Sid and Ronnie Abel are a first-rate husband-and-wife detective team, both retirees of the LAPD. Ed and Nicole Hoyt are married assassins-for-hire living in the San Fernando Valley. Except for deadly aim with a handgun, the two couples have little in common—until they are both hired to do damage control on the same murder case. The previous spring, after days of torrential rain, a body was recovered from one of the city’s overwhelmed storm sewers. The victim was identified as James Ballantine, a middle-aged African-American who worked as a research scientist for a prestigious company and was well liked by his colleagues. But two bullets to the back of the head looked like nothing if not foul play. Now, with the case turning cold, Ballantine’s former employers bring in the Abels to succeed where the police have failed, while the Hoyts’ mysterious contractors want to make sure that the facts about Ballantine’s death stay hidden. As the book races toward a high-octane climax, the Abels must fend for their own lives as they circle ever closer to the truth.
Thomas Perry’s newest release, the standalone Forty Thieves, is a fast and evenly paced mystery.
The plot focuses mainly on the duel between two couples: a husband-wife pair of ex-cops-turned-private-investigators hired to solve a year-old murder case, and a husband-wife pair of assassins hired to make sure the case isn’t solved. The strength of the story lies in the clever plot, the witty repartee, and the juxtaposition of the two couples. None of the characters in the story have much depth, but the cat and mouse game between the couples provides an intriguing read.
Perry often fails to capitalize on moments where he could build suspense, but he has again done that at which he excels: giving the reader villains who are sympathetic and not merely nefarious caricatures.
In Forty Thieves, Perry has once again established himself as a master of the thriller genre, providing a page-turning, satisfying read.