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Vanishing Act: A Novel Of Suspense Advance Reader's Edition

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"A CHALLENGING AND SATISFYING THRILLER. . .[WITH] MANY SURPRISING TWISTS. " --The New York Times Jane Whitefield is a Native American guide who leads people out of the wilderness--not the tree-filled variety but the kind created by enemies who want you dead. She is in the one-woman business of helping the desperate disappear. Thanks to her membership in the Wolf Clan of the "A CHALLENGING AND SATISFYING THRILLER. . .[WITH] MANY SURPRISING TWISTS. " --The New York Times Jane Whitefield is a Native American guide who leads people out of the wilderness--not the tree-filled variety but the kind created by enemies who want you dead. She is in the one-woman business of helping the desperate disappear. Thanks to her membership in the Wolf Clan of the Seneca tribe, she can fool any pursuer, cover any trail, and then provide her clients with new identities, complete with authentic paperwork. Jane knows all the tricks, ancient and modern; in fact, she has invented several of them herself. So she is only mildly surprised to find an intruder waiting for her when she returns home one day. An ex-cop suspected of embezzling, John Felker wants Jane to do for him what she did for his buddy Harry Kemple: make him vanish. But as Jane opens a door out of the world for Felker, she walks into a trap that will take all her heritage and cunning to escape.... "Thomas Perry keeps pulling fresh ideas and original characters out of thin air. The strong-willed heroine he introduces in Vanishing Act rates as one of his most singular creations." --The New York Times Book Review ONE THRILLER THAT MUST BE READ . . . .Perry has created his most complex and compelling protagonist." --San Francisco Examiner From the Paperback edition.


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"A CHALLENGING AND SATISFYING THRILLER. . .[WITH] MANY SURPRISING TWISTS. " --The New York Times Jane Whitefield is a Native American guide who leads people out of the wilderness--not the tree-filled variety but the kind created by enemies who want you dead. She is in the one-woman business of helping the desperate disappear. Thanks to her membership in the Wolf Clan of the "A CHALLENGING AND SATISFYING THRILLER. . .[WITH] MANY SURPRISING TWISTS. " --The New York Times Jane Whitefield is a Native American guide who leads people out of the wilderness--not the tree-filled variety but the kind created by enemies who want you dead. She is in the one-woman business of helping the desperate disappear. Thanks to her membership in the Wolf Clan of the Seneca tribe, she can fool any pursuer, cover any trail, and then provide her clients with new identities, complete with authentic paperwork. Jane knows all the tricks, ancient and modern; in fact, she has invented several of them herself. So she is only mildly surprised to find an intruder waiting for her when she returns home one day. An ex-cop suspected of embezzling, John Felker wants Jane to do for him what she did for his buddy Harry Kemple: make him vanish. But as Jane opens a door out of the world for Felker, she walks into a trap that will take all her heritage and cunning to escape.... "Thomas Perry keeps pulling fresh ideas and original characters out of thin air. The strong-willed heroine he introduces in Vanishing Act rates as one of his most singular creations." --The New York Times Book Review ONE THRILLER THAT MUST BE READ . . . .Perry has created his most complex and compelling protagonist." --San Francisco Examiner From the Paperback edition.

30 review for Vanishing Act: A Novel Of Suspense Advance Reader's Edition

  1. 5 out of 5

    John Culuris

    ★ ★ ★ ★ 1/2 I felt I had to give Thomas Perry another chance. At the same time I felt I had plenty of reason not to. Despite a glowing-but-carefully-worded introduction by Michael Connelly to Perry’s first book, The Butcher’s Boy [Random House, 2003], it remains the only novel--off the top of my head--that I’ve rated 2 Stars. In fact, I found the introduction much more interesting than anything that followed it. But I closed the review with: “. . . there is something here. I find myself wanting t ★ ★ ★ ★ 1/2 I felt I had to give Thomas Perry another chance. At the same time I felt I had plenty of reason not to. Despite a glowing-but-carefully-worded introduction by Michael Connelly to Perry’s first book, The Butcher’s Boy [Random House, 2003], it remains the only novel--off the top of my head--that I’ve rated 2 Stars. In fact, I found the introduction much more interesting than anything that followed it. But I closed the review with: “. . . there is something here. I find myself wanting to read more. Neither can I deny I was disappointed.” Possibly that is why I jumped ahead to Perry’s sixth book, the first in the acclaimed Jane Whitefield series. I was greatly rewarded for doing so. Jane, who lives in upstate New York near the Canadian border, is half Seneca Indian by blood and completely so in spirit, at least as much as the modern world will allow. Perhaps that is why, when it comes to her life’s work, she thinks of herself as a guide. She helps people disappear. Not criminals, unless there is a greater good involved, but decent people who are forced by circumstances to give up their lives as they know it. She works unofficially, without government knowledge, and has access to an extensive network of people who also work outside the law. She fits among them, a thorough professional playing her part. Unfortunately, not knowing this would be her calling, she was sloppy in the beginning and now too many people not only know of her existence, but actually know her physical address. A man suddenly showing up at her house and referencing a previous, successfully-relocated “client” begins our introduction to Jane. What follows is a mix of Indian lore, Jane’s skill at her profession, and pursuit from those trying to kill the man she is attempting to help. A murder results when things go wrong, and though the killer is obvious I believe that was always the author’s intention because he never makes Jane look stupid, not an easy thing to avoid when the reader knows more than she. Eventually it comes down to a one-on-one confrontation, which Jane can only win because of who she is and what she believes. It reaffirms everything we’ve come to know about Jane and her world. Nothing can be more satisfying than that.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Keri

