Eddie’s Boy

Mysterious Book Report No. 428

by John Dwaine McKenna

It takes a rare and awesome talent to be able to invert the forces of good and evil—to make a stone cold serial killer into a good guy—but that’s exactly what master wordsmith and Edgar Award-winning author Thomas Perry has done in his newest, and best in our opinion, of the four installments of his Butcher’s Boy series, which began in 1982.

Eddie’s Boy, (Mysterious Press, $26.00, 288 pages, ISBN 978-0-8021-5777-5) opens in the present, in Yorkshire, England where retired American hit man Michael Schaeffer has been living in quiet and peaceful anonymity with his British wife for the past twenty years.  But everything changes in an instant when a trio of unknown assassins strike without warning, and Michael, now in his sixties, must defend himself . . . as well as his wife, Meg.

The first pages of the novel begin with an angry Michael Schaeffer speeding away from his home in a stolen automobile with the three corpses of the inept hit men who’ve been sent to murder him.  Knowing that his past could come back to haunt him at any time, the old hit man has always kept himself in top physical condition and had contingency plans in place to ensure the safety of his wife Meg—who is fully aware of her husband’s past.  She’s now in hiding, while Michael heads out for Australia, hoping to find peace and safety.

He doesn’t.  No sooner than he’s on the ground down under, than new attempts are made on his life, the body count rises, and Schaeffer realizes that his best hope of survival is to return to the United States and confront whatever demon from his past has returned to try and kill him.  And as each new attempt is made on his life, Michael recalls an episode from his childhood and the lessons he learned from his substitute father, Eddie the butcher in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, fifty years earlier.

Once he’s back in America, Schaeffer reaches out for help to a Justice Department Official named Elizabeth Waring—for whom he was once a confidential informant.  By trading information with her, Schaeffer is able to determine who . . . and why . . . someone from his past has re-entered his life, and the action never stops as the old assassin uses all of his wiles and experience, plus every trick he’s ever learned, to stay alive.

Eddie’s Boy is wickedly twisted, dynamic and super well-plotted, leaving no doubt that Mr. Perry is not only at the top of his game . . . he’s outdone everything he’s written before.  It’s impossible to put down once you start reading!


NOTE: The novels in this series are The Butcher’s Boy, Sleeping Dogs, The Informant and Eddie’s Boy. All are highly recommended.


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