Jack Till, who has retired from the LAPD after a respected career as a homicide detective, now works as a private investigator, comfortable chasing down routine cases while visiting his 24-year-old daughter, Holly, who has Down Syndrome. But when the parents of a recently murdered young girl, about Holly's age, ask for his help when the police come up empty, Till reluctantly takes the case.
It was discovered after her death that the victim had been working as a high-class prostitute, and the police are content to assume she was killed by a client, common in such a dangerous line of work. Yet as Till digs deeper, he realizes that the victim is just one of several young female escorts killed in different cities in the exact same way - all had strawberry blonde hair, and all were shot with a 9mm handgun in the sanctity of their apartments.
Till must find his way around the tawdry and secretive online escort business, and decode ads placed by young women who all use false names, sometimes advertise using other women's pictures, and move from city to city every few months. Yet when Till is finally able to catch up with the killer, he finds that the man he's after is far more dangerous and volatile than he ever could have imagined. As the body count rises, Till must risk his life to find this seductive and ruthless killer whose murderous spree masks a far deadlier agenda.
©2013 Thomas Perry (P)2013 Tantor
A typical Thomas Perry novel, similar in plot and form to Pursuit (which is slightly superior) and featuring Jack Till, the detective from Silence. The writing is solid without being showy or demanding, the characters hold one's attention, and the plot is suspenseful but not twisty. This is fine, but I rate it a notch below Perry's best books (such as Strip).
63 y/o psychologist with two sons, living in SF Bay Area. I absolutely love all the feedback I've been getting for my reviews. It's very gratifying. Thanks to all of you.
I guess Thomas Perry just could not sustain that amazing streak of winners forever. Joey Moreland is nowhere near as engaging as the Butcher's Boy. In fact, he is a robot. The "explanation" of how he became a serial killer of gorgeous prostitutes is Psych 101. Moreland's assignments and the process by which he receives them is way less interesting than what is available in prior books. The twist that Mr. Perry provides here is just not that creative. The fact that Joey is hired to kill a target, and meanwhile becomes "invisible" by living with a prostitute that he eventually kills also: big deal.
Jack Till is a man we know from prior books, as is his developmentally disabled daughter Holly. There is really nothing particularly new here, and it is disappointing. Robertson Dean is a very good narrator, who doesn't have that many voices in his repertoire but has enough skill in other areas to more than make up for it.
Unlike Metzger's Dog, there is absolutely 100% zero humor here, which also is a serious handicap. Mr. Perry has entertained us in so many ways that we have become seriously spoiled. The plot doesn't drive so much as plod. The cat and mouse chase is kinda old by now, and is a device that is so common and so widespread that many many writers use it. There is almost nothing new here. I can't recommend it, particularly because the earlier books I mentioned, plus the others, are so masterful that there is no sense settling for this book. Read the original Butcher's Boy, or any of the sequels, or Metzger's Dog, or indeed any of the stand-alone books and you will find one of the most talented writers in the country, if I do say so myself. If you want more great stuff, read Tim Hallinan or Martin Cruz Smith. Save your money on this one.
Willy Wonka of it
So, we have a tale here, that begins in a very startling manner. From there it all moves pretty quickly and there's very little to no formula. Somehow though, it flows, and it all feels fairly realistic.
As mentioned, the tale is fairly enjoyable. You alternate between tagging along behind the private eye who is trailing a killer and the killer himself. We get treated to various scenes and encounters which, on their own, are fairly enjoyable. Both the killer and the detective are somewhat interested creatures with their own tales.
Some problems though: we never REALLY get to know the main characters (even though we're treated to backstory) and everything (including the ending) moves just a tad too fast to really have any significance. Many events happen, very little of them actually matter -- and just when you think it's going to get good, it's over. Just like that.
The reader did a great job, no complaints there.
I had really mixed fillings. The action is really well written and kept me listening, but there were flaws that at best made me feel that this might have worked better as a comic book. It was hard to believe the young villain could be so functional yet pathologically detached, for one thing. Sure he was angry about the circumstances leading to his first murder, but would a young teen be able to hit the road running like that? Also the efforts at omniscient narration describing the detective's thoughts -- would a sex ad really remind him, a man with no stated art experience, of a pre-raphaelite painting?. The dialogue among the detectives was wooden as the author used that dialogue to provide background about plot pointsthe cops wouldn't have needed to talk about among themselves. Nevertheless, some elements were really creative. The "chick book" style intro was a great tease.
I am still finding what I like in Perry's books--I tend to not like the Butcher's Boy series, unlike most listeners, in favor of a more human and personable murderer. It does bother me a bit that all females appear to be characterized as brainless and trivial to the plots. However, this is a good story, but the Till protagonist is so poorly narrated that it almost ruins it for me. He is made to sound like he has perpetual laryngitis, or like Batman trying to disguise his voice. He also makes the female characterizations whiny and over the top. But, it has encouraged me; and, although not at delightful as the Ripley books, Perry's murderers are oddly interesting.
This is my first Thomas Perry novel and I wasn't impressed. I found the Jack Till character to be boring. I kept expecting him to develop more but it just didn't happen. Don't get me started about the end of the story. It was very abrupt. The whole story could have been made better by an epilogue.
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