When a protagonist of a series of crime novels gets into a long relationship, you know there’s going to be turmoil. James Bond’s marriage to Tracy didn’t even last the length of one book (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service) before she was killed. Harry Bosch, Elvis Cole, Joke Pike, Jack Taylor, John Wells, Scott Harvath, John Rebus – none could sustain a relationship of any length. The two exceptions that come to mind are C.J. Boxx’s Joe Pickett and Daniel Silva’s Gabriel Allon. But, the marriages of Pickett and Allon were constantly challenged by their dedication to “doing the right thing.” In Shadow Woman, when Thomas Perry had the nerve to allow Jane Whitefield to marry Carey McKinnon, every mystery reader had to be ready for trouble, and Perry does not disappoint.
Carey had already proposed to Jane, and she intended to accept if he could tolerate knowing the way she had led her life. Even if she quit the business of helping people disappear from trouble that was pursuing them, it meant her future life would always be at risk from those were still trying to bring trouble to her former clients. And if her life was at risk, so would be her spouse’s life.
Jane had intended that Pete Hatcher would be her last case, and the story opens in spectacular fashion with her literally making Pete disappear from a magic show in Las Vegas while being followed by his would-be killers. Pete had the goods on an evil casino operation, Pleasure, Inc., and the Board of Directors wanted to terminate his employment contract, permanently. Because the case came to her so quickly and she set up Pete’s disappearance at the last second, Jane didn’t have enough time to teach Pete all that he needed to know in order to stay hidden. By the time she learned that her last client was in trouble, Jane had already accepted Carey’s proposal and had promised to give up her old life. But, she felt honor-bound to go back into the field. And, Pleasure, Inc. had hired the best assassins and trackers possible – so the incredible chase began between Jane and Pete versus Earl Bliss and Linda Thompson.
Perry’s characters are all well-crafted and believable. One does not need to make extra effort to suspend belief in order to enjoy this story. I’ve become a fan and Perry is trying to fight his way into my power rotation – the list of my 10 favorite authors.