    Jane Whitefield is a kick-ass and take no names heroine. She is my new fav. Those that are Tony Hillerman fans might like Jane as well, but without the woo-woo. Jane helps people step off the grid...way off the grid. As never to be heard from again and she is very, very good at what she does. But when a smooth talking tall dark man comes into Jane's life even she can't seem to see the forest for the pair of dark eyes looking into hers. So when he needs help to disappear she can't seem to break h Jane Whitefield is a kick-ass and take no names heroine. She is my new fav. Those that are Tony Hillerman fans might like Jane as well, but without the woo-woo. Jane helps people step off the grid...way off the grid. As never to be heard from again and she is very, very good at what she does. But when a smooth talking tall dark man comes into Jane's life even she can't seem to see the forest for the pair of dark eyes looking into hers. So when he needs help to disappear she can't seem to break holes within his story. Although as the reader you are setting in your seat going Jane...wake up girl...wake up. She puts all her resources to work for John and steps away from him, leaving her heart behind. But once she learns the truth of what she has set in motion, no place on earth will protect the man that has done Jane Whitefield wrong. She calls upon all the help of her Native American ancestors as she sets out to track a hunter. There is a lot of Indian lore and history that is presented. This is a new series for me, but I am already collecting, because Jane is awesome!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mike (the Paladin)

    Humm...I'm often a little reticent when I'm not fond of a book. I considered going 3 stars on this one but I finally decided that my feelings were a little more negative than positive... I decided just now as it was something that happened at the end of the book that decided me. It's a device I'v seen used probably thousands of times with/about heroes/protagonists in books, movies and TV and it pretty much drives me crazy each time. I'll note it under a spoiler warning at the end of the review. O Humm...I'm often a little reticent when I'm not fond of a book. I considered going 3 stars on this one but I finally decided that my feelings were a little more negative than positive... I decided just now as it was something that happened at the end of the book that decided me. It's a device I'v seen used probably thousands of times with/about heroes/protagonists in books, movies and TV and it pretty much drives me crazy each time. I'll note it under a spoiler warning at the end of the review. Other than that why had I settled on a 3 to 2 rating? Well it's not really the plot. The book is built around the idea of an individual who makes people disappear when they're on the run for their lives. The problem is that story constantly bogs down. In the middle of a scene where the characters are being chased through the night and the 2 people get involved in a long convoluted discussion on native American genealogy. This kind of thing happens over and over. An action scene is suddenly broken up by what turns out to be simply long, long, long description or plot exposition. The story itself has a nice set of twists with a good surprise plot twist and it is as I noted a good idea. i just found the execution very weak. Now that is a subjective opinion and there are books in the series so others do like this better than I do so maybe fall back on prior learning and if you have found that I get annoyed at longer winded story telling more than you maybe give it a try and see what you think. (view spoiler)[ Now what annoyed me soooo much. The "protagonist" our "native American" guide (who does not refer to herself as native American as I've found many "native Americans" don't) who makes a living through "gifts" those she "disappears" after the final climatic battle finds the $350,000 that was "sort of the Mcguffin". She removes all marks of the evil white man from the forest and rows home in a canoe...and then throws the money away as an offering to the little people who still live in the land. As when Sharp (Sharpe's Sword ) throws the sword he'd been fighting for all through the book away or as when any hero who is supposed to be helping the poor or living from whatever he's provided throws something away because it came from someone, something or somewhere "evil". The money couldn't be returned, it wasn't tainted in itself it was just "from bad people"... Oh good grief. That is a silly plot point for someone who spends her life buying false IDs and leading people away to new lives...OH well. To each as they say. (hide spoiler)]

