The Butcher's Boy

The Butcher's Boy

Book - 1982
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Publisher: New York : Scribner's, c1982
ISBN: 9780684174556
0684174553
Branch Call Number: MYSTERY Perry 1982
Characteristics: 313 p. ; 22 cm

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Much like the Hannibal Lecter character in “Silence of the Lambs”, this story quickly has you rooting for the hit-man rather than the Justice Department bureaucrats that are trying to imprison him. In spite of his rather dubious profession, one can’t help but admire his level of planning, quick wits, and professionalism that he demonstrates. The novel skillfully shows us the details of the hit-man's occupation at the same time it gives us an insight into what life is like as a woman in law enforcement. There is a subtle and strange dichotomy between the two characters. This Edgar Award winning book is thrilling and unique.

r
Russ_A
Feb 04, 2017

A beautiful DOJ analyst who studies cases looking for professional hit men and a handsome young FBI bomb expert are sent from Washington to investigate a homicide by explosion in Ventura, California, then are sent on to Denver where a U.S. Senator died by curare-poisoned false teeth. Yes, really. If you enjoy books of that sort, you’ll probably enjoy this one, too. I don’t want to be your buzzkill, so if you liked it, that’s fine, just stop reading now.

I found the book so absolutely ludicrous and had to stop at page 80 because I couldn’t take it any more. My regular followers know that I’m a retired FBI agent and mystery book writer (7 novels now) and something of a stickler for verisimilitude. Virtually nothing in this book was even remotely plausible, which is what spoiled it for me. I know it’s fiction, but still. I’ll take this opportunity to educate you on a few real-life facts, as opposed to alternative facts. Do NOT be misled by Michael Connelly’s introduction. He should be ashamed of himself for having written it. He knows real police work as his Harry Bosch novels show.

1. DOJ doesn’t have analysts who look at individual crimes, much less ones who look for killers for hire.
2. Professional killers like the one in the book don’t exist. Sure, mafia and street gangs have killers, but they’re just regular thugs and gang-bangers, low-IQ, not well-paid, and not for hire. The pro for hire like the ones supposedly found in Soldier of Fortune magazine are all undercover cops doing sting operations, or informants hoping to catch someone trying to hire them for a hit job so they can get paid by the cops when they turn in the person trying to hire them.
3. Neither DOJ nor the FBI would send someone from WDC to Ventura to investigate what was believed to be an accident, and certainly not an agent with only four years of experience. The FBI Los Angeles office has a whole team of bomb experts led by people with 15 or 20 years of experience. The FBI probably would investigate a case of this sort as a domestic terrorist matter, but not send someone from back east.
4. Fertilizer bombs do not go off just by having a blasting cap embedded in the fertilizer. You need fuel oil or something similar to make them explosive, like Timothy McVeigh’s Oklahoma City bomb. This “expert” seems to know nothing about explosives.
5. At one point Elizabeth asks the Ventura police chief for a car and driver to take her around because she doesn’t want to interrupt her FBI partner who has their car keys. This almost had me rolling on the floor laughing. If a police chief were even to spare the time to listen to her request, he would respond by saying “You want me to take an officer off patrol to chauffeur you around town when you have your own car?! Get out of here you *%^&$%#!”
6. The various methods of killing by the eponymous hit man are equally ridiculous. They make no sense whatsoever, but I won’t go into all the reasons why as this review would turn into a novel-length diatribe.

The writing is trite and hackneyed. I found later that even my wife had tried it and given up on it early. She had a one-word description: terrible. The author did absolutely no research on anything. How in the world this guy got this first novel published by a major publisher is beyond my comprehension, but somehow he became a big name in the genre. It just goes to show that talent has little to do with it.

j
jimg2000
Mar 01, 2015

First of trilogy, The Bucher's Boy (debut and Edgar winner 1982), followed by Sleeping Dogs (1992) and The Informant (2011), spanning nearly the entire crime writing career of Perry. As introduced by another favorite crime writer Michael Connelly: "I was amazed by what Perry knew when he knew it. I see it in the prose, the pacing, the choices. It’s taken me a long time to learn what the cornerstones of this craft are, and yet there they are at work in Perry’s first outing. Hey, sure he has gotten better since. But he sure started out near the top floor of the building. Over the years and the millions of words, I have come to learn that it is all about character and velocity. A book is like a car. It pulls up to the curb and the passenger door swings open to the reader. The engine revs. Do you want a ride?" Well put !

a
actnaturally
Jan 19, 2014

Yes it's nice to actually hold and read a book instead of an electronic "thing" of a book. Wake up all Libraries... the printed page may be going the way of the Doe-Doe-Bird <spelling..... but at the end of it all, it will be BOOKS that will grace private collections.
That's my rant.... electronic books should be a 'bonus' feature to those who wish to download it. But to regular bibliofiles, give us the pulp.

Thank you..... I'll be here till 11pm and the documentary will be out next fall.

So long, and thanks for all the fish.

amandastinchecum Aug 12, 2013

Why is this book not available as a book? What ridiculous policies BPL has now. Goes along with demolishing our branch.

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j
jimg2000
Mar 01, 2015

“It’s probably the weather,” said Elizabeth. “They don’t like it any more than we do. You still have to scrape the snow off your car if it’s a Rolls Royce.”
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You practically had to set yourself on fire to attract a second glance in L. A.
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Even the air (in Las Vega) itself felt like that—a breeze that carried with it tiny abrasive particles of ground-up quartz and topaz too small to see. You could feel them buffing and polishing away at you.
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“There is a magic elixir to make you disappear,” Eddie had said. “It’s money. If you have enough of it you can go anywhere and do anything and nobody will ask you where you got it. But that’s only if you’ve got enough of it so you don’t ever have to do anything to get more.”

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