Hell's Bay

Thorn Mysteries (Volume 8)

James W. Hall

Minotaur Books

Master of suspense James W. Hall’s Hell’s Bay sends Thorn deep into the wilds of South Florida, in a story with all the haunting atmosphere of Deliverance and the sheer terror of Cape Fear.


Descended from pioneer stock, the Bateses are an aristocratic Floridian family with vast holdings in real estate and mining. When matriarch Abigail Bates is discovered drowned in the Peace River, a chain of events is set into motion, embroiling Thorn with a family he never knew he had and a fortune he doesn’t necessarily want.

Thorn is leading a fishing expedition into the isolated lakes and mangrove swamps of Hell’s Bay when Abigail’s son and beautiful granddaughter arrive, claiming Thorn as a long-lost relative and asking him to solve the woman’s murder. Little do they know that the killer is already on their trail. Soon their houseboat becomes a precarious island of safety in a landscape of escalating violence. What does the killer want? And why is their predator so enraged, determined to kill them all no matter what the cost?

As Marilyn Stasio said in The New York Times, “If violence can be poetic, Hall has the lyric voice for it.”  In this tour de force of fear and suspense, Hall shows how one family’s dark past comes back to haunt its most remote member---and may ultimately cost him his life.


Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1
Twist for twist, curve for curve, the two-lane road tracked the ancient meander of the Peace River through the sun-battered Florida scrubland. Steering one-handed, Abigail Bates reached up and cocked her rearview mirror off-center to better ignore the white pickup riding her bumper.
She eased back in the leather seat and held the Jaguar to thirty-five and returned to spying on the river through the cypress and pines. In the full sun its dawdling current threw off a silver glow against the riverbank trees and lit the belly of a great blue heron as it slid upstream with ungainly


Praise for Hell's Bay

“A masterful writer.”---James Patterson


“No writer working today…more clearly evokes the shadows and loss that hide within the human heart.”---Robert Crais


“The king of the Florida-gothic noir.”---Dennis Lehane


“Delivers taut and muscular stories about a place where evil always lurks beneath the surface.” ---Michael Connelly


“I believe no one has written more lyrically of the Gulf Stream since Ernest Hemingway.” ---James Lee Burke

Reviews from Goodreads



  • James W. Hall

  • JAMES W. HALL is an Edgar and Shamus Award–winning author whose books have been translated into a dozen languages. He has written four books of poetry, a collection of short fiction, and a collection of essays. This is his fifteenth novel. He and his wife, Evelyn, divide their time between South Florida and North Carolina.

  • James W. Hall Photo: Maggie Evans Silverstein
    James W. Hall


Available Formats and Book Details

Hell's Bay

Thorn Mysteries

James W. Hall

  • e-Book



Minotaur Books