“Vanishing Act” by Thomas Perry is the first in a series about a Native American named Jane Whitefield. Jane is a guide, but not the kind that takes you hunting for big game or leads you on a tour through a historic site. She guides people who are looking to leave their current self behind and become someone new.
The plot centers around an ex-cop named John Felker, who has been accused of embezzling and set up to take the fall for some unknown scheme. Jane helps him escape his pursuers and assume a new identity, just like she’s done for many other unfortunate people, from victims of abuse to targets of Mob violence. This time around, she also forms a relationship with the person she guides, something she has never done before.
But once Jane returns home, things begin to unravel. Felker was not at all who he seemed, and he has twisted Jane’s help to his own purposes, killing people she cares about in the process. Jane transforms from Guide to Hunter, stalking Felker into the wilderness to extract vengeance for his treachery and murders.
I found “Vanishing Act” to be a satisfying read on many levels. The characters are complex and believable, and I loved how Jane’s Native American heritage played an integral part of the story. I’ve long been fascinated by the culture and history of American Indians, and my favorite parts of this book were the places where Jane was most connected to her Seneca roots. I hope to read the next book in this series soon.
If you enjoy reading mysteries or thrillers because you like to see justice served, wrongs righted, and good triumphing over evil, you won’t be disappointed. But because Jane is not a law enforcement professional, the story does raise some questions about vigilante justice and revenge that I wish the author would have addressed.
‘Hamlette’ is the nom-de-blog of a mother with three small children. Hamlette has been fascinated with storytelling since she was knee-high to a bookshelf, and she has been seriously practicing being a writer since she was fourteen. Although only one of her short stories so far has been a mystery, that genre remains her favorite to read.