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The Boyfriend Hardcover – March 5, 2013

4.1 out of 5 stars 245 customer reviews
Book 2 of 2 in the Jack Till Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Perry is a master at multiple narrators. Here he juggles the narrative reins between PI Jack Till and hitman Joey Moreland. Till takes a case that the LAPD has given up on: the murder of a high-end prostitute whose killer seems to be targeting women of the same physical type—lissome strawberry blondes—working as female escorts in cities across the country. The parents of the latest victim want to find their daughter’s killer even if the police don’t, and hire Till to help. He quickly determines that the killer is more than just a john; able to ingratiate himself with the various women, he becomes their live-in boyfriend before killing them. But is there more to it than that? Is the killer using the women’s homes as a convenient hiding place while he tends to other business and then, with business concluded, murdering the women to cover his tracks? Till follows Moreland’s nearly invisible trail from L.A. to Phoenix to Boston—usually several crucial steps behind his adversary and realizing in the process that he has become a hitman following a hitman. Perry is a marvelous plotter, and he builds suspense with all the subtlety of a master chef nursing a risotto to buttery perfection, but what really separates him from the thriller field is his ability to fold psychological complexity into the onrushing narrative. In crime fiction, character building is too often an add-on, supplementing the thrust of the plot but never fully integrated with it. In a Perry novel, the two are part and parcel of one another. The suspense is more intense because the characters, heroes and villains, have worked their way so far under our skin. It’s nothing new to call Perry a master of the genre, but it’s no less true for being widely acknowledged. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Decades of critical acclaim have made Perry a perennial favorite in libraries. --Bill Ott

Review

“Clever protagonists, cunning killers, white-knuckle action . . . Thomas Perry delivers all that good stuff in The Boyfriend.”—New York Times Book Review

"Another demonstration of Thomas Perry’s cool, tough-minded skill at staging battles of wits."—New York Times

"[Perry's] work is characterized by tight, clean prose, well-drawn characters and heart-pounding suspense."—Associated Press

"Perry is a marvelous plotter, and he builds suspense with all the subtlety of a master chef nursing a risotto to a buttery perfection. It's nothing new to call Perry a master of the genre, but it's no less true for being widely acknowledged."—Booklist (starred review)

"[A] highly original and clever thriller. . . .Perry again proves himself a master stylist and plotter, as he effortlessly builds suspense and delves deeply into his characters."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"While there is plenty of action and tension here (indeed, it may well be Perry’s best book to date), it is the moments that Till spends with his daughter—in person and across the miles—that make The Boyfriend a memorable book and give rise to a heartfelt demand that we see more of Till sooner rather than later."—Bookreporter

"The strength of the psychological drama lies in Mr. Perry’s capacity to develop his characters. Perry has turned out another riveting mystery."—Washington Times

"Perry launches another excellent series. . . . The pacing is rapid, Till is an intrepid hero, and the ending is satisfying."—Library Journal

"Perry's prose is perfect. The Boyfriend is a model for thriller writers and one that should reinforce the reputation of the author of The Butcher's Boy and The Informant. If you haven't read anything by Thomas Perry, you're in for a delightful surprise."—Huntington News

“[A] terrific, suspenseful read.”—Midwest Book Review
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Mysterious Press; First Edition edition (March 5, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802126065
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802126061
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (245 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #363,185 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By E. Bukowsky HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 12, 2013
Format: Hardcover
In "The Boyfriend," Thomas Perry brings back retired homicide detective Jack Till, a twenty-three year veteran of the LAPD, who works as a private investigator in California. Jack's twenty-eight year old daughter, Holly, has Down syndrome. She lives with friends, works in a flower shop, and good naturedly pesters her father to revive his dormant love life.

Till's latest case involves twenty-six year old Catherine Hamilton, a high-priced escort who falls under the spell of Joey Moreland, a devastatingly handsome hired killer. Catherine's parents pay Till a large sum of money to find the man who seduced and murdered their daughter. They are desperate to find answers, since the police have failed to develop any promising leads. Jack is a compassionate man who knows that the death of a loved one can "leave all of the survivors wishing they had died too."

Perry has been writing for thirty years (his first book, "The Butcher's Boy," was published in 1982) and continues to produce suspenseful and engrossing novels with quirky and intriguing characters. Moreland and Till are well-matched adversaries. They are excellent marksmen and strategic thinkers who are skilled at evaluating people and analyzing situations. As Joey travels around the country picking off targets, Till doggedly stays on his trail. Jack consults former colleagues in law enforcement and touches base with detectives based in various cities, trying to get a bead on a criminal who prizes invisibility.

Although the plot is not without its flaws and contrivances, "The Boyfriend" is, on the whole, a compelling, clever, and witty thriller. It is heartwarming to observe Jack's affectionate relationship with Holly.
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5 Comments 46 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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This is a well-crafted but mechanical and mostly heartless book without real characters. And creating terrific characters used to be what Perry did best.

I have read and reread every single one of Perry's books and bought this without waiting for a review. Some of them (Metzger's Dog, Sleeping Dogs) are masterpieces, and most of them are top-notch reads. But this one makes the grade strictly on technique. The muse is not singing.

When it comes to technique, it's hard to beat Thomas Perry. His wordsmithing is smooth and tight, and his plots run like clockwork. If you are obsessed with police procedurals, this is your cup of tea. It's like reading "Idiots Guide for Private Detectives," only better written.

But if you're looking for heartfelt characters, forget about it.

In his early books, you couldn't even find a bad guy. The good guys tended to be pretty bad and the bad guys tended to be foolish and there was a wonderful reality to a world that was not black and white. It was his genius to humanize all the players.

This is flatland and flatline. The bad guy is a stereotypical puppet who never shows a spark of real humanity. Jack Till is almost as stereotypical. He's ultra-competent, all-knowing, financially secure, never really makes a mistake.

The women characters are the worst part -- mannikins, sex toys, and cannon-fodder -- the bad guy can hardly tell them apart (sadly, neither can the reader). Maybe that's clever, but it's also boring, distasteful, and insulting. Till's Down Syndrome daughter is too good to be true and hardly more real. She's tidy, independent, financially secure, has a boyfriend, and no problems (since the Downs Syndrome doesn't seem to cause any problems for her).
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12 Comments 54 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
SPOILER ALERT - While I liked the story idea and the concepts for the two main characters, there were several really dopey mistakes which ruined this story for me. First, the most trivial: Toyota Maxima. Second, an irrelevant character: the lead character has a daughter with Downs Syndrome, only her dialog is that of a second year college student, not of someone with an IQ of 60-80. On top of the highly intellectual Downs Daughter, her character serves no purpose that I can discern, except perhaps to add about 20 pages to the 288 pages. Lastly: do you think it is realistic that working girls update their web ads on a daily basis? I do not. A key plot point hangs on this very doubtful practice. Another weak point: Do working girls invite their customers into their homes where they really live? To put in another way: would you give your address to anyone you meet on the Internet after zero vetting?

I liked the idea of the hit man who covers his tracks in a very cold blooded manner. It was a very good plot point and character demonstration.

I more or less liked the thinly drawn cop hero. He was smart and persistent. Although his smartness was based on what I consider to be very weak premises regarding the likely behavior of worldly women.

One very good point, believable for a change, was the last victim's behavior after being told about her Boyfriend's true nature....

With a little more work, this could have been a 4 star story. But, I guess Mr Perry was in a hurry, so he only gets 2 stars. Perry needs a new editor -- the one he had for The Boyfriend obviously drives a Toyota Maxima on her dates with guys she meets in the Web, to whom she freely gives her address within 5 minutes of their calling her for the first time.
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