Gregory's Reviews > The Butcher's Boy

The Butcher's Boy by Thomas Perry
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Sep 26, 2008

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Read in September, 2008

Thomas Perry is one of my favorite thriller writers, and this was his first and award-winning novel. Hadn't read it before and decided to see what all the shouting was about.

On the whole, it's good. It's odd, though, reading a first effort of someone whose later work one knows -- you can see how he's beginning to develop themes and ideas that will work much better in later efforts. Perry's theme is often described as being about identity; his characters are often on the lam and needing to disappear, generally while being pursued by mysterious and highly dangerous killers who seem to be endlessly resourceful at tracking them.

At times, the plot in this one is hard to follow -- the body count goes up very fast and you don't quite get whether all the seams are really stitched together as smoothly as they could be. But it's a pulse pounder at times despite his newbie mistakes, and he has some interesting characters. In particular, the sort of walk-on female character whose specialty is helping people vanish was clearly the precursor of his Jane Whiteside character, who is still my favorite. (He did five novels with her and word is he'll have a sixth coming out in January; I think I'll buy the whole set.... Jane was a big influence on me as I've scribbled my own first shot at a suspense/thriller novel, also involving a strong but shadowy female heroine. One can do worse than study Perry.)

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