Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Thomas Perry

Thomas Perry is the bestselling author of over twenty novels, including the critically acclaimed Jane Whitefield series, Forty Thieves, and The Butcher’s Boy, which won the Edgar Award. He lives in Southern California.

Perry's new novel is A Small Town.

Recently I asked the author about what he was reading. His reply:
For the past few months I've been reading lots of ARCs for fiction that was about to be published. I've found some experienced writers who have new books with a freshness and specialness to them.

One is Tim Maleeny's Boxing the Octopus. Maleeny can write funny when he wants to, and he always does. The book has a complex plot that would take a long time to recount. But it takes place almost entirely on Pier 39 in San Francisco, one of those places one swears he'll never visit again but finds himself there anyway. It features lots of dangerous and disreputable characters, including his series detective, Cape Weathers, and his fetching client Vera, a Russian brother and sister, a tourist-trap pirate, and an evil scientist. My favorite character is a giant octopus living in a display who is capable of deep, wise thought. The book came out in October from Sourcebooks/Poisoned Pen Press.

A second was The Heartless, David Putnam's seventh Bruno Johnson novel. The attraction here is that David Putnam can tell a story. This time Johnson's daughter, Olivia is in the hands of a vicious criminal who wants to use this opportunity to cause pain to Johnson. Putnam has a way of reminding us that crime stories are about something serious. The innocent really should be protected from the amoral and predatory. He also knows a lot, having spent a full career as a cop. He even includes some parts of fighting that feel familiar to those of us who aren't great at it: "He reared back with his one loose leg and kicked me in the face. The light in the restaurant warbled like heat waves. My hands and arms started to lose their strength. My grip eased." The Heartless will be out early in 2020 from Oceanview.

A third book I cant resist mentioning, even though one of its authors is my wife of 39 years, Jo Perry. (The other is British writer Derek Farrell.) It's a revival of an old form, two novellas printed upside down from each other. I've read hers, which is called "Everything Happens." Both unfold in another of those places you find yourself going back to in spite of your best intention, Las Vegas. Hers is about a woman and her bad husband who go there separately to get a divorce and proceed with their lives. Don't worry--things do not proceed smoothly. It's from the British publisher Fahrenheit Press, and will be out this winter.
Learn more about the book and author at Thomas Perry's website and Facebook page.

The Page 69 Test: A Small Town.

--Marshal Zeringue