Jane Whitefield, first introduced in Perry's Vanishing Act, makes her fifth appearance as a ghostmaker, someone who provides new identities for people in trouble. In this fast-paced thriller, Jane, a one-woman witness protection program, is semiretired, married to a doctor and living a quiet life until a teenage girl, Rita Shelford, comes to her door seeking help. The girl is being hunted, having witnessed a mob shakedown at the Florida house she was employed to clean. Protecting the girl propels Jane into a series of adventures involving Bernie the Elephant, an old man with a photographic memory who has kept Mafia financial records in his head for decades. With Jane's help, Bernie steals billions of dollars from the Mafia accounts and donates the money to charity. Not happy, the mobsters use every trick to capture Jane and Rita. The two women cross the U.S. several times, barely staying one step ahead of their pursuers. While there are many exciting moments, the story bogs down in several places while the mobsters speculate, rehashing information the reader already knows. Perry's writing style and vocabulary are easy and simplistic, and Jane sometimes seems too cool, and too smart, for her own good. The Mafia characters are numerous and interchangeable, and the story ends limply, with four unnecessary closing chapters. This is far from Perry's best, but it's still a quick, easy read with a few thrills. (Jan.) FYI: Perry won an Edgar for The Butcher's Boy.
Reviewed on: 11/29/1999 Release date: 12/01/1999
Mass Market Paperbound - 371 pages - 978-0-8041-1541-4