four-stars
Bookmarks Issue: 
53-July-Aug-2011
By: 
Thomas Perry
user_rating: 
0

A Butcher's Boy Novel

missing imageThis is the 18th novel by mystery writer Thomas Perry, and the third featuring the hitman known as the Butcher's Boy. He won an Edgar Award in 1983 for the Butcher Boy's eponymous debut.

The Story: When readers first met the hired killer know as the Butcher's Boy, they also came to know his nemesis, intelligence analyst Elizabeth Waring. Both are back for The Informant, in which a botched Mob hit on the assassin has prompted him to seek revenge. After dispatching the boss who ordered him dead, he plans to use his connections to Cosa Nostra to gain protection from Waring--which may or may not be on the terms she desires. Meanwhile, some of the nation's top mafiosos gather in Arizona to discuss how they can take care of their old hitman.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 336 pages. $27. ISBN: 9780547569338.

Los Angeles Times 4 of 5 Stars
"I've said elsewhere that Thomas Perry's novels--the best ones--are a master class in thriller writing. The Informant should be the newest addition to that syllabus, read for devouring first, and analysis thereafter." Sarah Weinman

New York Times 4 of 5 Stars
"... a book-length war of nerves that accentuates the best of Mr. Perry's gift for using pure logic and gamesmanship to generate breathless nonstop suspense. Even for the person who would not read about a hit man without the proverbial gun to his head, The Informant is a marvel of tight, thoughtful construction." Janet Maslin

NY Times Book Review 4 of 5 Stars
"Perry's immaculate style--clean, polished, uncluttered by messy emotions--suits the Butcher's Boy, who executes his kills with the same cool, dispassionate skill. But this time there's something almost human about his awareness of the limitations imposed by his aging body. Luckily ... his mind is still sharp enough to devise the kind of ingenious logistical traps a young computer gamer could only dream of." Marilyn Stasio

Critical Summary

Reviewers praised The Informant as a welcome revival of the Butcher's Boy and everything he represents about Perry's writing: a complex but uncluttered logic puzzle plot as well as a central character who is fascinating in his lack of feeling for anyone else. Critics appreciated that Perry and Waring's relationship has evolved into something between a "delicate dance" and a "romance," giving it interesting tension without straining plausibility. Though readers may want to start with the first Butcher's Boy book, critics said this novel is so well-constructed that it is likely to find many fans beyond those who normally like mysteries or thrillers.