cover image Shadow Woman

Shadow Woman

Thomas Perry. Random House (NY), $22 (350pp) ISBN 978-0-679-45302-4

From the disappearance of Pete Hatcher during a Las Vegas magic show to the satisfying denouement, Perry's third Jane Whitefield thriller (following Dance for the Dead, 1996) delivers in full: a well-paced and complex plot, intriguing characters (including a chillingly psychotic couple who make a living as killers) and enough suspense to keep the pages turning all day on the beach or late into the night. Whitefield, of Seneca Indian descent, is a ""guide"" who helps people disappear from their current troubled lives into new ones free of whatever dangers are dogging them. She gives them new identities, new locations and then returns to her own safely hidden home base. But in helping Pete, a Pleasure Inc. Casino bigwig distrusted by his bosses, Jane is up against Earl and Linda Thompson, crazy, ruthless and competent assassins. When they pick up Pete's trail, Jane must snatch him away again. Linda and Earl are relentless in their pursuit, tracking Pete and Jane and backtracking to threaten Jane at her home base. Perry's accounts of assuming a new identity or hiding in plain sight, and of learning to break old habits so as not to give yourself away are fascinating. Linda and Earl's countermoves are terrifying in equal measure. From big city to small town and into the wilds of Montana, Perry leads his readers on a galvanizing chase along a twisting, thrilling course. (July) FYI: Random has contracted with Perry for four more Whitefield thrillers to be written over the next four years.