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Vanishing Act [Mass Market Paperback]

Thomas Perry
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 2 1996 Jane Whitefield Novels
--The New York Times
Jane Whitefield is a Native American guide who leads people out of the wilderness--not the tree-filled variety but the kind created by enemies who want you dead. She is in the one-woman business of helping the desperate disappear. Thanks to her membership in the Wolf Clan of the Seneca tribe, she can fool any pursuer, cover any trail, and then provide her clients with new identities, complete with authentic paperwork. Jane knows all the tricks, ancient and modern; in fact, she has invented several of them herself.
So she is only mildly surprised to find an intruder waiting for her when she returns home one day. An ex-cop suspected of embezzling, John Felker wants Jane to do for him what she did for his buddy Harry Kemple: make him vanish. But as Jane opens a door out of the world for Felker, she walks into a trap that will take all her heritage and cunning to escape....
"Thomas Perry keeps pulling fresh ideas and original characters out of thin air. The strong-willed heroine he introduces in Vanishing Act rates as one of his most singular creations."
--The New York Times Book Review
ONE THRILLER THAT MUST BE READ . . . .Perry has created his most complex and compelling protagonist."
--San Francisco Examiner

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Perry's sixth novel (after Sleeping Dogs) is a taut thriller that at times reads like an extended, though flawed, character study of its heroine. Jane Whitefield, half-white, half-Indian member of the Seneca Wolf clan, helps people disappear-people like Rhonda Eckerly, fleeing her abusive husband, or Harry Kemple, hoping to stay alive after witnessing a gangland shooting. Like a one-woman witness protection program, Jane has helped both vanish by giving them new identities and new starts at life. Now an alleged new victim has invaded Jane's upstate New York house: John Felker claims that he's a cop-turned-accountant, is being framed as an embezzler and has a contract out on his life. Almost immediately, the men chasing Felker appear, and Jane leads him farther upstate, to a Canadian Indian reservation where he can build a new life. Jane is an original and fascinating creation. Like Andrew Vachss's series hero, Burke, she operates outside the law, but with a particular slant born of her distinct character and Seneca heritage. Perry tells her story in a trim and brisk manner, moreover, with plenty of action and suspense. It takes Jane far longer than it will most readers to figure out that Felker is other than what he says, however, and while her trusting nature, which borders on gullibility, generates tension, it doesn't mesh with her hard-boiled profession and hunter-like wiles. It's only when the truth behind Felker is revealed, and Jane acts decisively on it, that most readers will regain the respect they've lost for this otherwise likable and unusually intriguing heroine.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From School Library Journal

