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THE BOMB MAKER by Thomas Perry Kirkus Star


by Thomas Perry

Pub Date: Jan. 2nd, 2018
ISBN: 978-0-8021-2748-8
Publisher: Mysterious Press

The Explosive Ordnance Unit of the LAPD battles a methodical bomber whose principal target seems to be them.

The first device in the unnamed title character’s campaign is so successful that it takes out the commander of the EOS and half his bomb-disposal specialists in a blast that, in retrospect, was clearly designed to do exactly that. Cowed and humbled, Deputy Chief David Ogden, commander of the LAPD’s Counterterrorism and Special Operations Bureau, goes hat in hand to Dick Stahl, ex-soldier and ex-cop, the former EOS chief who left to found No-Fail Security. Reluctantly reunited with his old unit, Stahl is certain from the beginning about his adversary’s modus: “predicting what a trained bomb technician will do to render the device safe, and turn[ing] that action into a trigger.” In a series of sequences expertly designed to keep you up long past your bedtime, he enjoys a good deal of success by resolutely refusing to do what his instincts demand. Stahl thinks his return will be only temporary, but his unexpected affair with EOS member Sgt. Diane Hines makes him so determined to protect her that he can’t leave the squad. Meantime, awkward complications pile up. TV news reporter Gloria Hedlund gets wind of the forbidden romance and won’t leave it alone. The bomber is approached by terrorists who’d really, really like him to design some devices for a big day they have in mind—and, while they think of it, would like him to purchase them some AK-47’s as well. And of course he keeps setting those bombs, some of which are detected and disarmed, others not.

Perry (The Old Man, 2017, etc.) provides a hero worth caring about, a villain who stays one step ahead of him, and a supporting cast designed to keep up the nerve-shredding suspense. If the ending feels like a letdown, that’s because this ultimate professional rivalry can’t possibly continue forever.