THOMAS PERRY – Vanishing Act. Jane Whitefield #1. Random House, hardcover, 1995. Ballantine, paperback, 1996.

   The Butcher’s Boy is one of my favorite books, with Metzger’s Dog not far behind. I’m always glad to see a new one by Perry.

   Jane Whitefield is a young woman who is part Seneca by blood, all by heritage. She lives in upstate New York, and is a guide. Not the kind of guide you may be thinking of, though; she guides people who need to be lost, people who have other people looking for them. Jane puts them on the road to not being found, and teaches them how to walk it.

   And then one day a man named John Felker shows up at her door. He says he’s an ex-cop, that he’s been framed, and that there’s a contract out on him. There are people after him, all right, as Jane finds as they set out on the road to anonymity, but he’s not exactly what he seems. A different road lies ahead, with a different destination.

   Two things you can depend on with Perry: he’ll have a strong, somewhat off-beat central character, or characters, and he’ll tell a hell of a good story. Jane Whitefield is one of his more memorable leads, and the story is a fast-moving thriller that will drag you right along.

   There’s a good deal of Native American lore and history interspersed in the third person narrative, about the verisimilitude of which I have no idea at all, but which certainly enhances the story and fits in well with it. Perry seldom writes the same book twice, but he always writes a good one, and this one is very good.

— Reprinted from Ah Sweet Mysteries #18, February-March 1995.