Book of The Week: The Old Man By Thomas Perry
The Old Man
By Thomas Perry
The Old Man is a thriller that illustrates that advancing years don’t necessarily mean that one’s life has to be dull and devoid of adventure. As the novel opens, Dan Chase is retired, his wife has recently passed away, and his adult daughter is busy with her own life. Dan spends most of his time caring for his beloved dogs and avoiding attention.
A few decades earlier, Dan was a Special Forces agent in northern Africa who got caught up in an impossible situation and then was blamed for something that wasn’t his fault. Dan was forced to return to the United States under an alias… along with a small fortune saved from the failed operation. After all this time, Dan hoped that the forces within the government that had wrongly accused him had forgotten about him, but when a hitman pays an unexpected visit, Dan is forced to use the escape plan he’s kept handy for over a quarter of a century. Dan gathers up his dogs, some cash, fake IDs, and weapons, and hits the road in an attempt to survive. Along the way, he finds another chance at love and meets a surprisingly sympathetic government agent on his trail. Ultimately, Dan’s attempts to find a new hiding spot prove fruitless, thanks to determined pursuers, and he is left with just one option: find a way to pacify the government and clear his name once and for all.
There are a couple of aspects of the book that could be improved. The pair of canines who play a pivotal role early in the book are written out too soon; I would have loved to see their role expanded. Whenever the central character takes on a new identity, the book abruptly starts referring to him by that new name, which can be confusing. Finally, the ultimate resolution of the romantic subplot is a bit abrupt and not as satisfying as I would have liked.
The Old Man is fast-paced and would almost certainly make an excellent movie project for a legendary action actor now in his sixties. It makes for a highly entertaining read, and Perry shines at crafting action scenes with the written word.