Review: A String of Beads

A String of Beads, Thomas Perry (Jane Whitefield #8)


Published December 23rd 2014 by Mysterious Press

Hardcover, 400 pages

Source: E-ARC from Edelweiss


After two decades protecting innocent victims on the run, and a year after getting shot on a job that took a dangerous turn for the worse, Jane McKinnon, née Whitefield, has settled into the quiet life of a suburban housewife in Amherst, New York—or so she thinks.

One morning as she comes back from a long run, Jane is met by an unusual sight: all eight clan mothers, the female leaders of the Seneca clans, parked in her driveway in two black cars. A childhood friend of Jane’s from the reservation, Jimmy, is wanted by the police for the murder of a local white man. But instead of turning himself in, he’s fled, and no one knows where he is hiding out. At the clan mothers’ request, Jane retraces a walking trip she and Jimmy took together when they were fourteen in hopes that he has gone the same way again. But it soon becomes clear that the police aren’t the only ones after him. As the chase intensifies, the number of people caught up in this twisted plot multiplies, and Jane is the only one who can protect those endangered by it. A String of Beads is an addictive, fast-paced thriller about how abandoning the past can sometimes be the hardest thing to do, even when your life—and the life of those you love—depends on it.

Its really hard to start reviewing a series 8 books in – but I enjoy the Jane Whitefield books so much that I have to do it.  To go back to the beginning, Jane is a guide. She does not advertise what she does but if you need to disappear from your life and start a new one she is the person you find.  She helps her clients flee whatever is chasing them and to become someone else entirely.  Jane is a Seneca Indian and the history and practices of her people help to define how she acts and sees the world.  These books completely draw me in and keep me tense while reading waiting to see if each runner will make it.

Book 8, A String of Beads was no exception.  Jane is trying to help an old friend who is being pursued for a murder he did not commit.  Jane learns it is sometimes harder to help someone who knows you than a stranger.  Some series have the characters get stuck in ruts of behavior and relationships and this definitely hasn’t happened to Jane.  She’s not the same woman she was in Vanishing Act (Book 1) and this affects how she interacts with each runner and those chasing them.  While her relationships might not be changing, they continually challenge her which also keeps the books feeling fresh.

Much as I look forward to each book in this series, it is not perfect.   While Jane is amazing as a guide she is not a fully rounded female character in my mind.  Something about her just falls a little flat for me, as a woman reading about a woman.  Though honestly this isn’t a series that you expect great personal character development in each book so that has never hindered my enjoyment.  The dialog is pretty basic at times, but its the action that you’re reading for and that is always fast and challenging.

3 stars.  If you’re not familiar with Jane start this series, they’re addictive!

Thank you Mysterious Press and Edelweiss for this advance copy in exchange for an honest opinion!

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