Thomas Perry won the 1983 Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for Best First Novel with his debut of The Butcher's Boy. In this long-anticipated third installment, the mafia hitman emerges from retirement to tie up the loose ends of a score he thought was settled 10 years before. Also returning is Elizabeth Waring, who's been moving up the ladder in the Department of Justice by stepping on the toes of organized crime.
Fans of the audiobook series can breathe a sigh of relief, as Michael Kramer continues his fine work narrating the ruthlessly efficient assassin's bloody march toward freedom. Raspy and gruff without any cheesy wise guy embellishment, Kramer's smooth rumble makes for a slick Butcher's Boy who is clearly a head and shoulders above the slimy Cosa Nostra soldiers sent to dispatch him. He goes to Waring to update his intel on the whereabouts of the under-boss who sent the henchmen, giving her some 20-year-old dirt on the older generation in exchange. As the Butcher's Boy steadily murders first the clowns sent to catch him, then the bosses that sent the clowns, Waring races against the rising body count to either turn the Butcher's Boy into a Justice Department informant or just turn him in.
Kramer has a finely tuned ear for Perry's pacing, and falls lock-step into the rhythms of this righteous killing spree. Sure, the Butcher's Boy has murdered untold numbers of people on behalf of the mob, but all he wants now is freedom from the mob. Michael Kramer finds space to make him respectable and even likable. Thomas Perry has updated the character for middle age without making him any less clever or more insecure. The author and the character both have their priorities in the right place, forgoing glamorous punch lines for the perfect kill shot and showing a willingness to sacrifice everything for the goal at hand, perhaps even Elizabeth Waring. Megan Volpert
Married and living in England under the name Michael Schaeffer, the assassin known as the Butcher's Boy is the target of a Mafia hit team sent to exact revenge for his deadly campaign against the Balacontano family years earlier. Schaeffer kills all three attackers, but he knows more will come and needs to find whoever sent them to end it once and for all.
Soon Elizabeth Waring, now high up in the Organized Crime Division of the Justice Department, receives a surprise late-night visit from the Butcher's Boy. Knowing she keeps track of the Mafia, he asks her who the three men work for. Not knowing they have been murdered, she gives him a name: Frank Tosca, an aspirant to the Balacontano throne. In exchange, he tells her about a murder Tosca committed over 20 years ago.
So begins a new assault on organized crime, and the uneasy alliance between the Butcher's Boy and Waring, who trade current information for old secrets. As the Butcher's Boy works his way ever closer to his quarry in an effort to protect his new way of life, Waring finds herself in a race against time, either to convince him to become a protected informant or to take him out of commission for good.
©2011 Thomas Perry (P)2011 Tantor
"Perry offers a compelling, rapid-fire plot, credible Mafia and FBI secondary characters, an indictment of self-serving officialdom, and the old soul-shattering moral dilemma: what is truth?" (Publishers Weekly)
I was aware of the Butcher's Boy for many years before allowing myself to be pulled in by the fact that this was an Edgar Award winning novel by a first time published author (pretty sure my facts are correct--or close enough to count as correct). Anyway, I was hooked after page one and by the end was pretty darn sure I'd read the last word on the Butcher's Boy. I mean, who can keep a series going about a non-feeling, clinical-like, loner hit-man? Well, evidently, Thomas Perry can and did. When Sleeping Dogs came out I was in literary-thriller heaven and counted myself lucky that Perry managed a second book on the B Boy. However, last week, I sumbled upon The Informant while browsing. I couldn't hit the select button fast enough. I've been listending to it every spare chance I get and for a third time I am not dissapointed. Neither Perry, nor the Butcher's Boy series has lost a step. If you're familiar with the series, you know what to expect. If you're not, but you like mystery-thrillers, start with the Butcher's Boy first, Sleeping Dogs next and then The Informant. I give this series my highest recommendation. Oh--and I rarely comment on the readers/actors, but Michael Kramer is perfect for this series and this character. You go boy!
Dept Q, Harry Hole... where are you?
The flow of the story was fast paced, but not too much so. There was duel suspense of the Butcher's Boy and the career justice officer.
I enjoyed the characters.
I liked both hero and heroine. They were smart, conflicted and professional.
I just could'nt stop listening. I finished it in 2 days at the detriment of my sleep and work!
So much to learn, and so little time to sit down and read. Thanks Audible.
