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Runner, A Jane Whitefield Novel Hardcover – January 14, 2009

Book 6 of 8 in the Jane Whitefield Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Perrys exciting if relatively formulaic sixth Jane Whitefield novel (after 1999s Blood Money) finds Jane, a Native American guide who helps people assume new identities, living quietly under an alias in western New York State, married to a local doctor. Shortly after pregnant Christine Monahan shows up at the hospital where Janes husband works, desperately searching for Jane, a bomb explodes in the hospital. The two women wind up fleeing cross-country with a cadre of thugs hot on their trail. Jane learns that Christine is the girlfriend of an abusive real estate mogul in San Diego obsessed with finding her and their unborn child. By giving Christine and her baby new identities, Jane once again puts herself in mortal danger. Blending the frenetic pacing of a top-notch thriller with Native American mysticism, this entry will more than satisfy longtime fans, though newcomers to the series may be confused by the lack of any kind of substantial backstory. (Jan.)
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From Booklist

*Starred Review* Perry returns to his Jane Whitefield series (The Face-Changers, 1998) after several stand-alones and picks up right where he left off—unrelenting suspense surrounded by a detail-rich exposition on the art of “disappearing.” Whitefield, a Native American living a quiet life as the wife of a surgeon in upstate New York, is retired from her under-the-radar work as a “guide,” someone who helps people in peril vanish from their pursuers. Then a bomb explodes during a hospital fund-raiser, and Jane discovers that the explosion was directed at a pregnant young woman, a “runner” desperately in need of disappearing. Back in the game but having lost more than a step (cell phones and ubiquitous databases, among other technological innovations, have dramatically changed the business of disappearing), Jane sets out to guide one more runner to safety. Naturally, it doesn’t go as planned, and rather than protecting the hunted, Jane becomes the hunter. Perry’s premise demands remarkable attention to detail, and much of the appeal in this series is watching those details fall into place, especially as the ever-quickening pace pumps into overdrive. Like Ridley Pearson, though, Perry never sacrifices nuances of character to the demands of his breakneck pace. A first-class thriller and the welcome return of an outstanding series. --Bill Ott

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin / Harcourt; 1st edition (January 14, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0151018251
  • ISBN-13: 978-0151018253
  • ASIN: 0151015287
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.5 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (96 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #836,760 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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:

Customer Reviews

I've read all the Thomas Perry novels except for his Jane Whitefield books.
Andrew S. Weber
The "victim" was one dimensional, the bad guys were unbelievable, and the writing was stiff and just didn't flow for me.
Linda Holman
I read the book in 48 hours and would have finished sooner but I wanted to - take my time.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Tom S. on January 1, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I've read just about everything by Thomas Perry, and the Jane Whitefield books are my favorites. The brilliant Native American woman who takes people "out of the world" is back with an exciting new case. It's been a few years, and Jane must adjust to new realities (post-9/11 security systems, new Internet tracking capabilities, etc.) to help an abused, pregnant woman disappear from the ruthless people who are looking for her.

Perry knows Jane Whitefield inside and out, and everything she does in these adventures just rings true. Every new book is like a visit with an old friend, which is how I think of her. She uses her common sense while avoiding the thousands of mistakes most of us would make (phones, email, GPS, Internet, etc.) in making other people vanish without a trace. Of course, the modern world makes vanishing increasingly difficult, and Jane has to strive to keep ahead of all the latest technology that is her profession's enemy. This makes her a bit of an old-fashioned throwback--but it also enables her to get the job done. RUNNER is a fascinating addition to this wonderful series. Recommended.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Julia Walker VINE VOICE on January 1, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I came late to the Jane Whitefield series, reading them all last spring, then waiting with bated breath for this newest installment. If I had started with RUNNER, I'm sure I would have liked it better, but it does seem pale in comparison with the earlier novels.

Jane Whitefield has a calling: she guides people out of the world. If your rich and abusive husband is going to kill you if you leave him, Jane will help you vanish. If the Mafia is on your trail and the Witness Protection Program isn't enough, Jane will give you a new life. Through a combination of physical courage that borders on derring-do and hyper-vigilance, Jane guides the runner through the stages of a vanishing act: new identity and location for transition, another set of realities for the long haul. To make this possible, Jane consults the stars of the underground identity culture - forgers, photographers, bent math whizzes --and she grows identities of her own through a variety of clever strategies.

The well-worn birth-certificate-of-a-dead-kid ploy is way too elementary for Jane Whitefield. If you like heist stories, the prep work she puts into identity-growing will fascinate you. And the real pay-off is this: she does it for good, not for money. Jane doesn't charge her runners. If they have money, she will use it to help them. If they later access money, they often send her a thank-you check. But it's all for the calling, nothing for personal gain. She says she does the work because 1) she is able to do it and 2) it needs to be done.

This very moral stance is somewhat under-cut by the increasing physical violence of the series. Jane racks up a high body count. The implicit rationale for this is that Seneca warriors protect their families.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful By M. Casale on January 23, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I am a big fan of Jane Whitefield, and the worst Jane Whitefield book (which I think this is) is still a whole lot better than an awful lot of mystery/suspense books out there.

That said, this one isn't carried through with Perry's usual precision. Without giving away the ending, I'd just like to say that he uses a change of point of view at the end to avoid detailing a rescue that he apparently had lost interest in, or invention for. One of the things I like about this series is that Jane usually uses her ingenuity to avoid bloodshed, but this time she kills 6 people with no apparent repercussions, even though there are people who know of her existence, if not her name. And yet the police are willing to leave that last element unprotected for the rescue I mention above....

Also, the admittedly poignant infertility plot seems weird to me--Carey's a doctor, for god's sake, and the two of them have more money than I can even imagine (I liked when she put the $40,000 charge on her card--billable to another identity, no less)so why not try an IVF cycle, people? I don't think Perry did his research on this one, and he seems to have rushed through the ending. It's still a good read, just not as perfectly plotted as the rest of this series.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By G.F. Snell III on January 2, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I read "Runner" by Thomas Perry so fast - What happens next! What happens next! - that the pages started to smolder and smoke. I was forced to read the rest of it wearing fire retardant gloves and with a fire extinguisher within easy reach.

"Runner" hits bookstore shelves on January 14 and, once you've fireproofed your favorite reading chair, you should seriously consider added it to your collection. "Runner" is a marvel, and already in the running for my pick for best suspense novel of 2009.

Thomas Perry has always been an underrated scribe. He came out of the gates strong with his first novel "The Butcher's Boy," which won the 1983 Edgar Award for best first mystery novel.

But Perry really didn't hit his stride until he created Jane Whitefield - a Native American woman who helps desperate people "disappear" - guiding them to new lives while helping them escape their pasts, usually filled with various nasty people with guns.

Jane is hard as dried leather - and smart. Her character - the detail oriented, obsessive perfectionist with little humor and a demeanor as sullen as funeral - centers the novel. She's a fascinating case study as she plunges the reader into the underground world of forgeries and the act of "vanishing" without a trace.

Jane made her first appearance in "Vanishing Act" in 1995 and appeared in four more novels before Perry retired her in 2000. The series, however, has proven so popular, that Perry has dusted off Jane nine years later.

Lucky us. The result is "Runner."

Jane is now married to a surgeon in up-state New York and living under the name Jane McKinnon.
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