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Fidelity Hardcover – May 12, 2008

3.9 out of 5 stars 47 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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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From Booklist

*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

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 1 edition (May 12, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 015101292X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0151012923
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #982,550 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

THOMAS PERRY is the author of 23 novels including the Jane Whitefield series (Vanishing Act, Dance for the Dead, Shadow Woman, The Face Changers, Blood Money, Runner, Poison Flower, and A String of Beads), Death Benefits, and Pursuit, the first recipient of the Gumshoe Award for best novel. He won the Edgar for The Butcher's Boy, and Metzger's Dog was a New York Times Notable Book. The Independent Mystery Bookseller's Association included Vanishing Act in its "100 Favorite Mysteries of the 20th Century," and Nightlife was a New York Times bestseller. Metzger's Dog was voted one of NPR's 100 Killer Thrillers--Best Thrillers Ever.
Thomas Perry was born in Tonawanda, New York in 1947. He received a B.A. from Cornell University in 1969 and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Rochester in 1974. He has worked as a park maintenance man, factory laborer, commercial fisherman, university administrator and teacher, and a writer and producer of prime time network television shows. He lives in Southern California.  His website: www.thomasperryauthor.com

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Thomas Perry's "Fidelity" deals with loyalty, not only between husbands and wives but also between business associates. This theme extends even to the relationship between a hit man and his wealthy client. When an unknown assailant guns down Phil Kramer, a California-based PI and the owner of Kramer Investigations, his widow, Emily, learns that her husband of twenty-two years had been hiding some important information from her. He had been raiding the firm's as well as his family's bank accounts. In addition, he would often leave the office for hours at a time without telling anyone where he was going or what he was doing. Had he been cheating on his wife? Could he have been working on a case so sensitive that he did not want to share the details with his employees? Even though the agency is practically bankrupt, a depressed and anxious Emily asks the staff to stay on and help her search the files for some clue as to who might have killed Phil. What Emily does not realize is that meddling in her late husband's affairs will make her a target for someone who prefers his secrets to remain hidden.

Perry is one of the best in the business when it comes to crafting clear and unadorned prose. No words are wasted and the action never flags. He portrays each character's essential nature with deft strokes and his dialogue is smooth and realistic. For the most part, the author avoids clichés and tired formulas. His hit man, Jerry Hobart, isn't your typical killer for hire. He is self-serving and can be cruel, but he has a softer side and is not completely lacking in scruples. Even Phil, who dies on page two, is fleshed out as the novel progresses.
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Format: Hardcover
It is highly unlikely that an artist like Thomas Perry could write a "bad" novel. But sometimes, even in the best of hands, a novel doesn't turn out the way its creator envisions and I think that is what happened here. "Fidelity", while good, is not up to Perry's usual standard. It is still eminently readable, but lacks the tension that has made so much of Perry's work, like "The Butcher's Boy", so memorable.

Phil Kramer, an old-fashioned private detective who handles undistinguished cases, is shot dead in his car in the middle of the night on a quiet street in the suburbs of Los Angeles.

His widow, Emily is startled to learn that she is virtually penniless because Phil has been consistently withdrawing money from their accounts. The Kramer detective agency has only four people left on the payroll, three detectives and the young, attractive receptionist/secretary.

Poor Emily. Her husband shot dead by person or persons unknown for reasons unkown. Just five years before her teenage son died. But Emily is made of stern stuff: she implores the remaining few people at the agency to stay on and help find Phil Kramer's murderer(s).

Jerry Hobart, the author quickly reveals, is one of the murderers and he is a piece of work. Relentless, merciless, Hobart kills for money nearly all the time and personal reasons some of the time. He is not cheap. But he is surprisingly sentimental, which plays a big part in this story. Shortly after dispatching Phil Kramer, Hobart is given another assignment by his employer: murder Emily Kramer.

Perry weaves a complex tale of love and betrayal, of undiscovered strength and craven weaknesses. Secrets are discovered, other secrets are searched for.
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Format: Hardcover
I am an avid reader of Lee Child, Michael Connelly, John Sandford, Harlan Cobin, Vince Flynn, and I have run out of titles to read. Stumbled on this book hoping it was that genre. Loved it. I felt as though i was rushing through the day to get back to the book. I see a few other readers say it is not his best book - well, then I can't wait to get a hold of the others. The writing is just spectacular. How he was able to create two malignant narcissist types, make them different, and make at least one of them sympathetic is knocked me out. You know those phrases like "weaves a compelling tale which you must follow?" It is true here. I have not met any of these characters anywhere else and I never knew what each would do next.
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Format: Hardcover
I've read everything Tom Perry has written since the inaugural Butcher's Boy and I keep reading him because of his clever writing style and his careful grasp of the procedural, whether the procedure is hiding people or finding people or just killing them expertly. But the final mystery of Fidelity, once revealed, is so preposterous that I almost stopped reading. We are expected to believe that skilled private eye Kramer was hired by a rich psycho to find and return his runaway "daughter" and that Kramer never bothered to confirm that his client actually had a daughter, never consulted other law enforcement for leads, and when he found the "daughter," failed to discover that she was actually an underage girl his client had been bonking. Perry gives the impression of having lost his way in the plot and going to desperate measures to tie up loose ends.
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