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Published by Mysterious Press on January 16, 2024

The setup to Hero is simple. Justine Poole (the name she adopted for work) is a bodyguard employed by a private security company in Los Angeles. Most of her clients are celebrities. While protecting an aging celebrity couple from a home invasion, she fights off five armed burglars and kills two of them. Painting her as a hero, the media would like to make Justine a short-term celebrity. Unfortunately for Justine, the man who employed the home invaders wants to send a message. He hires a skilled assassin to kill Justine.

It seems improbable to me that a criminal who hires flunkies to carry out home invasions would worry about adverse publicity when some of his flunkies are killed by a security guard. I wasn’t persuaded that the boss would worry that his reputation would be impaired because his flunkies screwed up. Still, the premise is necessary to set the action in motion and it’s no more improbable than the setups of most modern thrillers.

For reasons beyond her control, Justine is fired from her job. Her former colleagues are forbidden from contacting her. The assassin kills a couple of people she knows while trying to kill her. Justine can’t reach out to friends for help without endangering them.

The criminal mastermind orchestrates an unlikely public relations campaign that make the police unwilling to help Justine, even when they know a killer is pursuing her. Consequently, Justine must rely on her wits and training to elude a killer who seems to anticipate her every move.

Most of the novel consists of chases through buildings and streets in LA. They aren’t particularly original but they’re fun. Who doesn’t love a chase scene?

Justine manipulates a guy into giving her a short-term place to stay. The guy tries to manipulate her for reasons of his own. The novel seems to foreshadow Justine falling in love with him but, if that’s going to happen, it will happen after the story ends. I appreciated Thomas Perry’s decision not to let a cheesy romance get in the way of chases and shootouts.

Perry’s prose is efficient, the story moves quickly, and while Justine doesn’t have much of a personality, she doesn’t need one. She just needs to keep her wits about her long enough to survive. Hero is an unremarkable thriller, but it is entertaining. Maybe January isn’t the right month for a beach read, but thriller fans who can’t wait for summer won’t be disappointed if they read it now.


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For my money, Thomas Perry is one of the best cop writers in the business, along with Ed McBain and Michael Connelly. This story isn't about a cop, though. The "hero" in question is Justine Poole, a private security agent who single-handedly foils a five-man home invasion robbery against her clients. Enraged, the guy who planned the robbery vows to kill Justine -- because how humiliating for his huge mafia enterprise to be so easily foiled by a girl. What follows is a high octane cat and mouse chase as Justine races to stay two steps ahead of the (almost) equally skilled hired killer on her tail.

Thomas Perry is a master of plotting, characterization, and description. Not a word is wasted in his stories, and this one has an incredibly appealing hero(ine) who I loved rooting for. As always, can't wait for the next Perry book!

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I haven't read any of Thomas Perry's books. The premise for Hero sounded like it would be a great suspense novel. Unfortunately, I was quite disappointed with the execution of the story.

I seriously thought about not finishing it but I hate to do that so I powered through. It did improve towards the end. I liked the introduction of Joe and the action picked up.

The pacing is probably the biggest problem with the book. It felt like it was a debut novel instead of being from an author who has 70 or so novels under his belt. There was a lot of telling in the beginning when the information could have been have been shown a little later in the novel. Plus information that I think the reader needed to know earlier was withheld. So for quite a while, I was confused as to why anyone felt the bodyguard was in so much danger.

The two antagonists in the novel were more caricatures than realistic. For how "elite" they were considered, they felt like amateurs. At times it felt like they were kids pretending to be big baddies.

Plot devices were obvious - it was clear they were just there to move the plot forward but without really feeling natural to the flow of the story.

I wasn't sure about Justine in the beginning but she grew on me. And as I said, I like Joe even if he was a pretty minor character.

The plot was wrapped up but it could be extended into a sequel as there were some unresolved issues in Justine's life.

I wouldn't mind checking in with Justine and Joe in another novel, but the writing would need to be much improved in order for me to truly enjoy it.

I checked a few of the other reviews on Goodreads to see if I was missing something with this novel and there were several others that felt like the novel was off and not up to the standard they had come to know from Thomas Perry.

My review will be published at Girl Who Reads on Friday -

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This is a well written, action-packed story that is sure to keep you turning the pages. I found it well-paced, with well-developed characters and believable motivations, with an interesting plot and satisfying ending.

Thank you to NetGalley and Penzler Publishers who provided me with a copy of this book. I am voluntarily leaving an honest review.

