Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Book Review: 'A String of Beads' by Thomas Perry

"A String of Beads" is the latest installment in Thomas Perry's popular series featuring Jane Whitefield. Jane, who lives in New York State with her husband, a surgeon named Carey McKinnon, is physically fit and stays in shape by running and practicing tai chi. In her spare time, she does volunteer and charity work. What makes her unique is her a secret and hazardous avocation: She is a guide who helps desperate people flee from precarious situations. If necessary, she sets her clients up with forged papers so that they can start over in new locations under assumed names.

One day, Jane receives an unexpected visit from eight female clan members who represent the Seneca, her late father's Native American tribe. They urge Jane to employ her talents--she is an expert tracker and markswoman who thinks strategically and is trained in hand-to-hand combat--to assist Jimmy Sanders, her childhood friend. He is in hiding after being framed for a murder that he did not commit.

Thomas Perry has long been a favorite among thriller fans because of his well-crafted prose and dialogue, intriguing characters, engrossing plot lines, and exciting action sequences. The Whitefield books have an added dimension because of their emphasis on Jane's reverence for the Seneca traditions and customs. "A String of Beads" shows Jane at her most impressive. She uses her intellect and instincts to anticipate danger before it approaches, and then devises ways of evading or confronting her antagonists. When violence cannot be avoided, she does what is necessary to stay alive and protect those who depend on her. Some may argue that Jane is a little too good to be true; she is unselfish, generous, and incredibly proficient at the skills needed for survival. Furthermore, the villains are little more than one-dimensional thugs--and none too bright, at that. Nevertheless, Jane's fans will willingly suspend their disbelief and continue to embrace this clever, determined, and tough heroine who, time and again, persuades would-be victims to trust her with their lives. (4.5 stars)

Editor's note: This review was written by Eleanor Bukowsky and has been reposted with permission. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right

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