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Publisher's Summary

By turns horrifying and erotic, critically-acclaimed author Thomas Perry's new thriller takes us on a dangerous cat-and-mouse game that pits two women against each other: a beautiful serial killer and the detective who is determined to stop her.

When the cousin of Los Angeles underworld figure Hugo Poole is found shot to death in his Portland, Oregon, home, police find nothing at the scene of the crime except several long strands of blonde hair hinting that a second victim may have been involved. Hotel security tapes from the victim's last vacation reveal an out-of-focus picture of a young blond woman entering and leaving his room. Could she also be a murder victim? Portland homicide detective Catherine Hobbes is determined to solve the case and locate the missing blonde, but her feelings, and the investigation, are complicated when Hugo hires private detective Joe Pitt to perform a parallel investigation. As Joe and Catherine form an uneasy alliance, the murder count rises, and both realize that the pretty young woman in the security tapes is not a victim at all.

As Catherine follows the evidence, she finds herself in a deadly contest with an unpredictable adversary capable of changing her appearance and identity at will. Catherine must use everything she knows, as a homicide detective and as a woman, to stop a murderer who kills on impulse and with ease, and who becomes more efficient and elusive with each crime.

©2006 Thomas Perry (P)2006 Tantor Media, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Nightlife is a smart, engaging read." (Bookmarks Magazine) "Reinterpreting conventions and confounding readers' expectations with fascinating characters, this is Perry at his best." (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall
  • Barbara
  • Marietta, GA, United States
  • 01-12-07

Just what you want in a book like this...

I give this book four starts ONLY because the genre (detective fiction) really doesn't warrant 5, but this is top-of-the-line. My experience with Thomas Perry novels has been erratic. With other novels, I was charmed by his turn of phrase, humor and character development, but somewhere after the middle of the book, the plot fell to pieces and became irreparably dissolute. The endings to those books were ludicrous.

I'm happy to report that this isn't always the case. The reader, Shelley Frasier, does a great job, having a light, airy, feminine voice, applying a simple huskiness to voice male characters without sounding stupid. Her empathetic tone when voicing the thoughts of the female evildoer is astonishingly persuasive, and one finds oneself *almost* rooting for the killer in short, breathable pauses. The action is believable and the characters are brilliant. Perry has a great ear for comic dialog, and I'm forever jotting down phrases to use later.

The construction of this novel lends itself well to the audio format; although the action takes place in parallel stories as the detective tracks her quarry, and there are a number of flashbacks, the story is easy to follow and the characters easy to differentiate.

I was really happy with this cop drama and eager to hear more!

20 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Edward
  • 01-09-07

Don't miss this one!

I no longer read thrillers about serial killers-Silence of the Lambs was my last. The genre seemed to have mutated to senseless gruesome and gore-filled images. Nightlife is different. I don't remember how I heard about it, but I am delighted to have discovered Thomas Perry. This book features a female serial killer. The killings are described but there is no effort to gross the reader out. Mr. Perry is interested in making believable characters involved at high levels of stress mix it up. Each character - no matter how slight a role he or she plays - is recognizable to the point that you care what happens to them. This book is not to be missed by any serious mystery reader.

18 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Fletch
  • South Carolina
  • 05-16-07

Almost Great

I downloaded this on a whim and found it to be very enjoyable. The plot was a little "tailored" in it's handling of how manhunts happen (it seemed like too much attention was being paid by the authorities to this killer). Outside of that, the plot was effective and the reading was very good. The reader's voice sounds a great deal, in pace and inflection, like David Sedaris. I particularly enjoyed the dialogue between characters. There wasn't a lot of it, but what there was was very well handled. Though the violence is graphic, the descriptions of it are tasteful. Exciting to it's abrupt end with no lags in action and good use of flashbacks to fill in the character gaps. Good listen.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Great Book, Excellent Reader But Just Stopped?

