Shadow Woman

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

There are those who find employment and there are others who create a unique place for themselves in the economic scheme of things. Jane Whitefield is one of the latter, Jane, first introduced in VANISHING ACT (1995), specializes in removing otherwise ordinary people from dangerous situations and sending them on to a place of safety. It is not your normal nine-to-five job, and Jane’s chosen vocation regularly exposes her to injury and death. Still, it is rewarding, stimulating, and frequently profitable.

Nevertheless, Jane intends to marry Carey McKinnon. In consequence, she is of a mind to retire undefeated and pursue a more conventional existence. Unfortunately, she must sally forth one last time. Pete Hatcher’s security is breached and Jane feels an obligation to see him to safety. Unfortunately, Hatcher’s employers retained the services of a lethal assassination team and Jane and Hatcher are soon literally running for their lives. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to Jane, her fiance is in danger from one member of the team.

It is no longer enough to move Hatcher to another location. Jane must improvise a means of ending a threat to her very existence whilst moving through the wilderness of Glacier National Park. It is a difficult task, but Jane has been down this road before.

Save for the BUTCHER’S BOY (1982) and SLEEPING DOGS (1992), Thomas Perry did not reprise his original creations until Jane Whitefield appeared. SHADOW WOMAN is the third book in this series and the material is anything but stale. If Perry continues, he may begin writing to a formula, but the three works to date each serve to captivate the reader to a distinct and special degree. Those persons who eagerly awaited the appearance of the annual novel from the late Ross Thomas should find in Perry’s works an acceptable alternative.