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Justine is a security agent for the wealthy and the famous in Hollywood. She prevents an attack and robbery on one of her clients. She ends up killing two of the robbers. Well of course, the media picks it up and touts her as a hero. But, this puts her in the site of a Mr. Conger, the one who engineered the robbery to begin with. He is not going to stand for the embarrassment of his team being taken down by a single woman.

Boy, Justine is fierce! Y’all know I love a strong female lead. And she fits the bill! As the danger gets stronger, Justine gets smarter. And the intensity just keeps building until the very end!

This author has quite a few books. I have only read one other, The Murder Book . I gave it four stars as well. But I enjoyed this one more. It moves quicker and there is a bit more energy and excitement. Now, there are places the author states the obvious and there is quite a bit of description, but these are minor issues. I enjoyed the pacing and the fervor!

The narrator, Christina Delaine, did a great job, especially with all the men in this tale.

Need a fast paced thriller …THIS IS IT! Grab your copy today.

I received this novel from the publisher for a honest review.

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This was an entertaining, well-written book. It was clever, fast-paced and I didn't want to put it down. I enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more books by this author.

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Hero gives us essentially a book-length chase, with the private security expert Justine Poole trying to avoid getting killed by a hit man after she dramatically foiled a robbery attempt and killed two of the five perpetrators. The story has all of Thomas Perry’s expert storytelling, colorful phrasing, and fast pacing. We watch Justine use her wits and her physical skills honed by years of elite bodyguard training to avoid a resourceful and determined assassin. Justine’s creative escapes are great entertainment, but although we are given a reason for the chase, mostly it is just a pretext for all this summer blockbuster-type running/hiding/shooting. This story would have worked better for me if Justine had needed to do more investigative work, in the spirit of The Fugitive. Here all the creative bad-guy avoidance is fun to watch, but Justine’s entire mission is to stay alive, not really to solve anything. The abrupt ending devotes minimal time to tying up subplots.

Thanks to Netgalley and Penzler Publishers for a digital advance review copy.

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There are only two things for thriller fans not to like about Thomas Perry’s recent novel, “Hero.” The first is the title, which is as generic and non-descriptive as possible. The second is an ending that feels rushed and abrupt, as if the author is fighting a deadline. But between the title and last page, readers get a crackerjack thriller from a genre master about a deadly cat-and-mouse game between two highly competent but unlikely adversaries.

The title character of “Hero” is Justine Poole. She’s a bodyguard for an elite Los Angeles security agency, protecting celebrities and influential business people from overzealous fans, hecklers, and those who wish to harm her clients. On her latest assignment, she thwarts a would-be robbery of an elderly Hollywood couple as they return home from a night on the town. Justine kills two of the armed assailants, and the others are captured. That doesn’t sit well with the man who organized the robbery crew. He orders a hit on Justine to preserve his status as a powerful crime boss.

The assassin, Leo Sealey, is one of the best in the business. He’s not just a hired gun. Instead, he’s a skilled detective who uses a combination of internet research, clever deduction, a shrewd knowledge of human nature, and some inspired guesswork to identify and find Justine. But she proves equally adept at avoiding him despite the considerable obstacles the author throws in her way. After Leo kills the head of the security agency, the new owners cut all ties with Justine. As a result, she loses the agency’s resources and most of the possible help she could get from her co-workers. In addition, the police confiscate Justine’s gun and work phone, and she faces an agonizingly long waiting period before she can buy a new one. And with Leo knowing where she lives, Justine has to go on the run. Fortunately, she’s also able to identify Leo, so both antagonists know who they are facing.

Most of “Hero” is an extended hunt and chase with several near misses and close calls. The author alternates between Justine and Leo’s points of view, with readers privy to both of their thought processes. Justine isn’t ex-police or ex-military, as you might expect in this type of book. Instead, she’s a woman who took a part-time clerical job at the agency to help with her college bills and then turned that job into a career. She’s a fast thinker who has gotten very adept at identifying and avoiding trouble. By contrast, Leo is a cold-blooded professional killer but an expert at finding his targets as well as eliminating them. The book’s chapters that are written from his point of view resemble Frederick Forsyth’s classic, “Day of the Jackal,” which was one of the first books to follow a professional assassin and show the details of how he does his job. Leo makes occasional miscalculations but is relentless, resourceful, and seemingly tireless.

Although the author introduces a few plot complications, “Hero” is mostly straightforward. There are no mysterious characters with uncertain loyalties or the plot twists and double-crosses that often overwhelm similar books. Thomas Perry is a master at this type of thriller and is in top form here. His prose is lean, with just enough backstory to give readers a vested interest in Justine’s survival. But he sets up each of the book’s set pieces well. Readers feel they know exactly what Justine and Leo are doing at any time. The book has a cinematic feel, as if people were reading an extended screen treatment for a suspense thriller.