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    Listening to this was like eating at a good restaurant; the appetizer was OK, the main course fantastic, but a roach crawled onto the last bite of dessert. I didn't care for the description & almost didn't read this because I really hate the whole Indian mysticism thing, but there wasn't much of that. Unfortunately, it started & ended with some - the end being the worst. I've really liked every other book that Perry wrote, so I took a chance. It was a great story for the most part, but certainly Listening to this was like eating at a good restaurant; the appetizer was OK, the main course fantastic, but a roach crawled onto the last bite of dessert. I didn't care for the description & almost didn't read this because I really hate the whole Indian mysticism thing, but there wasn't much of that. Unfortunately, it started & ended with some - the end being the worst. I've really liked every other book that Perry wrote, so I took a chance. It was a great story for the most part, but certainly not his best. It was a 4 star book in some ways & a 1 star in others. I'll give it 3 stars, but it's more of a 2.5. He did so much right, but shot himself in the foot a few too many times. Jane's job is interesting & she has a lot of potential, but she never really popped for me. Maybe it's a difference in sex, either on Perry's part or mine. Guys writing a main character that's a girl can be difficult. Me reading it can be tough, too. I don't understand them very well. There's nothing I can put my finger on, but I just never got into her character the way I have the guys in all his previous novels that I've read or even the way I did in the early Anita Blake novels. There were a lot of other really good characters, though. He really creates memorable ones. The plot was fantastic & twisty, but he got repetitive at times as if he was trying to keep stupid readers on track. He did a fantastic job of foreshadowing many of the twists, but some of the biggest came out of the blue & just hit like a punch. They weren't illogical at all & kept the story going along at blazing speed when I thought it was about over. Great job! The scenery was great. He wrote what he knows & it shows. He did a great job using her, her heritage & all to the best effect. Great job again! The following could have been minor quibbles if Perry didn't do such a good job on so many other details. He makes a big deal out of how tough it is out in the wild, but then... - A new rifle apparently comes sighted in & she never test fires it. He did this in a previous book (the first Butcher's Boy) too. - The scoped rifle didn't need any protection even though it traveled in a canoe & was carried through the woods with a backpack & a canoe on single portages. Please! - Anyone who has spent time in a canoe knows that protection against water & flotation devices for gear are needed. (Plastic bags are light & can serve for both with a bit of wire or string.) Any time you swap your paddle from one side to another, some water flies off the end of the paddle. They wet your stuff on top & slowly pool in the bottom to soak in from below in a very few hours. The smallest slip can duck a side into the water or even flip it. It's not a question of 'if', but of when & just how wet everything is going to get. - His stuff. (view spoiler)[ A big deal is made about how cold she got & yet she doesn't keep his parka or sleeping bag for the trip back. I couldn't swallow that. (hide spoiler)] - The whole Indian thing at the end. She did some light hiking in the area as a kid with her parents & they stuck to the marked trails, but she's tough & mad enough to (view spoiler)[ go into the deep woods after a guy that grew up there. OK, but she suddenly turns into Natty Bumppo's sister. She makes her own bow, navigates trackless woods perfectly, tracks like a pro, figures out a wonderful snare & all sorts of cool things. They were well done - if he had done it - but where did she suddenly get the knowledge & skills? It seems to be because she's an Indian & allowed her to out-Indian him. By that logic, I should be able to play the bagpipes. I can't. (hide spoiler)] The worst thing about the whole novel was the money. Jane pays up front for people she disappears & then expects a 'gift' a year or so later & apparently makes a good living at it. Tough to swallow, but I rolled with it. What I couldn't take was at the end. (view spoiler)[ Tired, hungry, & cold, she spends all that time looking for the money & humps it out of the boonies. She's put out a lot of money, so keeping his makes sense. She makes sure that he disappears entirely with nothing odd to draw attention. Again, it makes sense, but then she dumps all the money out in a public place (hundreds of $100 bills!) for her fairies?!!! Hell, she gave them tobacco which was enough before. (hide spoiler)] It made no damn sense at all! I'm afraid that just about ruined the book for me. It was so damn pointless & stupid. I had to listen to it twice to make sure I'd heard it right. I'm going to get another in this series. His second Butcher Boy was better than the first & he's done so well with so many other books that I believe he'll do better on the next. I sure hope so.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lynn

    An excellent female protagonist is the focus of this first in a series by Thomas Perry. Jane Whitefield belongs to a network of guides who help people disappear when they are threatened by the very powerful or unscrupulous. It's a premise that can carry on for many interesting books I hope. This one was set around Lake Ontario and I loved following the action everywhere it led. The complex plotting and pursuit are definitely worthy of the author of The Butcher's Boy. An excellent female protagonist is the focus of this first in a series by Thomas Perry. Jane Whitefield belongs to a network of guides who help people disappear when they are threatened by the very powerful or unscrupulous. It's a premise that can carry on for many interesting books I hope. This one was set around Lake Ontario and I loved following the action everywhere it led. The complex plotting and pursuit are definitely worthy of the author of The Butcher's Boy.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lance Charnes

