Review

Perfect Killer

by Lewis Perdue



PERFECT KILLER, the latest in an exemplary series of thrillers by
Lewis Perdue, is one of those rare novels that succeeds on so many
levels that it is difficult to list all of them. It certainly has
the requisite number of explosions --- more so, actually --- and
fisticuffs, cliffhanging situations, and a grand concept that such
a book needs to make it stand head and shoulders on the shelf with
its fellows. But when the dust settles and the smoke clears,
Perdue's book has more than that going for it. It is a historical
treatise, in its way, wherein redemption is attainable in the
present for the sins of the past; there is some (chaste, almost
courtly) romance; and, perhaps most interestingly, there are
extended discussions dealing with the very essence of who and what
we are, individually and collectively.

The primary protagonist of PERFECT KILLER is Dr. Brad Stone, a
heavily decorated combat veteran who has transformed himself into
one of the most famous neurosurgeons in the country, all the while
retaining his combat knowledge and skills. Wholly dedicated to his
medical practice, his quiet if melancholy life takes a bizarre turn
when he is contacted by Vanessa Thompson, a woman from his distant
past. Now a brilliant and controversial civil rights lawyer,
Thompson is seeking Stone's help in incongruously defending white
racist Daryl Tallmadge, a convicted murderer who is sitting on
Mississippi's death row. It develops that Tallmadge has information
concerning a secret military research program known as Project
Enduring Valor, which seeks to turn ordinary soldiers into totally
efficient killing machines.

Several decades in the making, the program is ready to be test
marketed, so to speak. Its main proponent is Clark Braxton, a
military hero and the apparent favorite to be the next President of
the United States. Braxton is himself a product of Enduring Valor
--- and the very dangerous side effects that were manifested in the
test stages of the program are showing in Braxton's behavior as
well. He is driven to implement the program, no matter what the
cost and regardless of who gets in his way.

While the basic good guy/bad guy lines are pretty starkly
delineated in PERFECT KILLER, Perdue, through Stone, examines some
fairly weighty concepts, including those related to God, free will,
and the influence that quantum physics may or may not have over
human behavior. The discussion goes deep enough to be interesting
without diverting from the main storyline. Perdue, in fact, makes
these discussions a shadowy but nonetheless visible part of the
story, giving the reader plenty to think about in the midst of the
action, which is practically non-stop.

The result is a work that causes the mind, as well as the heart, to
race; or, to put it in the form of an equation, PERFECT KILLER =
Perfect Thriller. This is a work, and an author, not to be
missed.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on January 17, 2011

Perfect Killer
by Lewis Perdue

  • Publication Date: September 1, 2005
  • Genres: Fiction, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Forge Books
  • ISBN-10: 0765301105
  • ISBN-13: 9780641831867