From the publisher:
From the New York Times bestselling author Thomas Perry, “who can be depended upon to deliver high-voltage shocks” (Stephen King), comes a new thriller about an ingenuous jailbreak and the manhunt it unleashes.
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.
This is a well-done novel about good and evil with a feel-good plot to capture the reader’s interest. The town of Weldenville had voted some years prior to the beginning of the story to allow a minimum-security prison to be built in their area. They had done this in the interest of creating jobs and demand for goods and services in their town which was going through an economically down period. Much to their chagrin, the Federal Government caused the prison to evolve into an institution that housed the most dangerous of felons. The danger to the town bears bitter fruit when 12 of the worse criminals plan a breakout which will involve the entire prison population. The plot succeeds and causes a number of murders, rapes and beatings by the criminals escaping. Many were caught and returned to their cells, but the 12 masterminds got away and concealed their whereabouts for two years. The FBI and local police all over the country looked for them until about 2 years after the escape the searches receded into the background and was essentially dead.
Leah Hawkins is a Lieutenant on the Weldenville police force and at the two year anniversary of the prison breakout requests a leave of absence in order to travel to other police jurisdictions in order to study new methods being brought in to fight crime. She was given a travel allowance and a budget to purchase any material she thought would be useful. Beth was a tall 6’2″ lady that had been a star athlete while in school and managed to keep herself in excellent condition. With the permission and blessing of the town council, she sets out on her trip. The trip, of course, was not to look at new equipment and technology but to hunt down the 12 masterminds of the prison break and kill them. The real object of her trip was known only to her and two members of the town council.
How she made out and what the results were of the revenge trip do enter the realm of stretching the imagination but do enhance a very well done story. The result of her trip does leave a feeling of good ultimately triumphing over evil and the novel enhances a definite interest in picking up future novels by Thomas Perry.
1/2020 Paul Lane
A SMALL TOWN by Thomas Perry. Mysterious Press (December 17, 2019). ISBN 978-0802148063. 320p.