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)
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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
'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.