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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tense, Real and Original
This book was a happy accident for me and I am glad to have discovered Thomas Perry's novels. "Vanishing Act" is an amazing, original story of a half-white, half-Native American woman who acts as sort of a one person "Federal Protection" guide. She helps innocent people in danger disappear. There are several successful clients she meets in the first...
Published on June 20, 2004 by Martin A Hogan

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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars YOU CAN RUN BUT CAN YOU "HIDE"?
The good news is that the protagonist of this book is a very unique fictional character. The bad news is that the story was a bit convoluted to hold my attention.
Here's the premise -- Jane Whitefield is half Native American and is in the business of helping people disappear. She has spent the last ten years of her life hiding people with the full knowledge that if...
Published on September 19, 2001 by Nancy Martin


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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tense, Real and Original, June 20, 2004
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This review is from: Vanishing Act (Jane Whitefield Novels) (Mass Market Paperback)
This book was a happy accident for me and I am glad to have discovered Thomas Perry's novels. "Vanishing Act" is an amazing, original story of a half-white, half-Native American woman who acts as sort of a one person "Federal Protection" guide. She helps innocent people in danger disappear. There are several successful clients she meets in the first part of the novel and the dialogue is a true as can be. There is a constant tense feel to the narrative, as not only is this job dangerous, but Jane must prove herself each time, given her race and gender. The ultimate client she helps to disappear turns out to be other than she suspected and she is left to resolve a dangerous and deadly situation. Most impressive in Perry's writing is his attention to detail. Not only are all the Native American rituals and survival techniques explained in detail (and implemented), but his knowledge of the Adirondack Mountains is as accurate as a compass. Jane travels through real existing lakes, ponds, rivers and mountains. It's the kind of book that keeps you up well past midnight just so you can reach the climax and resolution.
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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars YOU CAN RUN BUT CAN YOU "HIDE"?, September 19, 2001
By 
Nancy Martin (Pennsylvania (orig. NY)) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Vanishing Act (Jane Whitefield Novels) (Mass Market Paperback)
The good news is that the protagonist of this book is a very unique fictional character. The bad news is that the story was a bit convoluted to hold my attention.
Here's the premise -- Jane Whitefield is half Native American and is in the business of helping people disappear. She has spent the last ten years of her life hiding people with the full knowledge that if they can disappear, without leaving a trail, and stay hidden for two or three months, the chance of ever being found drops considerably. Her clients run the gamut from wives escaping spousal abuse to informants escaping the mob -- all innocent people who cannot be suitably protected without some kind of help. Jane is considered a "guide". She guides people out of their fragile situations with the aid of her network of willing accomplices who help her with new identifications and transport for these runaways.
The setting of this episode takes place in Upstate New York where Jane is able to use her Native American instincts to weave her way through the lakes and forests of this region. In the true tradition of her Seneca ancestors, her ingenuity is remarkable and her intuition extraordinary. This was the interesting part of the book as I learned about the cultures of the tribes that originally inhabited this area as Jane actually takes one of her fugitives to an Indian reservation for refuge.
The opening chapter starts off with a chase through the airport as a victim of an abusive spouse is being trailed by a bounty hunter hired by her husband. Little does the bounty hunter know that Jane Whitefield is in that same airport setting the stage for an exciting story. The events that follow include the mob, embezzling, a deadly poker game, a framed accountant and a chase against the elements.
I was finally happy to be reading a book centered around a female heroine as opposed to the usual wise-cracking, ex-alcoholic, male private eye who usually appears in most of the mystery series I read. However, for a book that started out great, this one went downhill as the plot became very predictable before page 60. This was disappointing but not enough to keep me from following this character to the second book in this series -- "Dance For The Dead." Another Amazon reviewer wrote -- "Jane Whitefield for President." These are my sentiments exactly and if you take the time to get involved in this series, you'll especially enjoy the skill and resourcefulness of this true ancestor of the Seneca Indian tribe now turned "guide to those in desperate need."
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best!, August 1, 2004
By 
M. E Mercer "annamoe" (Malabar, FL United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Vanishing Act (Jane Whitefield Novels) (Mass Market Paperback)
I'm not much of a mystery/suspense fan and most of the genre I've tried leaves me either cold or revolted. Thomas Perry's writing leaves everyone else far behind. Jane Whitefield relies on her intelligence, athleticism and her native wisdom rather than just whipping out a gun. I hope there will be more Jane novels to come. Thank you, Mr Perry!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful series!, September 20, 2005
By 
This review is from: Vanishing Act (Jane Whitefield Novels) (Mass Market Paperback)
Vanishing Act is the first in a series of five books about Jane Whitefield, an Indian guide who will take someone from where there are people who want to kill them -- to where they are safe. She provides people with a new identity and a new life. John Felker is looking for just that. He is a former cop turned accountant who is being set up as an embezzler. Someone is skimming money from the accounting firm's customers and depositing it into an account in John's name. There is also an open contract on his life, so he needs to disappear.

The book is written in two distinctly separate parts. The first part is about how Jane makes someone disappear. We follow Jane and John cross country as they are being chased by the men who are after John. We are introduced to people along the way who help make their escape possible by providing safe places to stay or creating fake documentation or getting them transportation. When Jane finally gets John safe, the story takes a new twist. The people we have met along their journey are being murdered. Someone has been tracking them and Jane fears for John's safety. She has to go back to save him before the killers find him too.

