Cover Image: Eddie's Boy

Eddie's Boy

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They've come again.  Michael Shaeffer and his wife have just hosted a party at her aristocratic home in England.  Michael is an American and never thought he'd end his days married to a woman with a long family heritage and a fortune that put his own in the shade.  He had retired to England when his business had made an exit necessary.  Michael was a paid assassin, working mainly for the Mob.  After he set up a Mob boss who hired him and then didn't pay him but tried to have him killed instead, the United States was too dangerous.  Twice before in his long years in England men have come to kill him.  Now they've come again.
There are four this time but Michael is able to get the jump on them and kills them all.  He disposes of the bodies but he knows he has to go back to the US and take care of the problem.  He sends his wife to stay with friends and is on a plane by morning.  

Michael was orphaned at age three, his parents recent immigrants to the Philadelphia neighborhood.  Michael was headed to social services and a life in the system but the neighbors got together to discuss the situation and Eddie, the local butcher, volunteered to take Michael in and raise him.  That was agreeable to everyone so Michael had a new home.  But Eddie wasn't just any butcher.  He was a hitman and he taught Michael his trade.  Michael made his first kill at fourteen and spent years becoming the best in the business.

Now as he returns to America he learns that the boss he had imprisoned all those years ago is up for parole.  He has to be the one causing Michael's problems. Michael has a lifeline to a federal prosecutor whose life and children he saved years ago so he gets some information from her.  Then he sets out to solve his problems once and for all.

I listened to this novel.  The narrator had a deeper male voice.  He was the perfect unemotional voice to bring to life the story and thoughts of a solitary, driven man.  Michael was logical, learning long ago that emotions were the enemy of the lightning fast actions he needed to take.  This narrator has that calm unemotional voice down perfectly.

This is the fourth in the Butcher Boy series.  I wasn't aware of that when I started this novel, and it didn't make any difference although I will definitely go back and read the first three.  Thomas Perry is also known for his series featuring a woman who helps people disappear.  In both series, his ability to lay out logical sequences of precautions and the planning that is necessary for success is evident.  The reader will know he shouldn't be cheering for Michael but won't be able to help doing so.  This book is recommended for readers of thrillers.
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This is my first time specifically reviewing just the Audible version of a story. The great thing about this is that I think I have read most everything that has been published by Thomas Perry and have specifically read all of the prior books in this series. In terms of the narration, unfortunately the best that I can say was that it was "okay". But, to be honest, it wasn't awful.  

The narrator has a deep voice and that works great for any male character, but it falls pretty short with female characters. And, unfortunately, there is a very strong female character that plays an important role in this story. For me, when something is bothering me in an audio format, it can sometimes pull me out of the story. This story is action packed, so I think once I decided to just go with it, I was able to just ignore it.

The story itself is entertaining. The portion I enjoyed the most was the history between Eddie and "the boy". I liked the format, the way the past was sprinkled into the present. Sometimes people ask whether or not a book can be read as a stand alone when it is part of a series and the answer is usually yes. So, can this be read as a stand alone? Yes. But, with that being said, I think a reader would be missing a big portion of what makes this series so unique. The beginning of this series is what draws the reader in and humanizes The Butcher's Boy. You have to admit, Michael is really not a very likeable character, at least if this book was all that you knew about him, you would have no reason to root for him. He actually would even seem to be a scary guy that just seems to keep killing people. Why in the world would we want that to be okay? 

Not that murder is okay, but.....Michael is who he is because of a lot of things. His experiences, like all of us, are what have shaped him into who he is at that particular moment. The prior books give the reader a peek into those experiences and create "something" with the reader. Does it make everything okay? No. But it makes more sense why a law enforcement officer (from the Department of Justice) would not freak out and call 911 when there is a man who has broken into her home in the middle of the night. The two of them have forge a tenuous relationship due to events of the past, and these are things that help to shape the present. 

I will admit, Michael does A LOT of killing in this book. Even to me it seemed like overkill. I think the same point could be made with less casualties, but after all, he is The Butcher's Boy and he does have a reputation to mantain. It is that reputation that has kept him alive for this long. 

So...this was not the best book of the series, but it did keep me interested until the end. The narrator was okay, but the story is what kept me going.

