Thomas Perry is a masterly writer whose thrillers enthrall and entertain from one series to another. His style is spare and his plots are driven by applying logic to problems to produce direct, action-based solutions. I agree with a fine review that this 1993 work is just as crisp and relevant today (2017) as it was then. The Butcher's Boy was orphaned or discarded; found and raised by a butcher named Eddie Mastrewski. Eddie had two businesses and this series' protagonist was trained in both of them. Selling custom cuts of meat was a dead end over the years but putting people on slabs for big dollars proved to be a growth industry. THE BUTCHER'S BOY and SLEEPING DOGS hit the highlights of the boy's life after Eddie's death.
We can never forget that we met the Butcher's Boy as he amorally kills an honest union member who is concerned about bad pension fund investments and then moves on to kill an honest United States Senator who wants to close tax loopholes. A good part of the tension is the series comes from the sympathy we nonetheless feel for a man who never knew a different kind of life and our knowledge that, in the end, he was used to kill decent people rather than dishonest mob associates. SLEEPING DOGS begins where BUTCHER'S BOY left off. Our emotionally underdeveloped hit man is slowly coming to understand a 'normal' way of life and he is slowly becoming able to feel for people other than Eddie. We also learn that logic can only take him so far: on a pleasant social outing to an English racing meeting, he is recognized by someone from his past. He logically assumes that, with a Mafia price on his head, someone has sent a team to England to collect. That is not the case and he has no way of knowing that he has quickly cleaned up a chance problem. He heads back to The States to convince people that it is better TO LET SLEEPING DOGS LIE. This two-volume series is 'to die for!'