A Small Town

A Small Town

by Thomas Perry


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In A Small Town, twelve conspirators meticulously plan to throw open all the gates to the prison that contains them, so that more than a thousand convicts may escape and pour into the nearby small town. The newly freed prisoners rape, murder, and destroy the town—burning down homes and businesses. An immense search ensues, but the twelve who plotted it all get away.

After two years, all efforts by the local and federal police agencies have been in vain. The mayor and city attorney meet, and Leah Hawkins, a six-foot, two-inch former star basketball player and resident good cop, is placed on sabbatical so that she can tour the country learning advanced police procedures. The sabbatical is merely a ruse, however, as her real job is to track the infamous twelve. And kill them.

Leah’s mission takes her across the country, from Florida to New York, from California to an anti-government settlement deep in the Ozarks. Soon, the surviving fugitives realize what she is up to, and a race to kill or be killed ensues. Full of exhilarating twists and surprisingly resonant, A Small Town will sweep readers along on Leah’s quest for vengeance.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Praise for Thomas Perry:

“[Perry is] a master of nail-biting suspense.”—Los Angeles Times

“Plenty of characters, plenty of emotion, plenty of insider expertise, but most of all plenty of irresistible momentum toward a fantastic climax—in other words, The Bomb Maker is typical Thomas Perry.”—Lee Child, on The Bomb Maker

“The best thing about Thomas Perry’s thrillers are the devilishly ingenious schemes his protagonists devise to outwit their pursuers…Perry can really write.”—San Francisco Chronicle, on The Boyfriend

“Perry is so skillful with the old chase-and-pursuit routine, creates such interesting characters, and writes about them so tellingly, one wants more immediately, not next year—right now.”—Boston Globe

“Mr. Perry, in this first-rate thriller, proves as cagy as his criminal mastermind: The reader rarely anticipates his next move. He balances breathtaking suspense with romantic intrigue.”—Wall Street Journal, on The Bomb Maker

“[A harrowing hunt-and-hide adventure…nobody writes chase scenes like Perry, who devises intricate itineraries, multiple identities and frequent costume changes.”—New York Times Book Review, on The Old Man

“Perry…builds suspense with all the subtlety of a master chef nursing a risotto to a buttery perfection. It's nothing new to call Perry a master of the genre, but it's no less true for being widely acknowledged.”—Booklist

“Perry is a master of plotting…Most readers know him from his Jane Whitefield ‘disappeared’ series. His thrillers, of which this is one of the best, are even better.” ―Globe and Mail (Toronto)

“Perry delivers a perfect melding of character and plot, light and dark, and he totally immerses the reader in an irresistible narrative.”—Booklist, “Top 10 Crime Novels of the Year,” on Forty Thieves

“Since his Edgar Award-winning debut novel, The Butcher's Boy . . . Thomas Perry has put together a rewarding string of suspense novels with as much cool competence as some of his best protagonists bring to their work . . . Perry’s a real pro.” —Shelf Awareness, on The Old Man

Publishers Weekly


At the start of this uneven thriller from bestseller Perry (The Burglar), a thousand inmates break out from a high security federal correctional facility in rural Colorado. They rampage through nearby Weldonville, causing widespread death and destruction. While most of the escapees are quickly recaptured, after a two-year manhunt the 12 inmates who orchestrated the breakout remain at large. Weldonville Det. Leah Hawkins, whose lover was killed in the violence, sets out with the secret backing of city officials to track down and kill the ringleaders. Despite the previous best efforts of hundreds of FBI agents, Leah nonetheless quickly manages to locate and kill six of them, at which point the surviving fugitives, realizing what’s happening, counterattack from their refuge in an Arkansas survivalist camp. The dramatic setup fails to compensate for two-dimensional characters, especially Leah, and often perfunctory action. In addition, the author misses the chance to consider such larger questions as the morality of Leah’s vigilante killings. Edgar-winner Perry has done better. Agent: Mel Berger, WME. (Jan.)

Kirkus Reviews

Perry's large-scale update of The Bride Wore Black stars a small-town cop who's paid $1 million to track down and kill the 12 inmates who organized and spearheaded a massive prison break.

Two years after a diabolically plotted escape from the local prison loosed hundreds of inmates in the little town of Weldonville to rob, rape, and kill before most of them were re-arrested, the verdict is clear: "They murdered Weldonville." The place has never recovered from the trauma of the breakout and its aftermath; nearly everyone knows someone who was murdered or widowed that night, and no good news has arrived to counterbalance the memories. So the town council comes up with a plan that's novel, neat, and logical: Take $1 million in grant money that's been given to rebuild the town and make it all available to Detective. Lt. Leah Hawkins, a local who's ostensibly taking a leave of absence to brush up on state-of-the-art police procedure but who's actually being asked, if not exactly authorized, to find the ringleaders, scattered across the country, and visit summary justice on them. Once this germ has been planted, the story virtually writes itself. Following the best leads she can find, Leah travels to Florida or Buffalo or California, waits patiently for the escapee at the top of her list to show his face, and then executes him. Though it's deeply satisfying to see the first few ex-cons get their just deserts, Perry (The Burglar, 2019, etc.) is too wily a pro to follow Leah passively down the list. Careful as she is to avoid creating the kind of publicity that would alert the other escapees to their peril, some of them get wind of her vendetta, putting them on high alert and eventually encouraging them to take arms against her themselves.

A superior live-action version of the Road Runner cartoons with 12 coyotes and noncartoon violence.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780802148445
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date: 12/15/2020
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 75,594
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.10(d)

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