I really enjoyed this book, found it to be much more than I expected. The reader was perfect for this story, she was able to make each character sound different and immediately identifiable. My only problem with the story, was the way it ended, I mean it just ended, huge buildup to final chapter, and then it was over, left me feeling like the author suddenly had something else to do, or maybe his doorbell rang, so just decided to finish in two sentences?? Really annoying

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Ed
  • Saint Augustine, FL, United States
  • 09-12-07

Suprisingly Good

Since this was a sale book, I did not have great expectations for it. I was pleasantly surprised. Perry developed his characters well and readers should have little trouble immersing themselves in them. Most folks probably have a hard time grasping what goes on in the mind of a psycopath. I do. But they way Perry let you into the mind of Charlene provided clear insight as to what made her tick. At times, the reader might be tempted to agree with her logic. Well, maybe not agree, but comprehend. The only criticism I have of this book is its rather abrupt conclusion. Perry spent a lot of time developing scenarios and using flashbacks to give perspective, only to give the impression that his publisher gave him 30 minutes to wrap things up when he still had a lot of writing to do. If I could subtract a half a star for this I would. The narration was steady and without major fault. This book is worth an Audible credit.

13 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Herb
  • arcadia, CA, USA
  • 12-04-07

a good read

I enjoyed this audiobook, and found the serial killer and detective who was on her case involving. The unemotional pattern and calculating way she moved through the story was intriguing and it seemed like it would take an accident for her to be caught...Very well plotted.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

A great listen, until the end...

This book is such an engaging listen--great characters, interesting and complex twists, great development of the story.

Then, there's the end. I was fully expecting a 5-star experience, and apparently, the timer went off on the author's laundry because all that complex plot got boiled down to a 5-minute, simplistic final scene which cuts (is badly edited?) to a final wrap-up.

I would *love* this book if it weren't for the incredibly abrupt and unsatisfying end. But, I'll give the author another try, and the narrator is first-rate.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Amazing. Just amazing.

Thomas Perry sure has cards up his sleeve. This book is a stand-alone. It bears some resemblance to the wonderful Butcher's Boy series, but not really all that many. The killer here is a woman, and the cop who tries to catch her is also a woman. The book revolves around the characters of these two women, one who keeps learning how to kill people smarter and more efficiently. The cop, Katherine Hobbes, has her hands full tracking Tanya (the killer assumes various identities along the way, so I'll arbitrarily call her Tanya). Tanya runs from Portland, OR to San Francisco to LA to several other cities, with cops trailing after her the whole time. At last, she circles back to Portland, where Katherine Hobbes lives, and where Tanya committed her first murder. At this point the plot quickens as the prey begins to stalk the hunter. By the end of this chase the tension is almost unbearable. I won't spoil the ending, but be assured that Mr. Perry still has marvelous tricks up his sleeve. Shelly Frasier is a great narrator. I have to confess that I favor male narrators, but this woman is good enough for me to open my mind to other women. She has a great sense of pacing, an excellent array of voices, the ability to get you caught up in the suspense and the skill to keep you with her all the way to the utterly unpredictable ending. I seldom say Wow at the end of an audiobook. Mr. Perry and Ms. Frasier, Wow.

11 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • R. Sippel
  • San Jose, CA United States
  • 03-06-10

good book weak ending

Oh I so agree with Evelyn! Very good book and the narrator did a great job, but the ending was, "what the heck?" I felt that maybe Thomas Perry didn't know how to end the book, ran out of paper, or he was at the end of his deadline to finish. I listened to the last chapter 3 times thinking I was missing something.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Ted
  • Lancaster, PA, United States
  • 09-14-14

Perry & Frazier Are Terrific!

Sometimes a good listen is hits us with the chick/egg riddle. Is a terrific novel what makes an audio artist terrific or is the verse visa? Well, anyway… Nightlife has married a compelling Perry novel with the perfect reader.

Perry likes the theme of darkness and light in intense and sustained babble. Two smart, tough, and driven protagonists who sustain a macabre dance over time. And he's such a powerful builder of character that the struggle always seems epic.

He's done that here in Nightlife with a master detective tracking a master criminal. Two women whose motivations are almost as note perfect as Shelly Frazier's creation of their struggle.

Nightlife is Thomas Perry at his best and I'm looking forward to hearing Shelly Frazier tell me other stories.Nightlife is why many of us read mysteries.

10 of 12 people found this review helpful