    The "fixer" subgenre of crime stories is almost entirely an urban creature. Tales of people who work in the background of both sides of the law to make problems go away quietly, eliminate crime scenes, or make people disappear (with or without their consent) seem to be overwhelmingly set in or close to cities. After all, that's where the crime is, right? And the protagonists seem to be nearly all male, because it's a guy thing, right? So right out of the box, Vanishing Act breaks the mold in two The "fixer" subgenre of crime stories is almost entirely an urban creature. Tales of people who work in the background of both sides of the law to make problems go away quietly, eliminate crime scenes, or make people disappear (with or without their consent) seem to be overwhelmingly set in or close to cities. After all, that's where the crime is, right? And the protagonists seem to be nearly all male, because it's a guy thing, right? So right out of the box, Vanishing Act breaks the mold in two ways: Jane Whitefield, the protagonist, is a she, not a he, and she's based in a rural corner of upstate New York. She's a one-woman witness protection program helping people in trouble to disappear. "In trouble" usually means fleeing an abusive or potentially homicidal significant other, business partner, or criminal organization. She doesn't do fugitives, though certain types of criminals can apply for her services. John Felker is one of these; one of Jane's past clients supposedly referred him, and he's running from whoever has framed him for embezzlement. As tends to happen in these stories, all is not as it seems. Jane is an interesting character. A member of the Seneca nation, she's steeped in the history and ways of her people, but she's able to function perfectly well in the modern world (=1995 in this book, so for younger readers, this is a historical). She runs a network of contractors and accomplices across the continent to help her erase her clients. She's competent, independent, frugal with words, but not so steely that she can't feel guilt, apprehension, or sorrow. The author does a creditable job with weaving Jane's thoughts and memories into the narrative without stomping the brakes on the pacing. We get her views of local history as filtered through a Seneca sensibility and a taste of their culture as it fits into present-day life without it becoming ethnography. Forests, lakes, streams, and hills take the place of the usual subways and alleys, and the author describes them evocatively without descending into nature porn. With all of this, why only three stars? The character and setting are done well, but the plot needs a fixer of a different kind. The big midpoint revelation isn't much of a surprise; if you read enough of these stories, you'll see it coming way before Our Heroine does. Jane has remarkably loose vetting standards for her clients given who they or their pursuers are. She spends a great deal of money turning Felker into someone else, which makes the financing scheme for her operation (and her final action in the story) hard to swallow. But the biggest problem -- the one that carved one whole star off the rating all by itself -- comes in the climax, where Jane has to suddenly become a wilderness survival and tracking savant with little indication beforehand that she's got the skill set. Yes, she knows her way around an oar, but being able to beat the climbing wall at the gym doesn't mean you're ready to free-climb El Capitan. Even if this is supposed to be ancestral knowledge passed down through oral tradition, we need more clues that she's a hardened outdoorswoman before we go slogging through uncharted wilderness with her. Vanishing Act gives us an intriguing character in an unusual and well-realized setting, then fails to stick the landing with a plot that didn't spend enough time in the cookpot over the campfire. This is the first of nine books in the series, so there's hope that the author will work out his plotting problems in subsequent episodes. I may pay another visit to Jane Whitefield in the future, but only after I get over the letdown this time.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Chris May

    Jane Whitefield is a Native American woman who specializes in making people disappear, she is like a black market, 1 person witness protection crew. I picked up this book becase the series was recommended in the Seattle Times. The premise and protagonist are full of potential, but it is never realized in this book. Jane is interesting, but too solitary for any real character developemnt to take place, so the reader sympathetic to her, but always at arm's legnth. There are only two other "major" Jane Whitefield is a Native American woman who specializes in making people disappear, she is like a black market, 1 person witness protection crew. I picked up this book becase the series was recommended in the Seattle Times. The premise and protagonist are full of potential, but it is never realized in this book. Jane is interesting, but too solitary for any real character developemnt to take place, so the reader sympathetic to her, but always at arm's legnth. There are only two other "major" characters in the book, and Jane doesn't spend much time in dialogue or interacting with either of them in important ways, and she spends a lot of the book by herself, so there are long sections of interior monologue or exposition, or actions that advance or explain the plot, but don't develop the story very much. Perry has a good grasp of the mechanics of how to "start" a new life. This part of the book is very interesting. He also apparently knows a lot about Native American culture and history, because there are major "dumps" of it scattered throughout the book as Jane visits new areas and can somehow "sense" the history that is there. But the history device, while informationally accurate and interesting on some level, ultimately is used very clumsily. I'll probably give the next book in the series a try. Jane has a lot of potential to be a great protagonist, and to be put in lots of interesting situations. It was probably Perry's first major novel, and sometimes it takes time for an author or a chartacter to hit his/her stride, but I won't be long do abandon it.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    I've been engrossed in a number of series involving strong Native-American women and their mysticism, from the Hillerman's, Margaret Coel or even Craig Johnson, but this is the first that dealt with one from an East Coast, woodland tribe...Jane Whitefield, of the Seneca, is a "Rock Your World" heroine who runs kind of a "private" Witness Protection Program for people who want to disappear...In the first of the series, someone has "hacked' into her pipeline and some of her contacts have been kill I've been engrossed in a number of series involving strong Native-American women and their mysticism, from the Hillerman's, Margaret Coel or even Craig Johnson, but this is the first that dealt with one from an East Coast, woodland tribe...Jane Whitefield, of the Seneca, is a "Rock Your World" heroine who runs kind of a "private" Witness Protection Program for people who want to disappear...In the first of the series, someone has "hacked' into her pipeline and some of her contacts have been killed...It is a race to plug the leaks before more damage is done...Huge twists keep pages flying by...Good Stuff!!!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Elly Wendy

