A monsoon kept the crowds at bay for Hall's appearance to promote last year's Going Dark. There were four people, including me, that night, for what turned into more of a fireside chat than a reading. While it was stormy last night, the wind and rain weren't at monsoon levels, so the audience was a little bigger. Keep in mind, the previous times I've seen Hall at Murder on the Beach the store was SRO. Still, the author's discussion of his newest, and possibly last, Thorn novel, The Big Finish, was just as intimate as last year's.
Hall started by talking about the pitfalls of book touring itself, saying that by the end of a book tour he wants to talk about any book other than his own. The disjointed path his tour has taken him on surely isn't helping maters. He flew into Jacksonville for an event earlier this week, then came south to Vero Beach. Makes sense. Then his itinerary took him to northwest to St. Petersburg, then back east to Murder on the Beach. From Delray he will head back to Tampa, before driving cross-state to Jacksonville to fly out. Maybe publicists should be required to minor in geography. (That's my own opinion, not the author's.)
As far as The Big Finish goes, Hall said he started with the title, something he never does. Thorn was never intended to be a recurring character, Hall said, adding that "publishers over the years have bullied me into continuing with Thorn."
"If I would have known that he was going to be around for thirty years I would've done him differently," the author said.
The Big Finish takes Thorn out of his comfort zone in Key Largo and into the mountains of North Carolina in search of his son, Flynn Moss, who Hall says is "Thorn to the tenth power." Thorn is what might be called an old-school environmentalist. He loves being on the water and realizes the symbiotic relationship man has with nature, but he isn't in any hurry to join a protest. Flynn, a member of an eco-activist group called the Earth Liberation Front, or ELF, "has that DNA, but he takes it to another level."
Of The Big Finish and its theme of the damage concentrated industrial farming can do to the environment Hall said "This book isn't my soapbox," before jokingly saying that "I just thought it was high time that someone wrote a thriller set on a pig farm."
Is this really the end of Thorn, though? "At the very least," Hall said, "I need a break from Thorn; Although I'm not sure if this is The Big Finish."