GONE WILD by James W. Hall


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 Florida adventurer/avenger Dick Thorn, who seems to have lost his first name for good since Mean High Tide (1994), goes up against poachers bent on wiping out whatever endangered specimens they can't capture. Actually, Thorn doesn't cover himself with honor in avenging the death of his old friend Allison Farleigh's daughter Winslow, shot down yards away from her mother in a Borneo jungle. The killers are apparently after the orangutans that the Farleighs had been counting for a census, but the coincidence of Allison's presence is too much to swallow; they've obviously been after her all along. And who are these killers? Allison is sure the man behind murderous twin thugs Rayon and Orlon White is her old foe Joshua Bond, the shady importer of International Primates; but her attempt to get the goods on Bond backfires, guaranteeing that nobody will believe any more accusations she makes against him. And it's just as well, because the Whites are really working for Patrick Bendari Sagawan, the Sultan of Brunei's nephew and Winslow's former crush. Having ordered one Farleigh daughter killed, Patrick proceeds to seduce the other one, Sean, whom he spirits off to romantic Brunei while Thorn, helping Allison enlist ancient poacher Crotch Meriwether against the White brothers, walks into the first of many traps. Though the situations are eminently predictable, they're pepped up by all sorts of grace notes that only Hall could think of: psychopathic Orlon's doomed affair with an eager pancake waitress; Ray's whirlwind courtship of the social worker he's seeing to resolve his obsession with his late mother; the improbable odyssey of the orangutan who's the only eyewitness to Winslow's killing; the punching-bag abuse Thorn keeps taking (from an enraged hog, a bear, a rattlesnake) without unmasking Patrick's evil, grandiose plan. Great dialogue and enough kick in the details to make you forget or forgive the slick damsels-and-other-primates-in- distress scenario. (Author tour)

Pub Date: March 21st, 1995
ISBN: 0-385-31231-8
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Delacorte
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 1995


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