MEAN HIGH TIDE by James W. Hall


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 Hall's latest blast of Florida heat resurrects stylish dropout Dick Thorn (Tropical Freeze, 1989), hell-bent on avenging the suspicious diving-accident death of his ladylove Darcy Richards, who'd been asking one question too many about red tilapia. Red what? Even ichthyologists would be surprised to learn that this tasty, but ugly, brown fish has now been genetically engineered in everybody's favorite designer color--a billion-dollar secret Darcy had gotten wise to when checking surveillance tapes for Thorn's old buddy Sugarman. A colorful attempt on his own life alerts Thorn to two enemies out of your most atavistic dreams: Roy Murtha, the liquor- store owner Darcy had first heard mention red tilapia, and Harden Winchester, a canny, demented Gulf Coast fish farmer who's spent millions developing the fast-breeding fish so that he can release them into the Gulf, thereby wiping out thousands of less competitive species and incidentally ending the only life his ex-wife Doris' dying husband, a commercial fisherman, can imagine. Best Villain honors, though, go to Harden's daughter Silvie, ``the girl with no sex,'' who feeds each man she meets a tale of incest in order to persuade him to go up against invincible Harden. When Thorn, eager for his own crack at Harden, falls in with Silvie, things really heat up. Thorn's brief, maniacally funny masquerade as Harden's chief fish-farm rival ends with Thorn heading back to Harden's place--where Doris, eager for a reunion with the daughter she abandoned years ago, and Murtha, hot on her trail, are also bound. Merry, brawny, and rambunctious: guaranteed to please fans of John D. MacDonald, Elmore Leonard, and anybody in between.

Pub Date: April 4th, 1994
ISBN: 0-385-30798-5
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Delacorte
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 1994


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