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Nightlife: A Novel Mass Market Paperback – May 29, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Perry's latest novel reveals an intricate relationship between a ruthless serial killer and the dedicated detective determined to bring her in. Portland homicide detective Catherine Hobbes is investigating the murder of a computer salesman. Evidence suggests that there may have been another victim—a woman known as Tanya Starling—but Hobbes is soon convinced that Starling is in fact the murderer. What follows is a complex game of cat and mouse as Hobbes pursues a killer without conscience who changes her looks and identity with chameleon-like ease. As Hobbes draws closer to her quarry, the tables shift, and the detective becomes the prey. With a cool, calculated delivery, Shelly Frasier supplies just the right tone for this psychological thriller. Easily flipping from one narrative viewpoint to another, Frasier is especially good when expressing Starling's inner thoughts. The scenes where Starling plans and implements her murders are chilling in their cold pragmatism, yet there are moments, such as when Starling flirts with one of her victims over dinner, that are as charming as any romantic comedy. Nicely produced by Tantor, this audiobook makes for excellent listening.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reprint edition (May 29, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345496000
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345496003
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,074,294 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:

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Larry VINE VOICE on March 27, 2006
Format: Hardcover
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 By Brian Baker VINE VOICE on March 16, 2006
Format: Hardcover
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 By Mariana Chaffee on March 11, 2006
Format: Hardcover
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 By N. Bilmes VINE VOICE on July 13, 2006
Format: Hardcover
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 By Ben F. Small on 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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