THE INFORMANT by Thomas Perry

Book Quote:

“There was a simple clarity to killing, and it was his only way forward. He had to remind a group of multimillionaires who had gotten used to thinking of themselves as immortal that death could overtake them at any time. He also had to teach them that even a solitary enemy could do them terrible harm.”

Book Review:

Review by Eleanor Bukowsky В (MAY 07, 2011)

One of Thomas Perry’s most iconic characters is “The Butcher’s Boy,” a professional hit man with an impressive resume. In his prime, he was the go-to guy for gangsters who wanted to get rid of their enemies. Taught by his foster father, Eddie Mastrewski, who worked as a butcher but also rubbed out individuals for a fee, the Butcher’s Boy (who now goes by the name Michael Schaeffer) is mentally tough, remorseless, practical, and a perfectionist who has stayed alive by taking nothing for granted. He is a master of weaponry and surveillance; is good at blending into the background; can bypass most alarm systems; and has a sixth sense that alerts him to subtle clues in his environment. Although he can improvise when necessary, he prefers to plan ahead. He does not toy with his victims; he strangles, shoots, or stabs them, and then quickly vanishes.

In The Informant, Michael is in his fifties, and has lived in England for years with Meg, his beautiful and aristocratic wife. He prefers a quiet existence to his adrenaline-fueled and violent younger days. Unfortunately, ten years earlier, he was spotted by a thug who recognized him, and more recently, three men tried to kill Michael and his wife in their home. Michael returns to the States to see if he can rout his adversaries once and for all. He embarks on a one-man killing spree, and Elizabeth Waring, who works for the Justice Department, sees an opportunity to take down various crime figures whom she has been after for years.

Michael travels by plane and car to New York, Washington, D. C., Texas, Illinois, California, and Arizona, seeking information and trying to get the drop on his opponents. Waring, who is an expert on Organized Crime, is on the outs with her tightly-wound and bureaucratic boss, Dale Hunsecker. Without Hunsecker’s permission, she tries to get Michael to turn informant in return for federal protection. Michael and Waring are both mavericks who have succeeded through hard work, commitment, and keen intelligence. However, they are on opposite sides of the law and are understandably wary of one another.

Perry keeps his story moving briskly with well-choreographed action and chase scenes, exciting confrontations, lots of bloodshed, and a large body count. It is entertaining to watch Michael meticulously prepare for each step of his journey. With his savvy and willingness to take measured risks, he could have been a huge success had he used his skills, say, as an investment banker on Wall Street. Perry’s dialogue is amusing and the author keeps us on tenterhooks, wondering how Michael will extricate himself from the gigantic mess he has gotten himself into. Although The Informant is fun, it is also pure fantasy. There is no human being on earth as perfect as Michael (he rarely makes mistakes), and it is a stretch that Elizabeth would risk her job and the well-being of her family to get the Butcher’s Boy on her side. It is also hard to accept that a cold-blooded killer is capable of having a warm and loving relationship with a woman. Fortunately, Perry keeps us from taking these far-fetched plot elements too seriously by keeping us thoroughly engrossed in Michael’s wild and perilous escapades.

AMAZON READER RATING: stars-4-5from 25 readers
PUBLISHER: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 1 edition (May 5, 2011)
REVIEWER: Eleanor Bukowsky
EXTRAS: Excerpt
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*The Butcher’s Boy returns

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May 8, 2011 В· Judi Clark В· No Comments
Tags:  В· Posted in: 2011 Favorites, Thriller/Spy/Caper

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