Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Jane Whitefield, last seen in Perry's "Shadow Woman", is an alluring operative of Indian heritage who helps people disappear. It is an arcane pursuit, involving myriad skills and constant vigilance. In fact, when Jane gets married to surgeon Carey McKinnon, she hopes to give it up and lead a normal life. Unfortunately, McKinnon's mentor, plastic surgeon Dr. Richard Dahlman, who is accused of murdering his assistant and has been shot and wounded by police pursuers, is in urgent need of her services; and since McKinnon is convinced he is innocent, Jane agrees to employ her expertise one more time. Thus begins Perry's latest, which soon begets layer upon layer of deception and intrigue. It seems that Dahlman himself, with a series of operations, had helped someone attain a new identity, and that he is being pursued not by the police but by men intent on killing him for what he knows. But who are they? Re-establishing some of her old creepy contacts, Jane becomes convinced the villains are in the business of frightening people into believing they are in danger, then collecting vast sums to help them vanish. And now that the FBI is after Jane for Dahlman's escape, she is beleaguered on two fronts. This is really a prolonged chase novel, enlivened by some smooth action writing and a remarkable mastery of escape techniquesone would hate to be a debt collector in search of the author. It does seem in the end, however, an overly complex structure that obliges a reader to put up with long passages filled with nothing but the minutiae of pursuit and paranoia. The effect is somewhat claustrophobic, and Jane, for all her toughness and smarts, is not a particularly enlivening companion.
Perry ("Shadow Woman", LJ 5/1/97) has been writing great books for years and with his Jane Whitefield series has hit his stride. In this fourth title, Jane is asked by her surgeon husband to help his old mentor, Dr. Richard Dahlman, who has been accused of murdering his research partner. In her attempts to keep Dahlman out of the hands of the law and far away from the two men who want to kill him, she finds that someone is using her name to make people disappear permanently, and Dahlman has gotten caught in the backlash. In her quiet and resourceful manner, Jane goes about hiding the doctor, keeping her husband safe, and finding the vicious killers responsible for a number of murders. The plot is full of heart-stopping suspense, Native American lore, and engaging characters, but the real pull is how Jane will surmount adversity and still keep her honor and ethics intact. For all fiction collections. Jo Ann Vicarel, Cleveland Heights-University Heights P.L., OH
Dr. Carey McKinnon, the risk-aversive bridegroom who'd made Jane Whitefield promise to stop the hazardous career of helping people vanish ("Shadow Woman", 1997, etc.) now begs her to take his old mentor on the lamplunging her into her most convoluted, if not exactly her most involving, caper. The police in two states don't have any doubts that eminent surgeon Dr. Richard Dahlmann murdered his equally eminent colleague, Dr. Sarah Hoffmanwhich is exactly why he needs to go underground, Carey tells Jane, while the case sorts itself out. But no sooner has Jane spirited Dahlmann out of the hospital where a police-pursuit bullet landed himno mean feat, especially considering his weakened condition and the security cordon thrown around himthan she realizes that Dahlmann is just whistling in the dark in waiting for the cops to suddenly come to their senses. He's in a frame tight enough to cause serious weight lossa frame that can only be the work of professionals (presumably the two armed men she passed on their way to Dahlmann's hospital bed) as good at their jobs as Jane is at hers. Why has Dahlmann been the target of such an elaborate campaign? The answer leads Jane not only to a series of three earlier murders nobody had even suspected, but to a ring of "face-changers"people who, like Jane herself, are dedicated to helping people vanish, though they're a lot less scrupulous about their motives and tactics and selection of clients. In order to vindicate Dahlmann (and get guileless Carey off an impending charge of accessory to murder for helping him escape), Jane will have to stop her furious criss-crossing of the 48 states long enough to unmask thecopycats, get evidence of their criminal complicity, and stay one step ahead of her hundreds of pursuers. If this all sounds suspenseful, it is. But it's also tangled, unevenly paced (though endlessly inventive), and ultimately as exhausting for Perry's loyal fans as for his resourceful, long-suffering heroine.
From the Publisher
"Terrific. . . . Dazzling ingenuity."
The New York Times Book Review
"THE FACE-CHANGERS IS BRILLIANTLY PLOTTED AND STYLISHLY EXECUTED. THOMAS PERRY IS A TRUE ORIGINAL."
"PERRY IS A MASTER AT NAIL-BITING SUSPENSE. I stayed up until three in the morning to reach the surprising denouement and get my blood pressure back to normal."
Los Angeles Times
"THE MOMENTUM NEVER FLAGS, AND THE SUSPENSE CONSTANTLY BUILDS."
Booklist (starred and boxed review)