Pursuit by Thomas Perry
Random House, 2001
Suspense/Thriller; 370 pgs
First Sentence: Daniel Millikan looked down at the thirteenth corpse.
Reason for Reading: Thomas Perry is a name I have seen around now and again. I have always been curious about him, but unsure of whether or not to give him a try. When I saw that this particular book was available for review on Curled Up With A Good Book, I decided the opportunity was too good to pass up. This is my third selection for the Unread Authors Challenge.
Comments: Having retired to his hotel room in Louisville, Kentucky after a long day of lecturing, Professor Daniel Millikan, a criminologist and former homicide detective from Los Angeles, is called to the scene of a multiple murder investigation the night before he is due to return home. The murders took place at a restaurant, and Millikan is met with the sight of thirteen victims when he arrives. On the surface, the murders appear senseless and possibly the result of a killing frenzy, however, Millikan quickly deduces that it is anything but. The crime scene is too clean, there are no stray bullets, and the crime seems to be too clean cut. It feels and looks more like a professional hit, Millikan decides.
When the father of the intended target contacts him asking for help as the police investigation seems to be getting nowhere, Millikan reluctantly offers the angry and grieving father a name. Roy Prescott is a specialist who will track down and deal out his own special justice. He works outside the law and has a reputation of always getting his man. Prescott plans to draw the killer out using himself as bait, risking his own life in the process.
His nemesis, James Varney, spent his entire life knowing he was something special. He had a difficult childhood, but persevered and learned to survive, always coming out on top. He takes pleasure in the hunt and killing, and he has yet to meet a prey that can out run him.
In a game of cat and mouse, the two men take turns playing the hunter and the hunted. They are both cold blooded in their own ways, one a sociopath and the other a vigilante who will stop at nothing to get his man. The two men are nearly equal in cunning, agility and skill and the chase becomes more difficult than either anticipated. Both of the men are brought close to the edge in intense moments that will have the reader holding his or her breath. As the body count rises and the reader’s knuckles whiten, the two continue their dance.
Pursuit intensifies the heat and then cools things down several times throughout the novel. The changing perspectives offer glimpses into the minds of the major players. The author’s efforts to show a personal side to the two main characters through their relationships with others clarify their differences. Just the same, Prescott remains a bit of a mystery, his past and reasons for choosing his profession never quite coming to the forefront; however, as the story unfolds, his hard heart proves not to be so hard after all. On the flip side, readers are given a close look into the psyche of the killer, Varney, and why he chose the path in life that he did. He is a truly frightening man, and not one I would want to meet. Ever.
Pursuit is not a pretty book. It is hard, violent, and at times intense. Author Thomas Perry pulls no punches along the way. He has written a thrilling and entertaining novel that was at times impossible to put down. Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. © Wendy Runyon, 2007.
A Blast From the Past: As a child, I was quite the fan of the show The Equalizer. I had a little crush on Edward Woodward’s Robert McCall. Or more likely, I daydreamed he was my father—a role many protagonists in those days took on in my childhood fantasies. From the moment Prescott was introduced as a character in Pursuit, memories of The Equalizer show came flooding back. I had the opportunity to catch a rerun of the show not too long ago and was much less impressed—not with Robert McCall, but more so with the show itself. It did not hold the same magic it once held for me.
Be sure and visit the author's website for more information about the author and his books.