Thank you to NetGalley for allowing me to listen to this ARC of the Audio Version of this story. The opinions expressed are completely my own.
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In the book Eddie’s Boy, author Thomas Perry writes about Michael Shaeffer, who is a retired businessman. Or is he really? When Shaeffer’s wife throws a party at their house in England, suddenly his past comes back to try and kill him! Now Shaeffer is turning the tables on his past and hunting the hunters.
This is the fourth book in a series. While I have not read the previous three books, the author did a good job of filling in the backstory and it worked as a standalone book. The audio book was well done and the narrator did a good job of pacing his reading to keep me engaged. I would recommend this book and would read other books by this author. I received a copy of this audiobook from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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“If you learn there’s a contract out on you don’t hesitate. Find out who it is and go after him. Don’t bother wasting bodyguards or underlings. Go right to the one who pays them all find him and stop his heart anyway you can. You don’t get anything for giving his people an extra hour of open season on you.”

Michael Schaeffer used to be known as the Butcher ‘s Boy. That was 30 years ago when he was a skillful contract killer working for the Mafia. He was trained by his guardian Eddie Mastrewski, a Pittsburgh butcher. Michael is now 60 and retired in England with his wealthy English wife Meg. Things have been peaceful until 4 armed intruders show up at their estate and Michael kills them. Fortunately Meg is a very understanding wife who is unfazed by body disposal. The rest of the book consists of Michael trying to discover and kill the person who has ordered his assassination. There is a steady stream of hit men tracking Michael from England to Australia and ultimately to the United States. 

This is the fourth book of the series. I haven’t read the earlier books, but there is copious backstory in this book so it works as a standalone. The one thing I might have missed by not reading the previous books is a reason to root for Michael. He was every bit as scummy as the people who were trying to kill him and I really didn’t care whether he survived. The book is very fast paced and the backstory involving Michael’s life with Eddie did not slow it down. It was woven into the present day story very well. The book has a lot of action (mostly shooting) and there is a very high body count. This entertained me and I would read another book in the series. The narration by Michael Kramer of the audiobook was just ok. He definitely did a better job with the male voices. 

I received a free copy of this audiobook from the publisher.
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Welcome back, Thomas Perry, Michael Kramer, and Michael Shaeffer!

I have been a devoted fan of both Thomas Perry and narrator Michael Kramer for over 15 years and "Eddie's Boy" does not disappoint. Thomas Perry's in-depth knowledge of identity fraud/theft and outsmarting the opposition never ceases to impress me. I had listened to Thomas Perry's "The Butcher Boy", "Sleeping Dogs" and "The Informant" over ten years ago, so I was already familiar with the main character and the book's premise. However, even though this book is Book #4 of the "Butcher Boy" series, this book certainly can be enjoyed as a stand-alone thriller, and reading the prior three books is not necessary.

Author Thomas Perry is the master of suspense and intrigue and this book really moves....from beginning to end. I viewed the book's main protagonist, Michael Shaeffer, as a "JLo of Hired Killers". Just like JLo looks amazing and has not lost her mojo at age 50, Michael Shaeffer still "has what it takes" to get the job done at age 60. Yes, Michael Schaeffer is still able to effortlessly plow down men half his size, avoid capture, and outsmart the FBI, in spite of the fact that he was on a hiatus for ten years and is no spring chicken.

TRUE CONFESSION: I have not been a fan of Thomas Perry's most recent books. My very, very favorite Thomas Perry books go WAAAY back: "Silence", "The Boyfriend", "Fidelity", "The Burglar", "Pursuit". and "Death Benefits". This book is written just like Thomas Perry's earlier thrillers and that is why it has earned a 5-star review from me.

I listened to the book's audio version that was narrated by Michael Kramer. Let the record show that I could listen to Michael Kramer read the phone book and still enjoy the narration....(yes, he is that good!). Michael Kramer has not narrated any of Thomas Perry's books in at least 10 years, so this audiobook was an extra special treat. I truly hope that both the author and the narrator will work together again in the future.

Special thanks to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Contract killings and former mafia ties, yes, I could conceive that was once a life lived long ago. I can also conceive it possible to step away from that life if not a “Boss” or otherwise being an integral part of major crime family.

But, where I really had problems with the story, was that after so many years of being “out of the game”; out of THAT life completely away from all those connected to it, was a convincing reason and explanation now, for such terror in the form of hit man after hit man, dogging Schaeffer half way around the world and back again. You would have thought that this man (with so many after him...even across entire Continents) somehow set the entire Mafia World on fire, in order for this parade of assassins to be coming after him like they are.

The story itself has plenty of action, and is well paced with a remarkable body count, but seems a bit too far-fetched to be plausible in the end.

The Audio Version, narrated by Michael Kramer, was hard to listen to. Mr. Kramer, when reading dialogue with a female voice, was unnatural and unpleasant to listen to. Perhaps, hard copy may be better for those  who savor Audio Book performance. 

My thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing an ARC in exchange for a honest review. All opinions are my own.
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