Eddie's Boy

Eddie's Boy

A Novel

Book - 2020
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"Michael Shaeffer is a retired American businessman, living peacefully in England with his aristocratic wife. But her annual summer party brings strangers to their house, and with them, an attempt on Michael's life. He is immediately thrust into action, luring his lethal pursuers to Australia before venturing into the lion's den-the States-to figure out why the mafia is after him-again-and how to stop them. Eddie's Boy jumps between Michael's current predicament and the past. We glimpse the days before he became the Butcher's Boy, the highly skilled mob hit man who pulled a slaughter job on some double-crossing clients and started a mob war, to his childhood spent apprenticed to Eddie, a seasoned hired assassin. And we watch him pit two prominent mafia families against each other to eliminate his enemies one by one. He's meticulous in his approach, using his senior contact in the Organized Crime Division of the Justice Department for information, but never allowing her to get too close to his trail. But will he be able to escape this new wave of young contract killers, or will the years finally catch up to him? Perry's Edgar Award-winning Butcher's Boy returns in full force in this exhilarating new installment to the beloved series."--Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : The Mysterious Press, 2020.
Edition: First Grove Atlantic hardcover edition, First edition.
Copyright Date: ©2020
ISBN: 9780802157775
Branch Call Number: Fic Perr
Characteristics: 274 pages ; 24 cm.


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Mar 05, 2021

I think I've read almost all of Perry's works and liked most of them. He's had some good lead characters in some series and standalone novels.

The Michael character in "Eddie's Boy" is my least favorite Perry lead character. He's a professional hit man and kills lots of people in this book. When he's not busy killing someone, he's having a flashback to when he killed someone else, or to when he was seduced as a teenager by a married lady. Lots of action scenes in this novel, but mostly it's all about killing people. No real plot, no deeper meaning. It's more like a "how to be a killer" instruction manual- if you look at the growing homicide rates this year, it's evidently a growth industry.

Sure, he only kills bad guys (mafia gangsters are still OK to kill even in these PC days), but they are no worse than Michael. Some of his organized crime victims probably had more people grieving them compared to the one person that would care if Michael expired.

I prefer my protagonist to be someone that I care about, that I might even like and respect. It wouldn't have bothered me to see Michael shot by the FBI or hit by a UPS truck, that's how little I cared about him. I was happy when it was over and almost stopped before I completed it.

Nov 21, 2020

Thomas Perry is a prolific writer with a variety of series & stand-alones to his credit. But it all began in 1982 with The Butcher’s Boy. A big hit with readers, it went on to win the Edgar Award for Best First Novel. Every ten years or so, he adds a book to the series which sets up an interesting dynamic between the reader & MC. Both are a decade older & (hopefully) wiser. So, Michael Shaeffer…whatcha been up to?

As it turns out, not much. Michael is a rarity…a retired hitman. After some particularly hairy jobs, he packed up his money & moved across the pond to assume a new identity. There he met Meg, a charming British aristocrat, & settled into his new role as husband. Living in the UK has made it easier to avoid bumping into anyone associated with his old life. So naturally it’s quite a shock when several men break into their house one night & try to kill him. What the hell…

Michael has been out of the game for a long time. He doesn’t even know who the players are let alone who would want him dead after all this time. Priority one is keeping Meg safe so he goes on the run only to discover the plot to make him dead has gone international. The answer has to lie somewhere in the past & Michael has no choice but to return to his old stomping grounds in the States.

What follows is a tense, fast paced read built to hold your attention. It doesn’t spend a lot of time dwelling on characters’ motivation or what makes them tick. Instead, you’ll often feel the urge to duck & cover as you try to keep track of the body count.

The story alternates between the present & the past. We travel with Michael back to America where he begins to hunt for the person who put a price on his head & why. In alternate chapters, he reminisces about his childhood with Eddie Mastrewski and how he came to be the butcher’s boy. Old friends & enemies cross his path as he gradually thins out the local mobster population.

For all the time we spend with him, Michael (if that is his real name) remains an enigma. He’s a suave, intelligent man who’s gone from orphan to hitman to country squire. You get the sense he doesn’t spend too much time navel gazing….more of just-get-on-with-it type of guy. This is reflected in the pared down, straightforward style of prose that effectively propels the story & keeps you slightly breathless.

For me, this was the right book at the right time. I wasn’t looking for subtlety or thought provoking exposition, just something to distract me from current events. Mission accomplished.


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