Friday, January 13, 2017

Married Private Detectives Confront Married Hired Killers in This Entertaining Novel from Thomas Perry

This is another very enjoyable stand-alone novel from Thomas Perry, author of the Butcher's Boy and Jane Whitefield series. It's unique in that it has two sets of married couples who serve as the book's protagonists. The first, Sid and Ronnie Abel, have been married for thirty years. They're retired L.A.P.D. detectives who have opened their own agency. The other couple is Ed and Nicole Hoyt. They Hoyts are younger and they work as hired killers. Both couples are smart and funny in a wry sort of way. And all four individuals appear to be excellent shots.

A year before the book opens, the body of a man named James Ballentine was found in an overflowing sewer drain. Ballentine was a scientist working for a private company, and everyone told the police that he was a very nice guy with no enemies at all. Presumably, they weren't including the person who shot Ballentine twice before shoving him into the sewer drain.

A year down the road, the case remains open. The detective who was principally assigned to the case has died and the investigation is going nowhere. Anxious to see justice done, the board of directors of the company that employed Ballentine hires the Ables to dig into the case. They've barely begun, however, before someone is taking shots at them. That "someone" turns out to be the Hoyts who have been hired to eliminate the Abels. The Hoyts don't know why their employer wants the Ables dead, and it doesn't really matter. They're happy to have the work.

The book alternates between the P.O.V. of the Abels and the Hoyts. The relationships are a lot of fun to watch, and it's also fun watching each couple go about its business while trying very hard not to fail at their own missions because of the other couple. Perry is a master of weaving clever plots, and he puts both couples through their paces before the book reaches a great climax. This book is further evidence of the fact that a reader can always depend on Perry for a thoroughly entertaining reading experience.

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