cover image Gone Wild

Gone Wild

James W. Hall. Delacorte Press, $21.95 (371pp) ISBN 978-0-385-31231-8

Prowling from the crime-ridden south Florida killing fields to the steamy jungles of Malaysia, Hall's latest novel finds Thorn, the moody hero of several previous yarns (Mean High Tide, etc.), entangled in the crusades of childhood friend Allison Farleigh, founder of the Wildlife Protection League, a worldwide organization dedicated to saving exotic endangered animals. When Allison's eldest daughter is shot dead while accompanying her mother and younger sister on the annual orangutan census in the wilds of Borneo, Thorn gets embroiled in the case, which eventually pits him against a sociopathic pair of twins engaged in the brokering of rare animals to zoological collectors-and, lurking behind them, a rich and powerful collector whose designs bring the action to Brunei for a brutally satisfying denouement. Hall's fans may be surprised to find that Thorn plays second fiddle here to Allison, but they won't be disappointed with this charismatically courageous woman or her adventures. With its far-flung locales and unexpected heroine, this is Hall's most ambitious novel yet, a work of considerable moral depth distinguished by rich characterizations, live-wire prose and bolts of offbeat humor. Major ad/promo; audio rights to BDD Audio Cassette; author tour; British, translation, performance rights: Sobel Weber Associates Inc. (Mar.)