The story is about a long-retired, top-level assasin who's forced back into action when a mob boss gives orders for his assassination. The story wasn't overly complex, but it was definitely worth listening to. I liked the pace with which the author wrote. It never felt rushed, and he allowed us inside the mind of Schaeffer as he pondered his next moves. To me, this was one of the best parts of the story. The ending was great, and I didn't see it coming, so that's a big plus as well.
I will definitely recommend this book to my friends. It's solid 4.5 star listen. The half star deduction is due to a relatively unoriginal storyline, but beyond that the book is a good one.
Retired former magazine editor who is working harder than ever as Mr. Dad to his 14-year-old daughter.
The last 30 minutes of this novel pushed it from three stars to four stars. Before that, the author seemed to break into the story too many times with flashbacks into the Butcher's Boy previous encounters. It was almost like he was trying to figure out what was going to happen next and killed a little time (no pun intended) with flashbacks. It happened too often. The Butcher's Boy is not very likable but, when compared with the people he goes up against, he's the lesser of the evils. He's all business but he does betray a softer side several times in this story in his encounters with a female Justice Department agent. Except for the frequent flashbacks the story flows well and the conclusion was one that most listeners will approve. I'll probably give Perry and narrator, Kramer, another try with Sleeping Dogs.
It's hard to describe a Thomas Perry book - especially the Butcher's Boy series. The protagonist is a true anti-hero. You should hate him, but you love him, root for him, are amazed by his skill. This series is amazing. I fear "The Informant" is the last, but maybe ... maybe. Perry is unique, understated, and his writing is brilliant. If you haven't listened to one yet, start with "The Butcher's Boy", then "Sleeping Dogs", and lastly "The Informant". But don't listen to five minutes of the narration and go "this is terrible, there's no affect." Keep on listening and you'll realize you're inside Michael Schaefer's head. And then everything makes sense weirdly.
A great read. I think this is the best of the Butcher's Boy novels. Perry's characters are so amazingly well portrayed. Bravo!
I loved Butcher's Boy and Sleeping Dogs but this one was a bit disappointing. The first half of the book spends too much time describing events from the earlier books and the current events are not given as much depth as they should. The story just seemed a bit flat and the ending had some really unbelievable details in an already unbelievable story! Of course you will want to listen to it if you have read the first two, but it isn't as good.
English Lit BA highest honors UC Berkeley, 1974. Listening to books for pleasure or education is fun and it separates good writing from bad.
Thomas Perry sir, when are you going to regale us with tales of the level of the Butcher's Boy series or 'Metzger's Dog'? This was a reread (listen) for me, and O, how your craft doth flow! The frisson of surprise that you, the reader are pulling for a professional killer!
And of course, Michael Kramer's cool narration gives the low down on how the rotten crooks keep it on the down low.
Entertaining book. Not realistic but plenty of action and relatively well written. Will listen to further Perry novels.
I am a 67 year old psychologist. I have been married for 28 years, with two sons who are 27 and 24. I love listening to the books.
This is the most recent in the Butcher's Boy series that Thomas Perry began twenty years ago. He just keeps getting better and better, something I would have thought implausible in 1982. The butcher's boy and Elizabeth Waring are intertwined again, this time with the entire Mafia and the Justice Department. The butcher's boy has angered the Mob, to the point where they all meet in Phoenix to agree to kill him. It is one man against the entire Mob. This may sound like something that Mr. Perry might not be able to pull off, but rest easy. He has become a true master of his craft, and Michael Kramer is once again a master of his. How Mr. Perry gets us to side with a professional hit man is just a remarkable feat, and yet we never question it. I can hardly believe it myself. Again the chapters alternate between the butcher's boy and Elizabeth, and again that is a perfect device to keep us guessing, and to cement the very odd relationship between us and them. The suspense heightens as the story goes along, and it never flags. Once again the butcher's boy accomplishes what sound like superhuman feats, and yet we know that he is not a cartoon character. He is human, flesh and blood. He simply is a master of what he does, just as Mr. Perry is. Each time he does this, I just can't imagine how he will top himself, and each time he does it. Analogies fail me, but Michael Jordan and Joe Montana come to mind. At the end of their games, every single person watching knew what was going to happen, and yet no one could stop it. This may be reaching, but see for yourself. Mr. Perry is truly one of a kind.
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