Dead Aim
Thomas Perry
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Buy *Dead Aim* by Thomas Perry online

Dead Aim
Thomas Perry
Random House
400 pages
February 2006
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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Robert Mallon, 48, former construction/ developer now wealthy from land sales, is merely having his daily walk by the seashore. As he rests on some rocks he observes a young lady, Catherine, staring out to the ocean for a period. She begins slowly walking into the sea until her form could no longer be seen.

Knowing this to be a suicide attempt, Mallon runs, plunges and drags her back to shore. He resuscitates her, then tries to bring her out of her despair. Thinking to go somewhere to take her mind off whatever was disturbing her, Mallon invites her to his nearby home to shower and rest after her brush with death. He has no designs on the young lady, he is simply offering to help her through this rough patch in her life. Although he finds her attractive, it is she who seduces him and then later disappears. Come to find out two days later her body was found dead with a bullet wound to her temple. Police count it as suicide. But Mallon, after informing them of their brief tryst, does not agree.

Being rich and idle, Mallon can afford to spend time researching what could have happened in the woman’s life to make her so despondent. He calls in Lydia, a detective friend of many years. Lydia promptly finds the woman’s purse on the beach with ID and hundreds of dollars. Mallon, previous to this development, had not even known her name - Catherine. Now he becomes obsessed with finding the truth behind this tragedy.

Meanwhile, outside of Santa Barbara is a self-defense camp where people are trained to hunt the most exotic beast of all: humans. The participants pay an exorbitant amount of money to learn how to handle weapons and how to make themselves weapons. It features hard workouts, military-type training, and eating well-balanced meals.

Both storylines eventually collide to reward the reader with a kick at the end, but Dead Aim is slow-paced until the climactic finish. Perry’s writing skills should lean more toward an economy of words. Yet his descriptive talents rate near the top in this classic kill-or-be-killed suspense/thriller both chilling and gruesome.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Brenda A. Snodgrass, 2006

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