From Publishers Weekly
Bestseller Perry (Silence
) explores the psychology of identity through his characters' hidden lives in this solid crime thriller. After L.A. PI Phil Kramer is shot dead as he's getting into his car one night on a quiet street, his wife, Emily, and his staff set out to find whodunit and why. As they dig, Emily discovers Phil had many secrets. Meanwhile, Jerry Hobart, the hired gun, is ordered to kill Emily. Suspicious of his client's motives, Jerry starts investigating his client, who, the reader learns, is Ted Forrest, a wealthy playboy with a secret life. Perry initially shifts between Emily and Jerry's points-of-view as each probes different aspects of the same crime to zero in on Ted's motives. As Ted starts dominating the narrative, the pacing, usually one of Perry's strongest suits, slows, weighed down with too many characters and subplots. Still, Perry intrigues as always with spare, intelligent prose. (June)
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*Starred Review* Perry remains a kind of literary alchemist, able to mix often-incompatible elements, intricate plotting and subtle characterization, into crime-fiction gold. Here he begins with a gripping set-piece: the murder of private investigator Phil Kramer, who, we quickly learn, kept secrets: from his wife, Emily; from his colleagues in the PI firm he ran; and from the other women in his life. One of those secrets got him killed, and two people are desperate to find out what it was: Phil’s killer, who hopes to use the secret to extort the man who hired him (and has now rehired him to kill Emily, too), and Emily, who needs to understand her husband if she is to save her own life. Perry dexterously juggles point of view between Emily, Phil’s killer, and the man pulling the strings—three unreliable narrators who only know part of the story, forcing us to attempt our own synthesis. But beyond the three-cornered suspense generated by the intricate narrative, Perry gives us three remarkably rich characters, whose multiple shades of gray are delineated so crisply as to form the subtlest of rainbows. This is fine writing from one of crime fiction’s grand masters. --Bill Ott