DANCE FOR THE DEAD by Thomas Perry
Kirkus Star


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An explosive second outing for Jane Whitefield, the Senecan specialist in helping people disappear (Vanishing Act, 1995). The story kicks off with a whoosh as Jane succeeds in saving the life of her latest client, eight-year-old Timothy Phillips, by producing him in an L.A. court that's about to declare him dead so that whoever's been plundering his trust fund can breathe easy. Once Timmy's story is read into the record, he's safe, but it's been a high-casualty operation, and Jane's in no mood for getting accosted at the airport by Mary Perkins, who begs Jane to help her elude the killers following her. It isn't until the two women are halfway across the country that Jane has the time to hear Mary's story: During the unregulated '80s, she bilked unwary banks of millions through a pyramid of lovingly detailed real-estate schemes, and now that she's already done time for the feds, who weren't able to shake the money loose from her, some monstrous freelancer has decided to take a turn. Jane gets Mary parked in a new town with shiny new credit cards, and even takes a few days back in her upstate New York hometown to entertain a marriage proposal from her hitherto platonic friend Dr. Carey McKinnon, but then it's back to business as she goes after the trustee who's been looting Timmy Phillips's estate. The looting, though, turns out to be even deeper and deadlier than she imagined--and it naturally leads her straight back to Mary and the ominous, insatiable security firm that's getting closer and closer to her. The plotting is a miracle of unrelenting tension; the breathless, knowing prose is pitch-perfect; and Jane's fierce righteousness is perfectly balanced by a mind-boggling wealth of detail about how to plunder trusts, defraud banks, and disappear. Five more of Jane's adventures are already stockpiled for annual release. Truly a treasure for Random--as long as they never let the peerlessly devious author get behind them.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1996
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Random