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Perry’s bad guy has no name. We never get beyond personal pronouns. Elizabeth is an FBI agent assigned to catch this bad guy. The bad guy is a professional assassin with mad skills.
Tradecraft is huge in Perry novels and this one is no exception. The bad guy has to have some serious moves to go through locked doors like butter and to put hemlock drops in soaking dentures. The bad guy, the Butcher’s Boy is slick and quick and you like him for his moves.
Of course the FBI lady knows stuff too, but she is always afraid for her job and hamstrung by compartmented communication so that she often acts in an absence of information. It seems Elizabeth never really knows for sure what is going on right up to the last page so the books feels chaotic for her character.
The action yo-yo’s between the taut, oh so carefully planned high risk moves of the Butcher’s Boy and Elizabeth’s flashes of insight and attempts to move the investigation forward. But her efforts are muffled by the good guys as much as the bad guys. And you’d think, by now, everyone would know: It’s a bad idea to stiff a hired assassin.
Butcher’s Boy is Perry’s first book and one of three in the ‘Butcher’s Boy’ series. Perry has published several series, notably the eight volume Jane Whitfield series. He is a contributing writer with Clive Cussler’s ‘Fargos’ series.
If you are a Clive Cussler fan, this is a NUMA series adventure starring Kurt Austin that turns around geology and hydrology in the Middle East. Austin is called to investigate when a shipwreck off a small island releases gas that drifts across the island and places the inhabitants in a state of suspended animation.
Clues at the scene point to North Africa as a likely source of the (not quite) deadly gas, but other problems are cropping up around in countries dependent upon the Saharan aquifer for water supply. Surface water and wells throughout Northern Africa which have been viable for millennia have suddenly failed and States are in turmoil as population centers go dry.
Kurt Austin and his NUMA team split up to uncover an evil scheme to de-water the Saharan aquifer and sow instability in the Middle East while keeping an eye peeled for the antidote against the (not quite) deadly gas.
In the end there is much dashing around in a maze of tunnels 400 feet under the “City of the Dead” at Giza as Kurt Austin and his team work to defeat the nefarious foes who are at the center of the de-watering scheme and the (not quite) deadly gas.
I personally love the geology and hydrology aspects of the NUMA files series, so this book is another winner for me. Kurt Austin is a bit James Bondish, but given that, there is always something new to learn and there is plenty of action to make you want to keep turning pages.