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The Face-Changers


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About the Author

Thomas Perry was born in Tonawanda, New York, and received a B.A. from Cornell University and a Ph.D. from the University of Rochester. He has been a laborer, maintenance man, commercial fisherman, weapons mechanic, university administrator and teacher, and television writer and producer. His previous Jane Whitefield novels are Dance for the Dead, Vanishing Act, and Shadow Woman. He is also the author of The Butcher's Boy, which received an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America, and other novels. Thomas Perry lives in Southern California with his wife and two daughters.


Jane Whitefield, last seen in Perry's Shadow Woman, is an alluring operative of Indian heritage who helps people disappear. It is an arcane pursuit, involving myriad skills and constant vigilance. In fact, when Jane gets married to surgeon Carey McKinnon, she hopes to give it up and lead a normal life. Unfortunately, McKinnon's mentor, plastic surgeon Dr. Richard Dahlman, who is accused of murdering his assistant and has been shot and wounded by police pursuers, is in urgent need of her services; and since McKinnon is convinced he is innocent, Jane agrees to employ her expertise one more time. Thus begins Perry's latest, which soon begets layer upon layer of deception and intrigue. It seems that Dahlman himself, with a series of operations, had helped someone attain a new identity, and that he is being pursued not by the police but by men intent on killing him for what he knows. But who are they? Re-establishing some of her old creepy contacts, Jane becomes convinced the villains are in the business of frightening people into believing they are in danger, then collecting vast sums to help them vanish. And now that the FBI is after Jane for Dahlman's escape, she is beleaguered on two fronts. This is really a prolonged chase novel, enlivened by some smooth action writing and a remarkable mastery of escape techniques‘one would hate to be a debt collector in search of the author. It does seem in the end, however, an overly complex structure that obliges a reader to put up with long passages filled with nothing but the minutiae of pursuit and paranoia. The effect is somewhat claustrophobic, and Jane, for all her toughness and smarts, is not a particularly enlivening companion. (June)

Margaret Whitton is a fine choice to portray Jane Whitefield, the heroine of several recent mysteries by Perry. Here, you are quickly involved in a carefully plotted tale where plastic surgery is only the beginning of a "runner's" identity change. Jane finds that someone is using her name and distorting her mission of helping desperate people escape. Instead of helping people in trouble, an unknown, yet curiously well-informed person is framing wealthy people for crimes and then convincing them to pay outrageous amounts to be hidden from the authorities. Jane travels the United States to save one victim and to close down the operation. The story is engrossing, the conclusion satisfying, and the abridgment is generally effective. However, a few things need to be better explained. Whitton's voice is tough, matter of fact, and convincing. An enjoyable rendition of the story; listeners will be asking for more Jane Whitefield.‘Juleigh Muirhead Clark, John D. Rockefeller Jr. Lib., Williamsburg, VA

"Terrific. . . . Dazzling ingenuity."
--The New York Times Book Review


"PERRY IS A MASTER AT NAIL-BITING SUSPENSE. I stayed up until three in the morning to reach the surprising denouement and get my blood pressure back to normal."
--Los Angeles Times

--Booklist (starred and boxed review)

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