    5* Wow, what a trip. I came across this book because James Thane reviewed “The Old Man” by Thomas Perry and mentioned the Jane Whitefield series. I tried to borrow The Old Man from my library but it wasn’t available, so I took two others that were. Perry is a new author to me and I don’t know how I could be unaware of him. I’m very glad for this discovery because I need to get into another series and this book has astonished me. I was hooked immediately by the action and soon the main character. 5* Wow, what a trip. I came across this book because James Thane reviewed “The Old Man” by Thomas Perry and mentioned the Jane Whitefield series. I tried to borrow The Old Man from my library but it wasn’t available, so I took two others that were. Perry is a new author to me and I don’t know how I could be unaware of him. I’m very glad for this discovery because I need to get into another series and this book has astonished me. I was hooked immediately by the action and soon the main character. There was no going back. As the audiobook played on, the action was unrelenting, and I was more and more intrigued by the character and all the detail surrounding her. What made this a particular treat for me was that there was so much information about history and early peoples, their lives and conflicts, even before the white man came. And, for action! For much of the wilderness chase I felt I was right there with them. I am a hiker and wilderness camper, though no expert on anything, but it seemed believable to me. Only one thing tripped me up. I suspect that the birds were ravens, not crows. But then, what do I know? When I listen to this again in the future, I look forward to being able to understand and process more of the detail. Meanwhile, I’m a little breathless and shaking my head at the skill of yet another author. Good One!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jeanne

    I've read a couple of the Jane Whitefield stories from later in the series, so decided to go back to the beginning. I really enjoyed this story -- the intricate weave of the characters kept you guessing what was going to happen. The ending was great, which is always a bump up in rating for me. A very good listen on audio CD -- 7 out of 10. I've read a couple of the Jane Whitefield stories from later in the series, so decided to go back to the beginning. I really enjoyed this story -- the intricate weave of the characters kept you guessing what was going to happen. The ending was great, which is always a bump up in rating for me. A very good listen on audio CD -- 7 out of 10.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    I tried reading this some time ago and for whatever reason did not continue reading it. I checked this out again and I am very glad I did. This book is a very compelling read and a terrific portrait of a strong woman with Seneca Indian heritage gifted in many survival skills. It covers the work she does to help people who need to be relocated, but in this book she is challenged with one very devious client. There are many scenes set in mountainous forests with lakes to cross and trials to conquer I tried reading this some time ago and for whatever reason did not continue reading it. I checked this out again and I am very glad I did. This book is a very compelling read and a terrific portrait of a strong woman with Seneca Indian heritage gifted in many survival skills. It covers the work she does to help people who need to be relocated, but in this book she is challenged with one very devious client. There are many scenes set in mountainous forests with lakes to cross and trials to conquer and a good deal of Indian lore. I hope to read the next Jane Whitefield soon, but once the book is started it cannot be put down.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Vicki

    This is the first Thomas Perry book I've read, and I really liked it. It took me a little bit to get into it because I had just finished a western book and I kept thinking I was reading that book. I think it's because the MC, Jane Whitefield, is Native American, and she tells a lot of the history of tribes and it just sounded too familiar. I can't say I was "confused" but I definitely wish I'd read it farther apart from when I read my western. I like that our heroine is one of those kick-ass her This is the first Thomas Perry book I've read, and I really liked it. It took me a little bit to get into it because I had just finished a western book and I kept thinking I was reading that book. I think it's because the MC, Jane Whitefield, is Native American, and she tells a lot of the history of tribes and it just sounded too familiar. I can't say I was "confused" but I definitely wish I'd read it farther apart from when I read my western. I like that our heroine is one of those kick-ass heroines, strong female characters that leaves women like myself wishing I had some of that "kickassery" too! Jane takes people into a forest as a guide who helps them ghost the world. Then, as it so often happens, she meets (guess what?) a...man! One whom she tends to think is something else! So when he needs her help, I wouldn't say things fall apart but they don't go as usual. I will be reading book 2 for sure!! Cannot wait!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jodi