The Native American culture and history were very interesting. Jane uses her training and skills in tracking and in creating weapons from items she finds in the woods. I thought of a few questions along the way that I wanted answers to and was a bit disappointed when those answers, found late in the book, would have cleared everything up quite early. Surely Jane is better at this than I am and should have asked them herself. But then we wouldn't have had a story, right?

Armchair Interviews says: Definitely pick Vanishing Act and up the next one in this unique series.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating premise, interesting character - kept me reading, March 17, 1997
By A Customer
Ever wondered how people disappear intentionally? Read this book and find out. Jane Whitfield is an interesting character and a bit of a rarity among male authors - she's a woman who lives a very different life and makes no apologies for it. She helps people in genuine trouble - not criminals running from the law - disappear into new lives. This book kept me reading until the end, despite disappointment in Whitfield's decision to help the person who comes to her at the beginning of the book with a rather unlikely story. Perhaps her need to believe is part of her character. Hopefully future books will explore her reasons for her unusual "occupation" - she doesn't take money for her work, it turns out
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thomas Perry and Jane Whitefield--a marriage made in Heaven, May 24, 2002
This review is from: Vanishing Act (Jane Whitefield Novels) (Mass Market Paperback)
The first Jane Whitefield novel, *Vanishing Act*, offers a unique protagonist, a brilliant premise, non-stop action, and a conclusion that will have you treading softly the next time you go looking for Bambi. Perry is a superb craftsman, whose novels are always literate, challenging, and thoughtful. He seems to have lost interest in Jane after six novels, three of which attempt to retire her. Too bad. Even though he is right, that sustaining a character through decades is hard work and perhaps not even very interesting, she is missed.
Read *Vanishing Act*, *Shadow Woman*, and *Dance for the Dead*. These are the must-haves of the series. Perry manages to create a believable Seneca world while maintaining a respectful distance, and his intricate plotting sustains each book. Read for the plot, read for the Indians: either way, you'll be happy.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Exciting from start to finish..., May 13, 2005
This review is from: Vanishing Act (Jane Whitefield Novels) (Mass Market Paperback)
Vanishing Act by Thomas Perry is the first book I've read in the Jane Whitefield series, and was a most pleasant surprise. Instead of dealing with a cop, a PI or a bounty hunter, Jane Whitefield is a half-Indian (from the Seneca Tribe) who serves as a guide to help people "disappear." She uses her native skills to help those who are trying to flee from an abusive spouse or an unsavory past.

In Vanishing Act, an ex-cop turned accountant, John Felker, is being framed by unknown persons and there is a contract out on his life. He seeks out Jane, whom he has heard about by word of mouth. But the men pursuing Felker are right on his tail, and Jane must work hard to give them the slip. But just as Jane thinks everything is finally under control, two bombshells are dropped on her, and things are not as they seem.

One thing that I really enjoyed about this book is the background on Native Americans that Vanishing Act provides. Jane is from upstate NY, and there is much about the tribes from that area-especially before and during the Revolution. Even when she travels to California, we are given information about the California Indian tribes. In this respect, Perry is a lot like Tony Hillerman and his series of Jim Chee/Joe Leaphorn mysteries.

But while there is much to like about Vanishing Act, I thought the plot at times completely implausible. It's hard to believe that when Jane finally identifies the murderer, she would chase him up into the Adirondack Mountains without notifying anyone of where she was going, calling the police, and even leaving a message with someone as to the identify of the killer. It was just a bit beyond belief.

Still, I thoroughly enjoyed Vanishing Act, and am planning to read Shadow Woman next.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another terrific read from Perry, January 27, 2010
By 
Domestic Gnome (Cornwall, CT USA) - See all my reviews
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As strained as the premise may be, Perry makes Jane Whitefield and her adventures (and misadventures as in "Vanishing Act") come to life - a compelling read. As in many Perry novels there are certain ruminations that go on a bit too long but that's why they make books out of pages - just keep turning until she is back in action. On the other hand, Jane's somewhat mystical connections to her Native American past are intriguing - a shot of anthropology and history. No reason to spoil the plot other than to say that her Native American roots allow for Jane's ingenious solutions to the various obstacles placed in her way. Western NY is an unlikely setting but in a sense, it grounds the rather implausible plots. All in, Perry writes well and provides enough twists to keep you reading. 4-stars versus 5 only because of my feelings about the over-long digressions. A 5-star review otherwise.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fast-paced, well-wrought crime novel., April 16, 1997
By A Customer
A great book! A good, old-fashioned, page-turner
with a twist: Jane Whitefield. Whitefield is a
woman who helps people in trouble disappear to
better and safer lives. She maneuvers through a
world of crime and deception with stealth, cunning,
and strength. Whitefield is also half Seneca and
her Native American upbringing plays an intricate
role in her life and is crucial to her survival.
Perry has done a fantastic job. I hope there's
more Jane Whitefield to come!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best suspense thriller I have read this year!, September 1, 1997
This review is from: Vanishing Act (Jane Whitefield Novels) (Mass Market Paperback)
Mr Perry has the ability of weaving a different culture (this time native American Indian) with a suspense thriller that has few equals. If you like books that you hate to lay down in oder to meet your obligations or to sleep, you will love this book. I finished it in two sittings.I loved it and know you will love it too
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Vanishing Act (Jane Whitefield Novels)
Vanishing Act (Jane Whitefield Novels) by Thomas Perry (Mass Market Paperback - March 2, 1996)
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