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Pursuit Mass Market Paperback – Jan 1 2003

4.2 out of 5 stars 41 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; 1 edition (Jan. 1 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804115435
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804115438
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 2.8 x 17.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 204 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 41 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,341,500 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Amazon

Thomas Perry's Pursuit is a dark tale of two killers, one a cold- blooded hit man and the other, the hero, something much murkier. When 13 people are mowed down in a restaurant, a police consultant realizes that it's the work of a professional who's tried to make a contract hit look like a random mass killing. Enter Roy Prescott, an expert in hunting down criminals using methods generally frowned on by law enforcement. Prescott uses the national media and the unknown killer's ego to draw his attention, then plays a game of cat-and- mouse with him in which the stakes quickly grow higher. Perry, best-known for his fine Jane Whitefield series, has a precise feel for characters who work for vengeance and justice outside the law, and Prescott easily gains the reader's sympathy while maintaining his bad-guy, good-guy mystique.

Pursuit may draw some comparisons with Lawrence Block's wry Hit Man and Hit List, but while Block is always excellent, it's Perry's work that'll have you waking up in a cold sweat. --Barrie Trinkle --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

The massacre of 13 people in a Louisville restaurant opens Perry's latest psychological thriller (after Death Benefits). Criminologist Daniel Millikan determines that this was no random occurrence, but an assassination carried out by a ruthless, methodical predator but who was the target? The killer, James Varney, is a cold-blooded psychopath who claimed his first victim his aunt at the age of 11; a loner, he later turned to robbery and murder for hire. Against his better judgment, Millikan supplies the father of one of the victims with the name of someone who might be able to help: shady operator Roy Prescott. Prescott's past is dark enough to enable him to get inside the mind of the killer and, with Millikan's help, he sets in motion an elaborate cat-and-mouse game that moves from city to city, with each man trying to anticipate the other's every move as the body count continues to rise. The traps Prescott devises to catch his prey and the ways in which Varney eludes them are fascinating, albeit a bit far-fetched, and Perry supplies just enough background to give the two leads depth with a minimum of psychobabble. The female characters, while essential to the plot, are thinly drawn by comparison, and the book loses momentum about halfway through, when Varney goes into hiding and Prescott tries to determine who hired him to commit the initial murders but Perry definitely comes through in the end, expertly tying the threads together. Agent, Lescher and Lescher. 6-city author tour.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
Thomas Perry is very well known for his riveting thrillers. In some ways, he is highly underrated in that his books are so good, he should be a very well known best-selling author. He has been putting out quality work for years. His latest is no exception and is, in fact, one of his best in quite some time.
PURSUIT, as the title aptly describes, is a novel about a cat and mouse chase between two killers. Both of them are professionals for hire. However, one of them works for the good guys, the other is a true monster. When thirteen bodies turn up dead in an intimate restaurant, Daniel Milliken, ex-detective and current professor of criminology, realizes one of the dead customers was the target of a highly skilled and dangerous assassin. He has one of the victim's families hire Roy Prescott, who specializes in hunting down murderers and, in most instances, killing them. Prescott's target is James Varney, an assassin for hire who has no regard for human life. Prescott sets up one trap after another to ensnare Varney. However, Varney eventually starts setting traps of his own.
Perry specializes in novels about hide and seek. His series character, Jane Whitefield, makes people disappear by changing their identity. This standalone is again about people trying to disappear. The book takes off from page one and rarely pauses for breath. These types of books make for some fun reading and this one is definitely no exception. Not only does Perry take great care in the construction of the plot of this novel, but, he uses the same care in the creation of his characters. Varney, Prescott and Milliken are all real to the reader by the conclusion of this ingenious work.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I've been a fan of Thomas Perry's since his first published novels, Metzger's Dogs and The Butcher's Boy (both of which I strongly recommend). He seemed to have disappeared for a bit, then returned with the Jane Whitefield series, which, although enjoyable, didn't have the same edge for me as the earlier works. But after a few of those, Perry turned back to stand-alone novels, and Pursuit is one of those. It's a decent entry into a real standby of crime fiction, the duel between two equally strong adversaries in which "the hunter becomes the hunted". Perry's weakness here lies in the very nature of the genre itself--the outcome must be predictable or the story will be unsatisfying or incomplete. The story moves forward with the inevitability of a Greek tragedy. But his strength, here and in the Whitefield series, is the rich detail of the hunt, of pursuit and escape. The situations his characters find themselves in, their actions and reactions, are engrossing, and the characters themselves, especially the villian James Varney, are fascinating. And Perry's pacing is excellent, too. The novel contains a number of stories from the characters's pasts, and just when I was at the point of thinking, "The book's almost over and I still don't know much about what really motivates the hero," that issue was immediately addressed. "Pursuit" is exactly what it says it is, and well worth a read.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Sometimes I'll finish a book and rush to read the reviews to see if others agreed with me. Many times, I'll find myself scratching my head, wondering if I read the same book as some of the reviewers. This was the case with this book, where Perry has intricately woven a plot where all the pieces in the puzzle are so carefully chiseled leaving no room for error on the part of the protagonist.
The story starts off with a bang....well, actually thirteen of them as nine diners and four employees in a restaurant are all gunned down by a lunatic psychopath. While some might have called this the random work of a madman, Daniel Millikan, homicide detective turned criminology professor, knows better once he's viewed the crime scene. He realizes there was a target and the hit man killed the other twelve people in the restaurant just to make the police work even harder to figure it out. The wealthy father of one of the victims hires Roy Prescott to find his son's killer. Perry writes, "Revenge is not sweet, it's a luxury. It's a necessary restoration of balance in the universe." Since Prescott has a reputation for working outside of the law, usually leaving no prisoners, he's the perfect one to restore this balance.
This book was better than any National Geographic episode where the hunter tracks down his prey. In this case, the hunter is Roy Prescott and the prey is hit man Jim Varney....someone who is almost as smart and cunning as Prescott but not quite. This will be a chase to beat all chases.
Right from the beginning, Perry lets the reader know who the killer is thereby allowing us not only to get into Prescott's head but also into Varney's as he tells the story through both viewpoints.
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By A Customer on Feb. 10 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Thomas Perry is a remarkably good writer of suspense novels. You can pick up any of his books without worrying that you'll feel cheated. This book is not up to the level of the Jane Whitefield novels, but is, nonetheless, an entertaining way to spend a few hours. Perry's trademark trope of having his characters travel cross-country makes for a sense of progress, even when there isn't much happening. The games and traps he creates for his characters to evade and escape maintain a fairly consistent level of suspense--more than enough to keep you reading past your bedtime. Finally, his characters are rarely clear-cut good and bad guys, which makes them more interesting and more human.
So what keeps this novel from being among Perry's best? Two things:
1. Although it is interesting to see things from the antagonist's point of view, he is not a terribly interesting creation--pretty much a montage of stereotypical killers from psycho/spy novels. The time he spends hiding out does not so much illuminate his character (as Prescott's down-time does) as simply provide more of the same. Although the structural parallelling of the two characters' actions is stylistically intriguing, Varney is too conventional for this trick to work well.
2. The multiple points of view prevent the reader forming a real bond with Prescott. It would be interesting to deal with the cognitive dissonance created by identification with an ambivalent character, but just when you start to like him, you get a dose of Varney or Millikan, thus interrupting the connection.
These minor stylistic difficulties aside, this book is easily worth the money you'll spend on it and provides more entertainment than most authors pack into two novels.
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