“Going Dark,” by James W. Hall. Minotaur Books. 320 pages. $25.99.
There is no more delightful companion for a habitual reader than a new book by James W. Hall. Even taking into account the spectrum of darkness signaled by Mr. Hall’s perfect and provocative title, readers will have to agree that the maturing of Thorn, the author’s continuing character, is in itself a delight. In addition, Mr. Hall’s virtuoso manipulations of plot, theme, setting, and atmosphere will draw waves of delighted appreciation from alert, perceptive readers.
The plot concerns an environmentalist group’s campaign against nuclear power plants. Activists from the Miami cell of a loose federation called ELF (Earth Liberation Front) are preparing to take a major stand. Their goal: to shut down the Turkey Point nuclear power plant that feeds electricity to a large swath of Florida. If they are successful, “lights out” will be the least of the consequences.
Flynn Moss, a young man who is Thorn’s recently discovered son, has determined to do something useful with his life, and he has chosen the ELF group and this mission as his own. Little did he know the degree to which it has been infiltrated by extremist nut-cases who have a far more devastating goal: nuclear disaster.
Two of the local ELF leaders are Leslie Levine and Cameron Prince. Leslie’s concerns include the survival of the crocodiles that live in the cooling canals of the power plant. The novel opens with a scene in which Leslie is following a mother croc to where she had buried her eggs. Cameron, whose family is legendary in the Miami / Keys area, is filming the activity. Suddenly, the croc mother is alerted to her presence and Leslie is gone!
Leslie surfaces later in the novel (don’t be surprised). She and Cameron are heading up the shut-down of Turkey Point. They prepare to counter the forces arrayed to protect the plant and head off any threats. The plant’s own security force is led by a maniacal schemer who seems bent on having the plant under attack so he can be its heroic savior. A federal task force headed by Thorn’s old FBI friend Frank Sheffield is assigned to thwart the suspected sabotage. . . .
To read the entire review, as it appears in the December 4, 2013 issue of Fort Myers Florida Weekly and the December 5 Naples and Bonita Springs editions, click here Florida Weekly – Going Dark