    I really didn't like this book. I read it because my book club chose it and I had to force myself to finish. I found the plot totally opposite anything the main character, Jane, would have done. She totally trusted a guy and offered to help him ignoring all of the clues he gave about his true self. As aware as she was of her surroundings all the time I found this totally unbelievable. Basically she is someone who helps people hide and gives them new identities, surely she must have thought at so I really didn't like this book. I read it because my book club chose it and I had to force myself to finish. I found the plot totally opposite anything the main character, Jane, would have done. She totally trusted a guy and offered to help him ignoring all of the clues he gave about his true self. As aware as she was of her surroundings all the time I found this totally unbelievable. Basically she is someone who helps people hide and gives them new identities, surely she must have thought at sometime people whould track her down and try to get the new information of the people who were in hiding. And at one point she actually took the client to the fake id guy! I mean I have never been in the business but something tells me that he would be very confidential and in hiding, not showing a person where all of his files are. Dont bother, really not good

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    This one was big on blah, blah when blah would have worked better.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Freda Malone

    Jane Whitefield, a Native American woman who loves her heritage and isn't afraid to tell it like it is has a secret business of helping people disappear. When a man appears at her house for help, convinces her that he is being honest about his situation, and journeys with her through the steps in order to disappear, everything that could go wrong, does. She has made a mistake and Jane never makes mistakes. It is up to her to rectify it and though it takes all her wits and talents to unveil the m Jane Whitefield, a Native American woman who loves her heritage and isn't afraid to tell it like it is has a secret business of helping people disappear. When a man appears at her house for help, convinces her that he is being honest about his situation, and journeys with her through the steps in order to disappear, everything that could go wrong, does. She has made a mistake and Jane never makes mistakes. It is up to her to rectify it and though it takes all her wits and talents to unveil the mystery of another client's death, she does so knowing the ending will not be pretty. What a unique start to a series! I loved the structure in the way the characters are introduced. The writer seems to love talking about the history of Native Indians and it was a bit much for me. A little bit is fine, but this was excessive. It seemed unnecessary and irrelevant to the story. Okay, so I skipped some of that part and still enjoyed the suspense of the mystery. Throwing her elderly neighbor, Jake into the fray was creative and I like him. I think I found another series to work on. This will be a favorite, I'm sure.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ed

    This is my first Thomas Perry novel. It will not be my last. I am not usually enamored of female protagonists in crime thriller fiction. I'm in love with Jane Whitfield, though. Half Seneca, she has chosen to be a tribal member and acts accordingly. She has the ability to imagine how her ancestors, who inhabited the upstate New York area she lives in, were able to live and prosper before the coming of the Europeans. She makes a living by helping people vanish. A career, she stumbled into when she This is my first Thomas Perry novel. It will not be my last. I am not usually enamored of female protagonists in crime thriller fiction. I'm in love with Jane Whitfield, though. Half Seneca, she has chosen to be a tribal member and acts accordingly. She has the ability to imagine how her ancestors, who inhabited the upstate New York area she lives in, were able to live and prosper before the coming of the Europeans. She makes a living by helping people vanish. A career, she stumbled into when she was asked to help a fellow native American disappear. She still lives in the house of her childhood and has a feisty, 83 year old neighbor, Jake Reinert, who believes he needs to help keep her safe. In this story, upon returning from an assignment, she discovers an ex-cop, John Felker, has broken in and is living in her house. Felker tells a story that Jane believes and she agrees to help him vanish. The story unfolds from there as they make their escape while being followed by four thugs. Eventually Felker gets his false identity and they split but problems ensue, dragging Jane back into Felker's life. I can't say more without spoiling the story. Suffice to say there is ample excitement as the truth is exposed. The book is populated with interesting characters, particularly, the native Americans that assist her to say nothing of the resources she uses to set up Felker's false identity. The plot is very inventive. The descriptions of the upstate new York, Adirondack Mountain environment are fascinating. The description of the native American life style is well done and opened my eyes to some things I hadn't thought about. I'm looking forward to reading more of Perry's work.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jerry B

