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Nightlife: A Novel [Kindle Edition]

Thomas Perry
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $7.99
Kindle Price: $5.99
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14th Deadly Sin
Third in the Women's Murder Club series: As violence sweeps through San Francisco, Detective Lindsay Boxer and her friends must risk their lives in the name of justice—before it's too late. Read more about authors James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

Book Description

Thomas Perry’s novels of suspense have been celebrated for their “dazzling ingenuity” (The New York Times Book Review) and for writing that is “as sharp as a sushi knife” (Los Angeles Times). By turns horrifying and erotic, Perry’s new thriller takes us on a dangerous cat-and-mouse game that pits two women against each other: a beautiful serial killer and the detective who is determined to stop her.

When the cousin of Los Angeles underworld figure Hugo Poole is found shot to death in his Portland, Oregon, home, police find nothing at the scene of the crime except several long strands of blond hair hinting that a second victim may have been involved. Hotel security tapes from the victim’s last vacation reveal an out-of-focus picture of a young blond woman entering and leaving his room. Could she also be a murder victim?

Portland homicide detective Catherine Hobbes is determined to solve the case and locate the missing blonde, but her feelings, and the investigation, are complicated when Hugo hires private detective Joe Pitt to perform a parallel investigation. As the Joe and Catherine form an uneasy alliance, the murder count rises–and both realize that the pretty young woman in the security tapes is not a victim at all.

As Catherine follows the evidence, she finds herself in a deadly contest with an unpredictable adversary capable of changing her appearance and identity at will. Catherine must use everything she knows, as a homicide detective and as a woman, to stop a murderer who kills on impulse and with ease, and who becomes more efficient and elusive with each crime.

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Serial killer Charlene Buckner—aka Tanya Starling, Rachel Sturbridge, Nancy Mills, and several other monikers—changes her identity each time she commits a murder. By the end of Perry's mesmerizing novel (Pursuit; The Butcher's Boy), Charlene has racked up an impressive body count and her own personal Rolodex of bogus names. Yes, as a child she had a slutty mom, and yes, she was abandoned in her late teens, but her life story is hardly the horror show of most fictional serial killers. Perry patiently shows that it doesn't necessarily take child molestation and brutality to create a murderer. "She was just a regular person who had always wanted what everybody else wanted—to be happy." Portland police detective Sgt. Catherine Hobbes investigates Charlene's first kill, Dennis Poole, and follows close behind her, always just a little too late to catch Charlene or save her latest victim, as Charlene moves on to San Francisco, L.A., Las Vegas and other locales, where she pauses just long enough to commit another murder. Hobbes has her own issues, and by the end the two women have grown close not only in proximity but in identity as well. Reinterpreting conventions and confounding readers' expectations with fascinating characters, this is Perry at his best. (Mar. 14)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Bookmarks Magazine

Thomas Perry, author of the Edgar Award?winning The Butcher's Boy, the five-volume Jane Whitefield series, and other best-selling novels, has taken typical elements of an ordinary crime thriller and given them an unusual, erotic twist. The New York Times compares Nightlife's psychological impact to that of The Silence of the Lambs and Mystic River: we're not dealing with a stock killer but a rather ordinary young woman turned bad. Critics agree that Perry successfully delves deep inside the female psyche with chapters narrated from both Hobbes's and the murderer's perspectives. A little haphazard storytelling, with characters flitting in and out of chapters, confused some critics, but overall, Nightlife is a smart, engaging read.

Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 346 KB
  • Print Length: 416 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0345496000
  • Publisher: Random House (March 7, 2006)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000FCKPM6
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #205,977 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Thomas Perry's best work March 27, 2006
Thomas Perry has written some modern classic suspense novels such as the Edgar Award winning THE BUTCHER'S BOY. He has created some interesting and strong female protagonists. His latest effort, NIGHTLIFE, features again some very strong female protagonists- one a serial killer and the other the cop pursuing her.

Hugo Poole is a major crime figure living in LA. When a cousin of his is found murdered in his Oregon home, Poole hires retired detective Joe Pitt to find his cousin's killer. Catherine Hobbes is the Portland homicide detective assigned to the case. As Catherine looks into the killing, she discovers that the killer is a female who has established a relationship with her victim. In fact, the killer is a woman of many identities who has made a habit of dating then killing men. Catherine publicly begins to pursue the killer. Unfortunately, the killer begins to feel boxed in by Catherine and decides to murder her pursuer.

Thomas Perry knows how to weave a compelling tale. Unfortunately, in this latest work, he lacked a certain focus. The plot meandered and quite often his story would wander off on tangents that might lead a reader to wonder about the editing. For example, he describes a minor character with great care and detail over the span of several pages only to kill them off ten pages later. The ending comes so suddenly with virtually no denouement that the reader might be left scratching their head. This is not Thomas Perry's best effort. I would recommend some of his earlier works such as PURSUIT or DEAD AIM which were just republished in attractive trade paperbacks.
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47 of 50 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Potentially a terrific book, but it went sideways March 16, 2006
I won't summarize the entire novel, as you can see that in the publishing reviews.

A new Thomas Perry book has always been a long-anticipated treat, from "Butcher's Boy" through the Jane Whitfield series and right up to the present, usually made all the more welcome due to the sporadic timing of his works; Perry doesn't follow the usual one-per-year schedule of most popular fiction writers.

