My gripes first - the second half of the book is marred by sloppy auditory editing. Sections are repeated which detracts from being engrossed in the ..Show More »tale. The narrator, Joyce Bean, barely makes my score of average; her reading is pretty flat. Now on to the good stuff - the book itself. I read this one as a response to Audible's offer of affordable first-books-in-a-series. I'd probably never have read a Thomas Perry novel had it not been for the opportunity offered at a discount price. That said - I will be reading the next Jane Whitefield novel in the series. I found the protagonist interesting, although not terribly believable, but it is fiction after all. I don't have to think everything that happens in a novel actually could happen in real life. That's part of the entertainment. Give this book a try if you're looking for something a little different than the typical mystery - and if you like your main character to be a capable woman.
Spoiler Alert. In this third book of the Series, Jane Whitefield, super-woman, survivalist, deferential trophy wife, and (mostly) humourless private ..Show More »investigator, comes off with all the excitement of an insurance actuary, and my apologies to all the charismatic actuaries out there (grin).
This Perry protagonist never seems fully fleshed out to me - that saintly, convent girl morality is too evident, whether she's explaining how she's going to fulfill her wifely obligation or why she would vote "no" to a casino on the Reservation or how to avoid getting killed when you are fleeing for your life. Shadow Woman, indeed.
The ricocheting narrative seems to bounce off her, rather than move through her.
I should note that the Whitefield books are not bad; they are just not as good as Perry can be. I think his research is deep, particularly when he's covering geography or explaining how things (eg., firearms) work. So I gave the story a 2 rating.
But Perry can create much better stories, as in The Butcher's Boy series and Metzger's Dog. These thrillers are leavened by wonderful--and sometimes outrageous--comedy. The author can make bad boys (and, to a lesser degree, bad girls) delightful.
For a suave womanizer, Jane's husband, the doctor, is naive to the point of stupidity, making a fetish of politeness and hospitality while the Evil Psycho-Woman uses seductiveness and manipulation to invade his personal space. Within hours, he gives her the key to his house! Really! Did he never see "Fatal Attraction"?
Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, Jane is ruminating about her marriage (skip this part, it's a narrative dead zone). When she starts to help her sexy client run for his life through northern Montana and eventually, Glacier National Park, the plot gains much-needed momentum, with interesting adventures (such as using dog tracking to find humans in the bush and surviving a bear encounter).
Perry likes to write parallel plots where one character is leading one narrative strand and his or her foil is driving a parallel narrative strand. Action and counter-action are interwoven build suspense effectively. Eventually, the strands intersect, and this can be explosive, as in "The Informant" when Elizabeth Waring and The Killer connect in an unanticipated, fantastic, fun way. A similarly exciting parallel narrative played out with Chinese Gordon and the Porterfield in "Metzger's Dog".
In this book, Jane and her husband, each in opposite parts of the country, are separately pursued by one half of the Evil Couple, and both wrestle with brief sexual temptation and resist. But these respective parallel narratives seem overwrought and stretched thin.
Travel, by car, air, and on foot, is a recurring part of Perry's books, and this can be quite entertaining. But in the Whitefield series, it feels as if there is too much time spent en route and not enough time (and character) invested in the arrival. The action feels as if it is happening at arm's length, while we segue into irrelevant sub-plots featuring easy women and a Mafia security chief chasing Jane and her client. And there is one coincidence that beggars belief where the professional killer gives himself away by shooting the wrong guy by mistake, which blows his cover long enough for Jane to escape the scene with her client.
The Evil Ones are shallow, instinctive beings, lacking self-awareness and insight. You want Jane to have more worthy opponents. The Butcher's Boy was a killer you could respect and even like, but when these two are finally stopped, it has the feeling of stopping a robot or runaway train, a resolution which feels flat and anti-climactic.
A final word about the narration. I would have given up on these books had I read them in print, but Joyce Bean lends a strong clear voice to the narrative, making unbelievable situations and characters more tenable. And that's a good thing.
I have read previous Jane Whitefield books, this was the first listen. She was just as compelling and exciting as I remember. Joyce Bean is spot on wi..Show More »th the voices of each charactor. Good story, some parts not completely believable, but exciting anyway
I've read and listened to this series with real enjoyment. The stories are entertaining and the main character is a fascinating woman. Don't expect ..Show More »highly nuanced plots or large casts of complex characters in this series. Instead you get straight forward action and intriguing tips on how good guys can foil and beat bad guys. Really fun and fast plots.
Unfortunately Ms. Bean robs much of the intrigue from these books with her narration of male voices. She drops her pitch approx an octave, appears to constrict her throat, and gives all of them a painfully gravely voice. Hurts to listen to and really distracts this listener from the plot line.
This plot had me panting and drooling for more. Totally captivating. Well written, full of believable action and vivid descriptions. Makes you feel..Show More » like you're standing alongside the characters. Also well read by narrator. If you like action, I recommend this book.
It's wonderful to have a well balanced super intelligent confident heroine. There's no glaring deficit in her personal life like most female leads in..Show More » suspense plots. She's believable and I learn something new with each book. Keep writing them!