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A note to readers:
As most people who visit this site know, between 1995 and 1999 I wrote a series of five novels about a character named Jane Whitefield. The books were consecutive and occurred in something close to real time, with each of her adventures occurring about a year apart. After each incident, Jane aged a year and reappeared in the next volume knowing the things that she had learned in the previous volume. The series required that I have the next manuscript ready on each succeeding June 15.

The series was satisfying to write, and accomplished most of its goals. Writing a series gives the writer a chance to think about some interesting issues: how to make a character grow wiser and more mature over time; how certain weaknesses and internal concerns reassert themselves unexpectedly in new situations; how the character would behave, not only in sudden crises, but also in normal long-term challenges like maintaining a marriage. Writing multiple volumes over a period of years gives us space and time to think longer and harder about every aspect of a character's life.

But as I've said many times, here and elsewhere, a writer's most important task is learning to be a better writer. Writing a series about one character is a great way to learn, but I came to suspect that writing a second five volumes doesn't teach us a lot more than writing the first five does. Writing a series is also comfortable, and being comfortable for a long period probably isn't the best way to learn to improve. So after the fifth novel, I set the series aside. I told anyone who was interested that some day I intended to write about Jane again. But I wouldn't do it unless I learned something about her that I hadn't already written, and that was worth a reader's time and attention.

Now I've written the sixth book in the series. It's called Runner. About nine years seem to have passed since the last book about Jane. I guess that's part of the reason why people bother to write—we become so absorbed in storytelling that we lose track of time. Fortunately, a number of readers were more impatient than I was, and kept reminding me that I had promised to write another book about Jane as soon as I had something new to say. Some generously suggested plots, in case I couldn't think of one. At least two inquired politely whether I had retired or died. So I wrote Runner.

The pre-publication reviews have been thoughtful and encouraging:

. . . Perry's premise demands remarkable attention to detail, and much of the appeal in this series is watching those details fall into place, especially as the ever-quickening pace pumps into overdrive. Like Ridley Pearson, though, Perry never sacrifices nuances of character to the demands of his breakneck pace. A first-class thriller and the welcome return of an outstanding series."
—Bill Ott, Booklist

. . . Last seen in Blood Money (1999) fan favorite Jane Whitefield returns in another deeply satisfying adventure in Perry's sixth book in the series and his 17th novel (after this years's Fidelity). . .Never melodramatic and always masterful at creating conflicted characters (one feels sorry even for Christine's boss) Perry offers a highly enjoyable tale in which the roles of hunter and hunted are reversed with devastating affect.
—Ron Terpening, Library Journal

. . . Blending the frenetic pacing of a top-notch thriller with Native American mysticism, this entry will more than satisfy longtime fans.
Publishers' Weekly

I'm hopeful that non-critics will also enjoy the book. I've missed Jane, and I've found that going back to write about her after a few years of writing stand-alone books about other characters was a pleasure. I believe it was Ezra Pound who said that great literature is "always news." I think that any book we expect readers to enjoy had better be news too. Runner catches us up with what Jane's been up to and how she's changed, and gives us an inkling of how she's going to be in the future.

For those who haven't read the earlier Jane Whitefield books, they are: Vanishing Act, Dance for the Dead Shadow Woman, The Face-Changers, and Blood Money. All are still available in paperback from Ballantine Books.


deadaim Dead Aim


My thirteenth novel, Dead Aim, was published in December 2002. The book has some memorable new characters and an unusual plot that contains some surprises. My last two books, Death Benefits and Pursuit, were very much concerned with conflicts between men. At the risk of revealing too much, I will tell you that Dead Aim includes a wide and varied group of women, some of them dangerous.



butchersboy

The Butcher’s Boy, with a new introduction by Michael Connelly

The Butcher's Boy won an Edgar in 1983 for Best First Novel. It has been reissued in a Random House trade paperback edition, with an introduction by Michael Connelly.

For readers who don’t know the book, The Butcher’s Boy is about what happens when an extremely adept professional killer does a job, and then is shocked to learn that he has become a liability to his employers. While he works his way across the country attempting to survive and avenge the betrayal, a number of people in police agencies notice that something big is going on, and try—with incomplete and late information—to construct coherent interpretations of the violence. Only one, a Justice Department employee named Elizabeth Waring, comes close.

I have to admit that I have some fears about the impending re-release of The Butcher’s Boy. I had just learned to enjoy the fact that there were two kinds of people interested in the book. One group had read it twenty years ago, lost track of their copies, and convinced themselves that it was much better than any novel could be; the second group had never been able to find a copy, and had to believe whatever I said about it.


 

metzger

Metzger’s Dog, with a new introduction by Carl Hiaasen

Metzger's Dog was a New York Times notable book in 1984. It has been reissued in a Random House trade paper edition, with an introduction by Carl Hiaasen.


pursuit

Pursuit

Pursuit, the first recipient of the Gumshoe Award from MysteryInk for Best Novel of 2002, is now a Ballantine paperback.


bloodmoney

The Jane Whitefield Series

All of the five books of the series, Vanishing Act, Dance for the Dead, Shadow Woman, The Face-Changers, and Blood Money, are available as Ballantine paperbacks. I am often asked whether there will be more books about Jane Whitefield. The answer is that I do intend to write about Jane again, but at the moment the next installment in the series is not what I’m working on. I like to think of Jane as alive and well, living off-camera in Deganawida, New York, waiting for me to bring her next client to her door. I’m enjoying writing stories about other characters at the moment, but I will pick up her story at some point when I feel that I have something new say about her.

 

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