Madison Murder, Ink.: Blood Money
" I'm not a believer in last stands. I'm a believer in running." But Jane Whitefield, a professional "guide" who helps people in trouble disapper, hopes she's through running. Married to a surgeon and living quietly in upstate New York, Jane wants to set down roots of her own rather than helping others uproot themselves from endangered lives. A good plan--until a girl in trouble knocks on the door and mentions the name of a mafioso with whom Jane has a past. All of Perry's Whitefield novels are plot-rich adventures in which the external world hides threats both seen and unseen, making details matter even more than they do in daily life. This time the idea of outthinking the opposition, or at least thinking first, is even more at the center of things than usual, since one of the two people Jane strives to disappear is Bernie the Elephant, the Mob's one-man money launderer who cleanses warring families' cash but never writes anything down--the location of the loot is all in his memory, much as Jane's success as a guide is contingent on the details in her head. Hatching a plan to give the Mob's money to charity, Jane and Bernie quickly learn that making money disappear is every bit as tricky as making people disappear. What makes this series so consistently engaging is not only Perry's ability to cleverly untie the Gordian knot of his plots but also to draw us closer and closer to his people. Details make a successful thriller, but they can also overwhelm the inferior one. Perry mixes plot and character with great delicacy, producing a superbly emulsified whole.