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REVIEW: 'Forty Thieves'

A fun, witty whodunnit stand-alone novel

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Thomas Perry just doesn’t disappoint.

Whether it’s an installment in the intriguing Jane Whitefield series or one of his many stand-alone novels, Perry always delivers an interesting and well-plotted narrative, characters a reader can actually get emotionally invested in and dialogue that fairly leaps off the page with authenticity.

And that’s just what readers can expect in “Forty Thieves” (Mysterious Press, $26, 356 pages), a fascinating encounter involving three primary groups of people: husband and wife private detectives trying to solve a cold case murder of a man found in the Los Angeles storm sewer system; husband and wife assassins-for-hire trying to stop them from doing so; and a large group of gypsy-like Eastern European diamond thieves just kind of trying to mind their own business in retirement.

The private detectives, ex-cops Sid and Ronnie Abel, have been at this for a long time. They’re entrenched in the community and have children and grandchildren. Their “maturity” gives them a certain sense of gravitas in the profession.

Ed and Nicole Hoyt, the couple hired to whack them, are noticeably different. They’re young, a bit wild and less entrenched in the community. Nicole is one heck of a shot, and Ed has the natural cunning of a predator in the wild.

As the Abels begin learning about the background of the deceased, they also quickly discover they have to go underground to avoid joining that gentleman’s status. The couples are pretty evenly matched in skill sets and survival prowess as Perry drafts a complex yet easy-to-follow plot that eventually has the couples doing battle with a common enemy.

Perry is a master storyteller at heart, and he’s most definitely at the top of his craft in this outing. The interplay between man and woman in each couple is a delight, replete with witty banter that really drives the narrative. And Perry’s attention to detail and penchant for technical expertise are certainly on display as well.

If you’re not familiar with Perry’s work, this would definitely be a fine place to start.

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