I am slightly concerned that by blogging about these Thomas Perry novels, I will strip them their utility. They are great diversions, but what has worked in the past is that I read them fast and forget them. Writing requires a somewhat more active engagement with what you read, and helps you remember it. Which is normally fine, but not if you want to repeat the experience.
On the other hand, maybe it will be useful for me to match up the plots (somewhat interchangeable) with the titles (completely interchangeable). Pursuit is about a dead-eyed heartless killer loose in the heartland, and the dead-eyed former cop who is set on his trail. Perry‘s good enough to launch a comparison between the two men and their animal equivalents. He’s also good enough not to work that theme too hard. We are not, of course, talking about well-rounded characters here: these are more or less giant paper dolls with targets painted on their chests, but the tale of their stalking each other is certainly absorbing.
The other good thing about Perry is that you can still respect yourself when you’ve finished his books. There’s often a faint twinkle of redemption in even the most alarming characters — that, or they were scarred by a grim childhood. Tough men are allowed to show a softer side for three or four pages. The horror is not relentless, and not lingered over. And Perry is literate, so there are no infelicities of diction. He writes self-effacing, serviceable prose, expertly paced. Sometimes that’s all a reader needs.