"The Informant", by Thomas Perry

The Informant: An Otto Penzler Book (Butcher's Boy Novel) - Thomas Perry

Book3, in the Butcher’s Boy series

Although I haven’t read the first 2 novels it didn't take me long to catch up and be captivated and totally absorbed in the excitement of this fast paced thriller. This series was first conceived in 1982 and has taking until now for the 3rd installment. One would think with such a large time span it would be hard to get into the swing of things, however, the author has added just enough details to bring us up to speed and set the stage for his protagonist, retired Michael Schaeffer. When he was younger Michael was employed by the Mafia and was eventually known in many circles as the Butcher’s Boy, an inner circle hit man. Inevitably, knowing too much he became a liability, realising his days were numbered he assumed a new identity and escaped the clutches of the Underworld just in time.

The story opens with Michael in his 50’s and 20 years into his new identity, living a quiet life with his wife in the U.K. One day his life takes a drastic change when he learns Frank Tosca, a ruthless underworld boss, has discovered his whereabouts and sent two of his assassins to fulfill a long standing contract on his life. With his new life as a family man threatened, Michael’s instincts for survival that were highly tuned while he was part of the underworld quickly kick in. He decides to confront his situation by attacking the man at the head, first he has to get up to speed on the current hierarchy and to do this he contacts Elizabeth Waring of the Justice Dep’t organized crime section. Elizabeth has known of his existence for over 20 years and realises helping him could be the catalyst to a new assault on organized crime….. The hunt is on in both the U.S. and Canada with Michael often barely escaping with his life.

This thriller is absolutely riveting from start to finish. The gamesmanship is breathless and the nonstop suspense starts the moment Michael becomes both prey and predator. The plotting is well-paced, complex and always exciting with a multitude of fascinating characters. 

To sum things up, it is obvious I enjoyed this story immensely.