Friday, January 8, 2016

"Forty Thieves"

Thomas Perry's novels include the Jane Whitefield series (Vanishing Act, Dance for the Dead, Shadow Woman, The Face Changers, Blood Money, Runner, Poison Flower, and A String of Beads), Death Benefits, Pursuit, the first recipient of the Gumshoe Award for best novel, and The Butcher's Boy, which won the prestigious Edgar Award.

Perry applied the Page 69 Test to his new novel, Forty Thieves, and reported the following:
Forty Thieves is marked by a series of action sequences as private detectives Sid and Ronnie Abel work their way into a year-old unsolved murder. Page 69 takes place right after a sequence in which they noticed two people in a car had been watching them from a distance. The people then destroyed their car windshield with rifle fire and escaped. Now an LAPD detective is interviewing them. What were they investigating at a deserted construction site on the northern edge of the county at night?

Ronnie’s answer is their case: “The body of a man named James Ballantine was found stuck in a storm sewer under a street in North Hollywood around then. There was no easy way for him to have gotten there, because the drains along the streets are designed not to let anything big, like a body, get into the system. So it had to be an open drain somewhere upstream.” They were visiting upstream sites where the drains had been opened and extended for new construction a year ago.

The rest of the conversation gives us a chance to get to know Sid and Ronnie. When the detective asks them whether they left the LAPD with good records, we learn they did, and that they still have many friends on the force. When the detective asks if they’ve ever caught and convicted even one murderer, Sid only says “Some.” Ronnie explains that Sid doesn’t like to keep score. When the detective starts to gloat, she adds, “But I do. Since we left the LAPD we’ve had twenty-one homicide convictions...”

I think page 69 does give a reader a taste of the mystery and the protagonists, and propels the plot forward a bit, so I’m satisfied with it. I hope readers will be too.
Learn more about the book and author at Thomas Perry's website and Facebook page.

--Marshal Zeringue