The author keeps the pace and suspense going for about 270 of the book’s 277 pages. Then, for some reason, he rushes through the last few pages. The climax of “Hero” is the expected final showdown between Justine and Leo. Readers learn how it ends and what happens to the book’s main characters afterward. However, the author doesn’t let the ending scenes play out as they should, and readers feel a bit emotionally deprived. It felt as if the author committed to writing the draft of his novel in a notebook and then realized he was almost on the last page.

Whatever disappointment readers may feel at the book’s rushed ending is more than compensated by the entertainment value in the rest of “Hero.” The novel cries out to be made into a movie, with actresses like Jennifer Lawrence or Emily Blunt a natural for Justine’s role. Although some of the action might seem far-fetched in retrospect, readers won’t notice it at the time. Instead, they’ll want to follow the action and suspense that don’t let up. “Hero” may be formulaic, but it’s a formula the author has mastered and delivered a perfect example. “Hero” is another heroic effort fans will really enjoy from a genre master.

NOTE: The publisher graciously provided me with a copy of this book through NetGalley. However, the decision to review the book and the contents of this review are entirely my own.

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Saving her clients’ lives makes her a hero in the press…and paints a target on her back.

Justine Poole works for a company that provides security for wealthy celebrities and business people in LA., and she is very good at her job. When her boss calls her late one night to back him up as he escorts home two of their high profile clients, she heads to the clients’ home to clear it in advance. A crew of robbers arrive on the heels of the clients, and Justine is in place to call the police and keep the clients safe. There is one of her and five of the thieves, but Justine prevails….she shoots two and the police round up the other three. She is hailed in the press as a hero, but her employer is concerned that whoever has been organizing these targeted follow-home thefts will want to retaliate against her. A crew of five taken down by just one person? And a woman at that? Embarrassing. When her boss is found dead in his home a day later, Justine fears that he was right and that she was the intended victim. The new owners of the company, her deceased boss’s siblings, fire Justine, saying that it is too dangerous to keep her on the payroll. Then the press ferrets out her name, her address and ultimately her photograph, making the job of killing her that much easier for Leo Sealy, the contract assassin hired to do so. Now on the run and unable to rely on her former colleagues to help, Justine has only her skills and instincts to keep herself alive, and she is up against a formidable opponent in Leo. Two consummate professionals well trained in the arts of concealment and the hunt match wits with moves and countermoves, and even with the help of an initially unwitting freelance journalist Justine may run out of time and luck.
A taut, well-paced thriller with an engaging protagonist in Justine, who is able to shrug off her grief at the loss of her boss and mentor as well as the panic of knowing that she is being stalked by a predator whose mission is to end her life. The behind the scenes details of the people whose job it is to keep the famous and infamous safe while in the spotlight were fascinating, and added to my enjoyment of the story. While I certainly wasn’t rooting for Leo (who roots for the killer?) I could certainly appreciate his craft and cunning….this is no brutish thug, he considers himself a careful professional. Plenty of twists and turns along the way, and an interesting end. Fans of Mr. Perry’s earlier works will likely enjoy Hero as well, and I would further also recommend it those who like Michael Connelly, Gregg Hurwitz and Isabella Maldonado. Many thanks to NetGalley and Penzler Publishers/Mysterious Press for allowing me access to an advanced reader’s copy.

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A chase novel that might actually make a good movie. Justine was doing her job when she killed two people who were after those she had been hired to protect. Unfortunately, the press glommed on to the event and named her a Hero. This didn't sit well with the boss of the bad guys and he hired Leo, an assassin, to find and kill her. And thus we're off. Justine has mad skills in disappearing except that somehow (implausibly) Leo always finds her. How long will she survive? No spoilers from me about how this ends. I've liked Perry in the past (I'm a big fan of Jane Whitefield) and while Justine is a good character, this plot felt contrived. That said, as noted, it has elements that would easily convert to an action movie. Thanks to netgalley for the ARC. A quick read.

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Yeah, this scratched the old TP itch. If you liked The Old Man, you’ll like this. Perry has developed a deadpan staccato prose that works.

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I have read all of Thomas Perry’s books and this one is a good one.
Hero by Thomas Perry starts out with Justine Poole as a PPE—personal protection expert who is excellent at her job. She foils a robbery wounding one and killing two others. The mastermind of the robbery decides to get even – killing her boss. She is let go and the mastermind goes after her.
The Hero, Justine, keeps getting away and things get complicated. I enjoyed the story – it is not my top favorite book by Mr. Perry. But it was very enjoyable and worth a read.

