A SMALL TOWN by Thomas Perry


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Perry’s large-scale update of The Bride Wore Black stars a small-town cop who’s paid $1 million to track down and kill the 12 inmates who organized and spearheaded a massive prison break.

Two years after a diabolically plotted escape from the local prison loosed hundreds of inmates in the little town of Weldonville to rob, rape, and kill before most of them were re-arrested, the verdict is clear: “They murdered Weldonville.” The place has never recovered from the trauma of the breakout and its aftermath; nearly everyone knows someone who was murdered or widowed that night, and no good news has arrived to counterbalance the memories. So the town council comes up with a plan that’s novel, neat, and logical: Take $1 million in grant money that’s been given to rebuild the town and make it all available to Detective. Lt. Leah Hawkins, a local who’s ostensibly taking a leave of absence to brush up on state-of-the-art police procedure but who’s actually being asked, if not exactly authorized, to find the ringleaders, scattered across the country, and visit summary justice on them. Once this germ has been planted, the story virtually writes itself. Following the best leads she can find, Leah travels to Florida or Buffalo or California, waits patiently for the escapee at the top of her list to show his face, and then executes him. Though it’s deeply satisfying to see the first few ex-cons get their just deserts, Perry (The Burglar, 2019, etc.) is too wily a pro to follow Leah passively down the list. Careful as she is to avoid creating the kind of publicity that would alert the other escapees to their peril, some of them get wind of her vendetta, putting them on high alert and eventually encouraging them to take arms against her themselves.

A superior live-action version of the Road Runner cartoons with 12 coyotes and noncartoon violence.

Pub Date: Jan. 7th, 2020
ISBN: 978-0-8021-4806-3
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Mysterious Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 2019


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