    A friend recommended we try author Perry, so we glommed onto “Vanishing Act”, the first in his seven-book Jane Whitefield series. Whitefield is indeed an interesting leading lady – of Seneca Indian heritage, she lives in the same western New York state area from which Perry hails. Her “occupation” is like a one-woman Witness Protection Program – she helps people disappear through all manner of elaborate schemes and new identities. In the first half of the tale, John Felker arrives on her doorstep A friend recommended we try author Perry, so we glommed onto “Vanishing Act”, the first in his seven-book Jane Whitefield series. Whitefield is indeed an interesting leading lady – of Seneca Indian heritage, she lives in the same western New York state area from which Perry hails. Her “occupation” is like a one-woman Witness Protection Program – she helps people disappear through all manner of elaborate schemes and new identities. In the first half of the tale, John Felker arrives on her doorstep, claiming he is the victim of a complicated embezzling scheme (so he goes ahead and takes the money!). Jane proceeds to set him up for a new life after the two of them escape four bad guys already chasing him. In the second half, when a former client (who “referred” Felker) is murdered, Jane is alarmed at the ties between the two and the danger that poses for Felker. The plot thickens when a huge twist we never saw coming turns the tables on the chased and the chasers, with Jane’s knowledge of the old Indian ways a major asset to her survival. The novel is reminiscent of Tony Hillerman’s stories about the Navajo – indeed, many readers found all the Indian lore boring, while others enjoyed its role in the plot. However, Perry’s writing style and craft in detailing the action make Jane’s entertaining exploits much more of a thriller than the slower, more “mysterious” Hillerman work. We enjoyed this suspenseful first entry in the set, and would definitely try another.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    This is the first book featuring Jane Whitefield, a Native American (Seneca) who has made a career in helping people disappear in order to generaly saving their life. The writer does weave Native American history, stories, theology, and cultural practices into the novel. In this first book, Vanishing Act, a man burglars Janes house in order to ask Jane to help him disappear, claiming that he was sent to her by an old client of hers, Harry Kemple. She overcomes her initial distrust and helps him e This is the first book featuring Jane Whitefield, a Native American (Seneca) who has made a career in helping people disappear in order to generaly saving their life. The writer does weave Native American history, stories, theology, and cultural practices into the novel. In this first book, Vanishing Act, a man burglars Janes house in order to ask Jane to help him disappear, claiming that he was sent to her by an old client of hers, Harry Kemple. She overcomes her initial distrust and helps him escape from a group of hitmen and manages to take him out of harms' way. However this is only one side of the story when she finds out that this refugee is somebody else completely and it is because her actions that people actually died. Jane does show that she not only can make people disappear but she is very capable of tracking them down to in order to get to the bottom of her clients deceit. A fairly well written thriller that delivers a believable heroine who is clearly interesting albeit a wee bit one dimensional in this first book. I will visit her again without any question of doubt, curious how she will develop in the next eight novels who were released from 1994 to 2014. The writer must certainly have gone some kind of growth.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Chana

    Great story! I was very surprised and pleased with this book. You never know what might be in the pages of a book and a book like this is why I keep opening covers. Jane Whitefield helps people disappear. When a man breaks into her house she is at first very suspicious but what he tells her convinces her to help him. I want to avoid any spoilers but I will say that Jane Whitefield is one of my literary heroes.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Geoff. Lamb

    Somehow I missed reading the first two Jane Whitefield novels (Vanishing Act, Dance For The Dead). Vanishing Act sets the tone that is followed in the other Jane novels. Jane Whitefield is one of the most compelling characters in fiction. All of the Jane novels are highly recommended.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Joyce

    My introduction to Thomas Perry came in 1982 with Butcher's Boy, and I think I've read everything he's written since then. Always interesting stories and frames, dependably good writing, intriguing characters. This series was always a favorite--so I decided to reread it. Half-Native American Jane Whitefield is a guide--she creates new identities for people in trouble and starts them on their new lives. For the good ones, it's a better deal than the FBI's Witness Protection, but there are always My introduction to Thomas Perry came in 1982 with Butcher's Boy, and I think I've read everything he's written since then. Always interesting stories and frames, dependably good writing, intriguing characters. This series was always a favorite--so I decided to reread it. Half-Native American Jane Whitefield is a guide--she creates new identities for people in trouble and starts them on their new lives. For the good ones, it's a better deal than the FBI's Witness Protection, but there are always bad eggs who turn on Jane and lead her on deadly adventures. Of course, there's always danger as she must find a way to help people escape those trying to track and kill them. So lots of suspense and fast action but Jane's Native American roots always play a role. Not only is she an excellent tracker and reader of signs, but she also has dreams/visions in which her ancestors offer ideas that help. Interesting protagonist, twisty plots framed by NA culture and all that's necessary to become a new person, often harrowing escapes. Worth another look, even if you've enjoyed her adventures in the past.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Betsy

    I read a later book in this series and liked it so I thought I'd go back to the beginning. I gave this 3 stars but I had to make allowances because it is the first book. There were some unlikely things that happened that felt forced, in order to move the plot along. This is usally a deal breaker for me. I was disappointed until I got to the last quarter of the book when it took on a "Call of the Wild", survival tone. Since I am always a sucker for that kind of thing I rated the book as I did. I I read a later book in this series and liked it so I thought I'd go back to the beginning. I gave this 3 stars but I had to make allowances because it is the first book. There were some unlikely things that happened that felt forced, in order to move the plot along. This is usally a deal breaker for me. I was disappointed until I got to the last quarter of the book when it took on a "Call of the Wild", survival tone. Since I am always a sucker for that kind of thing I rated the book as I did. I will move on to #2 and see if the plot gets a bit tighter and more natural.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Frank