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Leo Sealy, killer for hire and one of the best in the business, has been hired by Mr. Conger to kill Justine Poole, who Conger feels has embarrassed him by killing two of his thugs and causing three more to get arrested. Leo thinks the job will be easy, but he’s never been up against the likes of Justine before. She hasn’t done the things most people in her situation would be doing, which is making her harder to find, and she stays one step ahead of him each time he seems to get close. Justine is on her own in her fight to stay alive, unable to get help from her co-workers at the security firm where she worked.

Who will win this cat and mouse game – Leo or Justine?

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Security agent Justine Poole prevents the follow-home robbery of a couple under the protection of
Spengler-Nash Security, killing two of the five robbers. The mastermind behind the robberies hires
a hitman to kill Justine to protect his reputation. When Justine's boss is killed when the hitman
arrives at his home looking for Justine, the heirs to the agency end her employment. Justine
must now depend on the skills she has learned to stay alive and capture the man who killed her employer
before he ends her life. Strong resourceful heroine.
#Hero #NetGalley

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This was an amazing book. I highly recommend it to everyone. Great characters and a great plot. I will be looking for more books by this author. The book is superbly written. Lots of twists, turns and shocking turns of events

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Free ARC from Net Galley

Justine and Leo, no cat and mouse here but two tigers in their own 3way. Mr. Perry comes close to the unstoppable and unrealistic female lead but does a nice job with his old school realism and character development. Have fun with this one, we all did!!

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By Thomas Perry

Thomas Perry is a prolific writer. His novels are suspense/mystery/thrillers. I am a big fan. That said, I must admit that this is not one of my favorites.

Justine Poole is a private security agent working for the Spengler-Nash agency. Ben Spengler, the owner, took Justine under his wing out of college and has trained her in all aspects of the security business. One night, at Ben's request, Justine joins him in protecting Jerry and Estelle Pinsky, rich and famous clients, from a home invasion/robbery team. Justine is involved in a shootout with the "bad guys" and ends up killing two of them. She is hailed as a hero by the media.

This would be all well and good, but Ben realizes that the powers-that-be behind these crimes would not take kindly to their guys being shot and there would be some form of retaliation. And he is right. Mr. Conger, the criminal mastermind decides that Justine must be killed and pays a hit man to do the job.

From here on Justine and Leo Sealy (the hit man) play a cat and mouse game – she trying to stay alive and he trying to kill her. The stakes keep getting higher as Sealy gets closer.

In true Perry fashion the situation gets more and more complicated. The reader is rooting for Justine all the way, but can't figure out what will happen as the tension builds.

My only problem with this book is the denouement, which seems to happen all at once and felt like a bit of a letdown. Still, if you are a Thomas Perry fan, you will want to read this one.

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Thank you to the publisher, author and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book.

Although this wasn't my favorite book by this author, I have to say that Mr. Perry is an incredibly gifted story-teller. Once again, he masterfully drew me in and kept me riveted until the very end. I had been most impressed with the author's ability to flesh out the history of his characters in the past, but this one did not quite make me as invested in the main character, Justine Poole. That would be the only reason I am giving this 4-stars instead of 5. As a story, this was excellent, and I enjoyed all the twists and turns. I only wished that the characters had been fleshed out better. In some ways, this story seemed more suited for a novella. Regardless, I think this was a very good book and well worth the read.

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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review "Hero", a standalone novel of suspense by Thomas Perry.
I have read many of Mr. Perry's "Jane Whitfield" novels, so I had an inkling of how this one might have gone.
Justine Poole is a personal protection expert who, in the course of her duties, foils an attempted robbery resulting in the wounding of one assailant and the deaths of two others.
Unbeknownst to her and her employers, there is an extremely lethal person behind the current rash of robberies, and they decide retribution is the way to go.
This begins a book-long cat-and-mouse game between Justine and her would-be killer which results in the murder of Justine's boss, the death of a neighbour and a massive blaming of the Hero - Justine.
I have to admit, I was not fond of this one - the bad guy was just a little too bad for my taste - but that doesn't mean I won't recommend it for anyone looking for a good thriller.

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Can't anyone write a decent ending these days? It's as though the author just got tired of writing and gave up. Good plot, good characters. Writing was a little lackluster, but I wasn't expecting great literature. In the end though it just didn't add up to much. Not impressed and not likely to recommend.

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