son from a summer affair with a Cherokee woman years ago in a North Carolina camp owned by his father. That same season arson burned down the camp killing his dad.

Charlotte believes that Gracey is being held in the North Carolina Mountains near the sight of the burned out camp. There Charlotte and Parker hope to rescue their daughter though the latter does not believe his son would harm his stepsister. Making matters more complex is bad blood flows, as it has for over a hundred sixty years, between whites and Native Americans, placing their teenage daughter in further jeopardy.

The opening prequel from 1838 is incredible, which makes for a tough act to follow, but for the most part James W. Hall achieves the objective. The exhilarating story line is at its best when either the felon Jacob or the schizoid Gracey serves as the focus as these two characters seem so genuine. Charlotte is an intriguing police officer with unique talents that surface as she behaves like a lioness seeking to rescue her cub. On the other hand, Parker, as the key link between the players, is one dimensional and never comes across as someone in conflict struggling between what to do for his two offspring. Fans will relish this tense thriller especially when the action moves to the Carolina mountainside.

Harriet Klausner

Reprinted with permission. Do Not repost without permission from the author, Harriet Klausner

Please Note: Books reviewed are usually provided by the publisher, author, or an agent. Reviewers usually get to keep the book.

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