    This is the first book in the Jane Whitefield series. I read the 4th in the series, The Face-Changers a few years ago and really enjoyed it. Glad to get back to this series! Jane Whitefield is a Native-American guide who leads people to a new life when they deserve a second chance and are being sought by others. She knows how to cover her tracks and provide her clients with new identities to start a new life. In this one, she tries to obtain a new life for ex-cop, John Felker, who is wrongfully This is the first book in the Jane Whitefield series. I read the 4th in the series, The Face-Changers a few years ago and really enjoyed it. Glad to get back to this series! Jane Whitefield is a Native-American guide who leads people to a new life when they deserve a second chance and are being sought by others. She knows how to cover her tracks and provide her clients with new identities to start a new life. In this one, she tries to obtain a new life for ex-cop, John Felker, who is wrongfully blamed for embezzling. In the process, Jane falls for Felker and has an affair with him. But is Felker really who he claims to be or is he using Jane for ulterior motives? This one really had some good twists to the story and was highly entertaining. I especially liked how Perry brought Jane's native-American skills into the story which made it all the more fascinating. High recommendation and I'll be reading more of these.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Rhonda

    i did not really care for this book. Another reviewer said that they found the main characters actions contrary to her character. I have to agree. When Jane chose to sleep wth John, I was surprised. It totally did not agree with her actions up to that point nor with the character she was supposed to be playing. I also found the history lessons on the Native Americans out of sync with the rest of the book, like little subtexts. I am also not a fan of how the book was laid out - where you sorta st i did not really care for this book. Another reviewer said that they found the main characters actions contrary to her character. I have to agree. When Jane chose to sleep wth John, I was surprised. It totally did not agree with her actions up to that point nor with the character she was supposed to be playing. I also found the history lessons on the Native Americans out of sync with the rest of the book, like little subtexts. I am also not a fan of how the book was laid out - where you sorta start in the middle of the story and the back history is a flashback. Maybe the author should have started the story with Harry.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Tracye Quinlan

    Excruciating to get through... I had the feeling the author really wanted to write a history of Native Americans of the NE but didn't think it would sell... There was TOO much nothingness in it... Just because the character is paddling in a canoe for days doesn't not mean reading about it should take the same amount of time... Every time I was ready to put it down it would get interesting enough to keep me going a bit further. I will chalk it up to "first book" syndrome and give book 2 a try, bu Excruciating to get through... I had the feeling the author really wanted to write a history of Native Americans of the NE but didn't think it would sell... There was TOO much nothingness in it... Just because the character is paddling in a canoe for days doesn't not mean reading about it should take the same amount of time... Every time I was ready to put it down it would get interesting enough to keep me going a bit further. I will chalk it up to "first book" syndrome and give book 2 a try, but if it's not any more tightly written I'm done with this author.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Bill

    This was a pretty good suspense novel with a very original premise. Jane Whitefield is a Seneca Native who helps people in trouble disappear and start fresh lives with new identities. Recently I read a very good review about Dance For the Dead, the second in this series, so I figured I'd better read this one first. Even though I could pretty much see what was going to happen I still enjoyed it. Those of you who enjoy a good chase will love this one. This was a pretty good suspense novel with a very original premise. Jane Whitefield is a Seneca Native who helps people in trouble disappear and start fresh lives with new identities. Recently I read a very good review about Dance For the Dead, the second in this series, so I figured I'd better read this one first. Even though I could pretty much see what was going to happen I still enjoyed it. Those of you who enjoy a good chase will love this one.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Bill Lynas

    Thomas Perry's first novel in his Jane Whitefield series didn't quite live up to my expectations. While Jane Whitefield is fascinating and well drawn the rest of the characters never seem fully developed. The author tries too hard with long background character descriptions early in the novel, which appear to be rather forced & unnatural. Whitefield comes to life really well, but unfortunatley nobody else does. Thomas Perry's first novel in his Jane Whitefield series didn't quite live up to my expectations. While Jane Whitefield is fascinating and well drawn the rest of the characters never seem fully developed. The author tries too hard with long background character descriptions early in the novel, which appear to be rather forced & unnatural. Whitefield comes to life really well, but unfortunatley nobody else does.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Ellie

    Poorly written and especially poorly edited. Just one example; the writer makes sure we know the protagonist has no idea where the person she is seeking lives but she gets off a plane and drives right to his house in the middle of a strange city. Duh! Where is the editor? And the action is totally implausible. Really a disappointment.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Tim

    The beginning and the end are the best parts of this novel by far. It’s a shame that the rest is not nearly as good. 5 of 10

  30. 4 out of 5

    Teri Pre

    A little too "woo woo" for my taste but I'm willing to read book 2 in the series. A little too "woo woo" for my taste but I'm willing to read book 2 in the series.

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