YA?The protagonist in this convoluted tale of intrigue and suspense is Jane Whitefield, who helps people start new lives by acquiring new identities. She is drawn to John Felker, an ex-cop turned accountant who has been set up to take an embezzlement rap. Jane and Felker embark on an adventure that leads them from New York to Vancouver, from California to the Adirondacks. Somewhere along the way, the roles of hunter and hunted become blurred and Jane must call upon the wisdom of her Seneca ancestors to survive this latest vanishing act. A thriller with wide appeal.?Pamela B. Rearden, Centreville Regional Library, Fairfax County, VA
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Tense, Real and Original June 20 2004
By Martin A Hogan TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book was a happy accident for me and I am glad to have discovered Thomas Perry's novels. "Vanishing Act" is an amazing, original story of a half-white, half-Native American woman who acts as sort of a one person "Federal Protection" guide. She helps innocent people in danger disappear. There are several successful clients she meets in the first part of the novel and the dialogue is a true as can be. There is a constant tense feel to the narrative, as not only is this job dangerous, but Jane must prove herself each time, given her race and gender. The ultimate client she helps to disappear turns out to be other than she suspected and she is left to resolve a dangerous and deadly situation. Most impressive in Perry's writing is his attention to detail. Not only are all the Native American rituals and survival techniques explained in detail (and implemented), but his knowledge of the Adirondack Mountains is as accurate as a compass. Jane travels through real existing lakes, ponds, rivers and mountains. It's the kind of book that keeps you up well past midnight just so you can reach the climax and resolution.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An "A" for originality May 31 2004
By T. King
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Jane Whitefield has to be one of the most original and interesting characters I have yet to come across. Though she did seem a little lacking in the personality department, I'm hoping that will change as the series progresses.
While in college, Jane helps a fellow Native American, of questionable integrity, escape some bad guys with even less and stumbles on a career. After performing a string of successful disappearances, Jane is duped into compromising a client's identity. It takes her quite a long time for her to figure out who the bad guy is, most readers of this genre will figure it out right away, but once she does, she gets right on the trail. While the methods she employs to do this all make logical sense, they do require gigantic leaps of faith on the part of the reader. Still, one can't help but to admire her tenacity. The showdown is exciting and suspenseful.
The pacing of the story is a little uneven in places. This is a flaw I've found in every Perry novel I've read, this is my third. In spite of this, I do find him to be an original and entertaining storyteller and will continue to seek out other titles.
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3.0 out of 5 stars People finding new identities July 11 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The novel introduces Jane Whitefield when she switches places with another woman and beats the daylights out of a sleazy bounty hunter who thinks he is kidnapping a runaway wife. It illustrates how people can completely disappear and start life over as a new person. The story digresses a lot to discuss American Indian lore, and that can be distracting. One gets the impression that the author is trying to show off his knowledge of the subject.
Jane is willing to commit criminal acts to obtain her objectives (the end justifies the means), and some of the people she assisted are not outstanding citizens. Dealing with the wrong side of the law will eventually get you into trouble. Jane makes an error in judgement which could get her killed, and compounds that by wanting to operate as a lone wolf with no backup. Her opponent makes an even bigger mistake, i.e., if you are trying to disappear you do not return to your home area.
Overall, the plot is interesting, but I considered it a somewhat average mystery.
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3.0 out of 5 stars YOU CAN RUN BUT CAN YOU "HIDE"? Sept. 19 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The good news is that the protagonist of this book is a very unique fictional character. The bad news is that the story was a bit convoluted to hold my attention.
Here's the premise -- Jane Whitefield is half Native American and is in the business of helping people disappear. She has spent the last ten years of her life hiding people with the full knowledge that if they can disappear, without leaving a trail, and stay hidden for two or three months, the chance of ever being found drops considerably. Her clients run the gamut from wives escaping spousal abuse to informants escaping the mob -- all innocent people who cannot be suitably protected without some kind of help. Jane is considered a "guide". She guides people out of their fragile situations with the aid of her network of willing accomplices who help her with new identifications and transport for these runaways.
The setting of this episode takes place in Upstate New York where Jane is able to use her Native American instincts to weave her way through the lakes and forests of this region. In the true tradition of her Seneca ancestors, her ingenuity is remarkable and her intuition extraordinary. This was the interesting part of the book as I learned about the cultures of the tribes that originally inhabited this area as Jane actually takes one of her fugitives to an Indian reservation for refuge.
The opening chapter starts off with a chase through the airport as a victim of an abusive spouse is being trailed by a bounty hunter hired by her husband. Little does the bounty hunter know that Jane Whitefield is in that same airport setting the stage for an exciting story. The events that follow include the mob, embezzling, a deadly poker game, a framed accountant and a chase against the elements.
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Format:Mass Market Paperback
The first Jane Whitefield novel, *Vanishing Act*, offers a unique protagonist, a brilliant premise, non-stop action, and a conclusion that will have you treading softly the next time you go looking for Bambi. Perry is a superb craftsman, whose novels are always literate, challenging, and thoughtful. He seems to have lost interest in Jane after six novels, three of which attempt to retire her. Too bad. Even though he is right, that sustaining a character through decades is hard work and perhaps not even very interesting, she is missed.
Read *Vanishing Act*, *Shadow Woman*, and *Dance for the Dead*. These are the must-haves of the series. Perry manages to create a believable Seneca world while maintaining a respectful distance, and his intricate plotting sustains each book. Read for the plot, read for the Indians: either way, you'll be happy.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars A Good Idea Becomes a Vanishing Act
While the idea of a female non-detective protagonist is a neat twist in the genre, this female has a personality which is neither attractive nor repelling. She is a zero. Read more
Published on May 13 2003
2.0 out of 5 stars started good
I could not finish this book.It started out so promising but I found all the detail about the American Indians distracting and so i got bored and quit reading it. Read more
Published on Aug. 22 2002 by Cheryl
2.0 out of 5 stars at least start is lively
It all starts good and interesting, however, the plot is centered around dumb actions of the good girl and on otherwise unfounded expectations of the bad guy that she will do... Read more
Published on July 24 2002 by Does Not Matter
5.0 out of 5 stars I have only one thing to say...
Jane Whitefield for President.
Published on Jan. 31 2001
3.0 out of 5 stars Unbelievable but entertaining.
I enjoyed reading this book, although the story line is unbelievable. Often, I would put the book down and say to myself: "No way". Read more
Published on Jan. 13 2001
3.0 out of 5 stars It is not like that in the north woods
The heronine is out in the north Woods in early spring. No food or dry clothing and is able to make a working bow and a set of arrows in a day!!! Read more
Published on Sept. 22 2000 by Elliot
3.0 out of 5 stars Above Average
This is a decent thriller. However, it drags in spots and when he goes through a stream of concious for several pages, it gets really convoluted. Read more
Published on April 21 2000
2.0 out of 5 stars dumb
Beginning was promissing, but everything else was a mere predictable disappointment. I hope other books are better.
Published on Feb. 18 2000
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