Thomas Perry

Quercus 7.99pbk

Released: 28th October 2010

Reviewer: Keith Miles


Keith Miles is probably best recognised by readers under the pen name of Edward Marston. He writes several well-received historical mysteries spanning the 11th century through to the 19th century. His website is

This novel confirm's Thomas Perry's status as a true master of suspense. He has a gift for putting his characters in unbelievable situations that he somehow makes completely credible. Strip cub owner, Manco Kapak is robbed by a masked gunman while about to put his cash receipts in the bank's night-deposit box. Joe Carver is wrongly identified as the robber. Pursued by Kapak's men, Carver finds that the safest place to spend the night is 250 feet above ground in the cab of a crane on a building site. When the goons eventually find his hiding place and start shooting, he calmly uses the crane to lift one of their two SUV's and drop it on the other, destroying them both.

Lieutenant Nicholas Slosser takes charge of the case. While trying to unravel everyone else's secrets, he is hiding a big secret of his own - he's a bigamist with two quite separate wives and families. The cost of sending some of his kids to college is beyond his budget and threatens to bring his double life to an end. A young woman discovers the thrill of taking part in another robbery and in firing a gun indiscriminately, injuring one of the men taking Kapak's money to the safe-deposit box. A female employee takes Kapak to bed and cures his erectile dysfunction by slipping him a Viagra pill. The sex is great but he finishes up in hospital with a suspected heart attack. Two teenage girls who act as drug mules are ordered to drive Kapak to the drug dealer for whom he launders money. They are forced to witness a triple murder and to watch a mansion being torched.

Every character has a back-story that is slowly revealed as the narrative moves forward. The interconnecting plots surge in all kinds of unexpected directions then come together in a wonderfully satisfying denouement. There's even a last-gap rescue of Lieutenant Slosser from his immediate financial problems. Strip is a master class in how to write suspense. Witty, wacky and utterly compelling.






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