Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Thomas Perry's Latest, The Boyfriend, Provides Surprising Twist! ...And Nina...

"Do you remember a homicide from a month ago where a
young working girl got shot in an apartment in Encino? Her
name was Catherine Hamilton...
"Here's where we get to the tricky part. I'm asking because I
need to know about the guy who killed her--how he does things,
what he's got. If you tell me the truth in confidence, it will never
get reported. How much money was in her apartment when you
got there?"
"...Till said quietly, "I really want to go away now and leave you
alone. So tell me what I need and let me."
"...To make it clear, I was a really good homicide detective, and
people remember me. There are guys with stars on their collars
who owe me their lives. If I ask them to, they'll toss your house,
freeze your bank accounts, examine every deposit and
expenditure you've made...
"I figure you'll look at the card and ask around about me.
People will tell you that you can trust me."

The Boyfriend

By Thomas Perry

I have really enjoyed Perry's Jane Whitefield novels, and this was the first I had read other than from that series. Thomas Perry is an excellent writer and has created somewhat unusual thrillers with interesting characters. Jane Whitefield, for instance, is a Native American "guide" who helps people disappear.

In The Boyfriend, it is the character after which the book is named who steals the show...So much so that the ending just stops--The boyfriend is no more, therefore, there is nothing much to say. So that a forewarning.

On the other hand, that only covers a few pages, even if it leaves you saying, "What happened?" Personally, I think Nina is still hiding the last page...

The majority of the novel is full of action, surprises, and an intensive chase that runs through from the opening page.  Jack Till is a former homicide detective that is now working as a private investigator. It was almost imperative that Jack had a sound background and credentials, because this case moved all over the United States, with seemingly no rhyme or reason...and he needed to be accepted by the locals in order to gather information.

In fact, it was through an old friend that he got the biggest lead...that there were strawberry blond escorts that had received the same treatment as his client's daughter...

Like most of the parents whose daughters had been killed, they were not aware that their daughters had graduated college, only to become escorts, making more money than their degrees would have ever brought to them. But Catherine Hamilton's parents had loved her deeply and wanted, needed to know what had happened to her.

"The sex marketplace was huge and chaotic. The girls used many aliases--some ridiculous, some sweet, some crudely obscene. They often posted multiple ads on the same site with different sets of photographs, as though they were doing market research to see what appealed most to their customers. On every site were many ads that offered "specials" that were very cheap for various reasons--because it was Tuesday, or to celebrate a girl's return to town, her birthday, or the nearest holiday that was coming or had passed.
"As Till read, his familiarity with what prostitution was like was brought up to date. There were sites where customers posted reviews of each girl and commented on which acts they performed for their advertised fees, and whether they were cheerful, were polite, and gave fair value. He looked up the five girls and Catherine Hamilton on some of the sites, and found the reviews were still posted, even a year after some of them were dead. They were all highly rated. Could the killer have chosen his victims from these rating services? The company claimed to have no way to identify its customers.
"Finally, after weeks of staring at the computer screen for many hours a day, trying to follow every lead, Till found a girl who caused chills to move down the back of his neck.
"She said her name was Kyra. She had straight strawberry blond hair that hung down to the center of her back, and showed redder against her paper-white skin. The ad showed her standing in profile, giving a flirtatious sidelong glance
at the camera; lying on a bed; and sitting in a chair, wearing a lack bra, staring forthrightly into the camera.
She was wearing Catherine Hamilton's necklace...

It was fortunate that Till picked up on the jewelry that Catherine had worn. He was able to hone in and start tracking, hoping that he could get to the potential next victim. A girl name Kyra who had been wearing that same jewelry in her latest ads...

She was stunning...and Till discovered that he wanted to spend the time doing her usual activities as opposed to asking questions and moving on with his investigation. But finally he showed her the pictures of the other girls and talked her into leaving her apartment with him. Instead, she had called her boyfriend and he came, picked her up...and soon discarded her body just as he'd done with the others...

No matter how Till considered the various options for motive, for what this guy was really doing, things just didn't add up. And now another girlfriend had been killed. Why would she decide to call him? She had seemed to believe Till--enough for her to go with him. Why are women so stupid about men??

Well, there's no way that I'm going to go further into this story. I will tell you that the chase is just beginning! Before long, there are federal agencies involved and many more, but Till is still in there, moving ahead. When Catherine's parents had asked him who was the best, he finally admitted he was and took the case. And when you see him in action, you may realize that if anybody was going to get this intelligent man who had been way ahead of most of the chase, you'll know that it is Jack Till... 

Forget about the ending and enjoy every twist and turn that forces you through this maze that has been created by Thomas Perry... See the inner workings of not only the escort services, but another criminal activity that will leave you sizzling and joining with Till to stop it all!

By the way, Nina didn't mind letting my cats know that the abrupt ending was because of her. She claims that she is the most demanding cat around, it had been a long day, and she needed some lovin'. 

Of course, Ricci, my own nuisance, immediately told her how many books she sat on in any given week!

I left when Ricci's eyes started turning colors...

Highly Recommended!


Thomas Perry was born in Tonawanda, New York in 1947. He received a B.A. from Cornell University in 1969 and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Rochester in 1974. He has worked as a park maintenance man, factory laborer, commercial fisherman, university administrator and teacher, and a writer and producer of prime time network television shows. He lives in Southern California.

Perry is the author of 20 novels including the Jane Whitefield series (Vanishing Act, Dance for the Dead, Shadow Woman, The Face Changers, Blood Money,Runner, and Poison Flower), Death Benefits, and Pursuit, the first recipient of the Gumshoe Award for best novel. See More on His Web Site!

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