From the start, "Nightlife" is a grabber, introducing one of the best female villains ever in his central antagonist (who goes by many names throughout the story), and very effectively portraying her as a total sociopath - it's an absolutely riveting depiction.

He also introduces a couple of other fascinating characters: Hugo Poole (in what has to be one of the best character intros in contemporary fiction) and Joe Pitt. Both of these characters are fascinating: unique, compelling, memorable. Poole is a shady underworld character with a strong set of values, a take-no-prisoners attitude, and the stones to carry it all off. Pitt is a retired DA's investigator, ex-cop, lady's man, the kind of guy you want at your back in a dark alley.

Perry's third protagonist is Catherine Hobbes, a Portland PD detective trying to track down the murderous antagonist. Another well-delineated character, though not nearly as interesting as either Poole or Pitt.

The story moves along briskly at first, as the antagonist moves from city to city ( and identity to identity ) in her efforts to stay ahead of the law, killing her victims along the way.

But for me, it all goes sideways about two thirds of the way through. Earlier in the book, we'd seen Poole fall very far into the background of the story ( a terrible waste of a fascinating character ).
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great suspense story March 11, 2006
I always read a new Thomas Perry novel as soon as possible, then, over time, I re-read them. He's that good. I loved this one -- the serial killer is both fascinating and frighteningly banal. That's quite a trick. I liked the heroine, Catherine Hobbs, and I liked watching her mind work. She is intelligent and observant, logical and dedicated. Good characters, and wonderful writing. Go buy it, read it, then try his other books. I'm particularly partial to "Metzger's Dog", but really, I've enjoyed them all. Perry does not repeat himself, and he is always excellent. Read him.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Beginning: Poor Climax July 13, 2006
The first 2/3 of this book were excellent, and up to the standards set by Perry's earlier thrillers. The last 1/3 of the book bogs down as it delves deeply into the mind of the villain as the narrative focuses on her more and more. This wouldn't be so bad if this examination of her psyche were mixed in with some action or dialogue, but there is no mixing. Where most thrillers would be racing to their breakneck conclusion, this one limps. For the first time ever, I found myself skimming a Thomas Perry book, and the ending couldn't come fast enough.

Read 'Butcher's Boy' or 'Metzger's Dog,' both of which are earlier Perry books. You'll be happy you chose one of those instead of this.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Who Shall I Be Today? May 21, 2006
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Charlene Buckner has a screw loose and she's dissembling. A former beauty pageant kid, she craved attention from her mother. But her mother was more interested in the attention such pageants brought her than how they benefited her daughter. So the mother left poor Charlene, and that's when the screw fell out.

Since then, Charlene's used her wits, her beauty and her innate smarts to survive. She's a chameleon, changing her look, her colors, her name and place whenever the need arises. And change she must, for Charlene's left bodies in her wake with nearly every transformation. But it's not blood lust that drives Charlene, it's expedience, the need to escape and to cut all ties. But now Charlene has Portland Detective Sergeant Catherine Hobbes on her trail, and she's being dogged from Oregon to California, to Arizona and on. For someone who kills for expedience, the best move is to eliminate what's threatening you. And that's Catherine Hobbes.

In NIGHTLIFE Thomas Perry has written a taut suspense thriller that crackles with pace and tension. Bravo. The only criticism? The book seems written on the fly. Early characters, early direction seem to drop out, as if the author wasn't sure where the book was going. Still, good writers write good books. NIGHTLIFE was well worth the read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars For a great read, head for the nearest Thomas Perry...
Thomas Perry is one of the best writers out there, and he's been out there a long time. I love his Jane Whitefield series, and his non-series books, including Dead Aim, Metzger's... Read more
Published 4 months ago by C. Meryl
4.0 out of 5 stars If you love the female serial killers/revenge and disguise type books...
If you love the female serial killers/revenge and disguise type books you will love this one, too.
Published 7 months ago by American Cat
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great book
Published 9 months ago by Wilma Rucker
5.0 out of 5 stars incredible author
From Metzger dog to his last book I don't know another author whose output equals Perry's. I reread them at any time I need a mental boost.
Published 11 months ago by Kindle Customer
2.0 out of 5 stars He had me until.........
I had looked this book up on Amazon and decided to read it anyway even though it had gotten only 3 stars. I found the book very, very well written and suspenseful. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Elizabeth Drexel
3.0 out of 5 stars Sloppy and Poorly Paced
I have high expectations for certain writers, and Mr. Perry is one of them. This was certainly not one of his finest achievements. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Michael Holly
3.0 out of 5 stars An old friend, but just a cut below his usual
I like his writing and analytical thinking. He keeps you interested and there is always danger. Out thinking and out fighting the bad guys thru interesting plots and characters.
Published 17 months ago by mervyn goldbas
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read!
The book kept my interest from page one. The characters were real and the plot kept building until the very last sentence. I really liked the book.
Published 21 months ago by KathyB
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent read
Tomas Perry has done it again. This is just as exciting as "The Butcher's Boy. The serial killer is worth killing and the ending is excellent.
Published 23 months ago by J. Noble
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
This review requires that I write ten more words. Word, word, word, word, word, word, word, word, word, word.
Published on February 5, 2013 by Joseph L. Hemmer
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More About the Author

THOMAS PERRY is the author of 22 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:

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