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THE LEFT-HANDED TWIN by Thomas Perry: Book Review

According to the beliefs of the Iroquois Nation, the Good Spirit and the Evil Spirit are twin brothers, and the Evil Spirit is responsible for all the bad things on earth.  So it seems reasonable that the Evil Spirit, the left-handed twin, is the cause of the death and destruction in Thomas Perry’s new Jane Whitefield thriller.

Sara Doughton had led a carefree life in Los Angeles, following her boyfriend Albert McKeith from glitzy party to glitzy party, hobnobbing with celebrities and wannabees night after night.  But after four years with Albert she made a very serious mistake–she slept with another man.  When Albert found out, he killed the man, forcing Sara to watch.

Both are arrested, with Sara promised immunity if she testifies at his trial.  She does, but the jury finds him innocent, and on the advice of her lawyer Sara flees California and finds Jane Whitefield, a “guide” who helps people disappear.  Now Albert’s goal is to locate Sara and kill her, but for this he needs help.

What neither Sara nor Jane knows is that Albert is in touch with Oleg Porchen, a Russian gangster who has his own reasons for helping Albert.  He’s not much interested in finding Sara, but he is interested, very interested, in locating the woman who has helped her escape.  As Porchen tells Albert, referring to Sara, “She is worth nothing, except that the woman she got to help her escape is worth a great deal.”  

So Albert, an associate of Porchen’s named Magda, and various Russian gang members follow the twisted path on which Jane leads them.  Albert’s goal is to find Sara and kill her, but the Russian gang intends to find Jane and bring her to Porchen, who has his own plans for her.

The Left-Handed Twin is the ninth Jane Whitefield novel.  She is a member of the Seneca tribe and has been “guiding” people to new lives since her college days.  The combination of the Native American skills she has learned from her ancestors and her knowledge of technology work together to help her find new identities for those who come to her.

One of the abilities outstanding mystery authors have is to keep their audiences reading until the last page, even though they are aware that the hero/heroine will prevail.  Thomas Perry does this skillfully in this series by showing how Jane’s abilities in many areas keep her and the people who come to her safe.  The chapters in which Jane is being followed on the northernmost portion of the Appalachian Trail by four members of Porchen’s gang are spellbinding.

Thomas Perry, in addition to the books in this series, is the author of the Butcher’s Boy series and more than a dozen stand-alones.  He has received an Edgar Award, a Gumshoe Award, and two Barry Awards for his mysteries.  You can read more about him at this website.

Check out the complete Marilyn’s Mystery Reads at her website.  In addition to book review posts, there are sections featuring Golden OldiesPast Masters and Mistresses, and an About Marilyn column that features her opinions about everything to do with mystery novels.

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