Saturday, September 10, 2016

Review of "A String of Beads: A Jane Whitefield Novel" by Thomas Perry

Before she married, Seneca Indian Jane Whitefield spent a lot of time assisting people in trouble, helping them get away, hide, and - if necessary - obtain new identities. Now, in this eighth book in the series, Jane's skills are needed once again. All eight Seneca clan mothers arrive at Jane's home in Amherst, New York to ask that she help her childhood friend, Jimmy Sanders.

Jimmy was in a bar fight with a drunk white man named Nick Bauermeister who was later shot to death. Jimmy has been accused of the murder and is being pursued by the police. The reader soon learns that Nick was actually killed by his boss, Dan Sloan, who wants Nick's girlfriend Chelsea Schnell. Dan framed Jimmy for the murder and - with the help of mafia associates - is arranging for jailhouse inmates to kill Jimmy once he's arrested. To the frustration of the cops and bad guys, however, Jimmy can't be found.

Jane has to track down Jimmy and hide him until she can look into, and hopefully rectify, the situation. Jane gets to use her smarts and extensive collection of skills to find and assist Jimmy, and the reader gets a primer on how to go about hiding from the authorities and anyone else who might be in pursuit. Meanwhile Dan creepily pursues Chelsea Schnell and the mafia thugs try to find and dispatch Jimmy.

Some characters are well-described and believable, and the reader will root for Jimmy and Jane, hate Dan, and feel sympathy for Chelsea. The mafia bad guys, however, tend to blend together and it's hard to distinguish them from each other.

Though it's interesting to read about Jane's methods, and fun to see her beat up some bad guys, the plot is thin and the story plods along. Every scene and action is described in enormous detail. This slows down the story and gets boring. In addition, some characters ignore Jane's instructions and do dumb things. This may be necessary for the plot but it's annoying.

All in all this book was just okay for me.

Rating: 3 stars

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