Bomb Maker
by Perry, Thomas

When half of the entire LAPD Bomb Squad is obliterated by an explosion, the unit turns to Dick Stahl to put an end to the bomb-building mastermind who is funded by a shadowy organization intent on destroying the Bomb Squad itself.

Thomas Perry is the bestselling author of over twenty novels, including the critically acclaimed Jane Whitefield series, The Old Man, Forty Thieves, and The Butcher's Boy, which won the Edgar Award. He lives in Southern California.

Dick Stahl, owner of a private security company and former head of the LAPD Bomb Squad, is happy to be on his own, but that all changes when two bombs explode in a private house, killing 14 current bomb squad members. Summoned to take over the squad until the bomber is caught, Stahl quickly realizes that the man he faces is no ordinary garage bomb maker. Perry is in straight-ahead thriller mode here, constructing a gripping, clock-ticking plot, awash in fascinating details about bomb making and detection, but he takes his foot off the throttle just enough to give us glimpses into the personalities of the bomber, whose psyche is as unstable as the explosives he arms, and of Stahl, who has personal issues of his own, not the least of which is his dangerous decision to begin a relationship with one of the bomb squad members. Perry, known for his skill at balancing light and dark, comedy and tragedy, pretty much leaves the light side alone here, but readers won't have time to notice, so enveloping is the main story line. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

The Explosive Ordnance Unit of the LAPD battles a methodical bomber whose principal target seems to be them.The first device in the unnamed title character's campaign is so successful that it takes out the commander of the EOS and half his bomb-disposal specialists in a blast that, in retrospect, was clearly designed to do exactly that. Cowed and humbled, Deputy Chief David Ogden, commander of the LAPD's Counterterrorism and Special Operations Bureau, goes hat in hand to Dick Stahl, ex-soldier and ex-cop, the former EOS chief who left to found No-Fail Security. Reluctantly reunited with his old unit, Stahl is certain from the beginning about his adversary's modus: "predicting what a trained bomb technician will do to render the device safe, and turn[ing] that action into a trigger." In a series of sequences expertly designed to keep you up long past your bedtime, he enjoys a good deal of success by resolutely refusing to do what his instincts demand. Stahl thinks his return w ill be only temporary, but his unexpected affair with EOS member Sgt. Diane Hines makes him so determined to protect her that he can't leave the squad. Meantime, awkward complications pile up. TV news reporter Gloria Hedlund gets wind of the forbidden romance and won't leave it alone. The bomber is approached by terrorists who'd really, really like him to design some devices for a big day they have in mind—and, while they think of it, would like him to purchase them some AK-47's as well. And of course he keeps setting those bombs, some of which are detected and disarmed, others not. Perry (The Old Man, 2017, etc.) provides a hero worth caring about, a villain who stays one step ahead of him, and a supporting cast designed to keep up the nerve-shredding suspense. If the ending feels like a letdown, that's because this ultimate professional rivalry can't possibly continue forever. Copyright Kirkus 2017 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

As he walked, he congratulated himself on his success. He made weapons, but didn't consider himself a warrior. He was a bomb maker, a person who killed unseen and from a safe distance. All bombs came from a small, scheming, self-protective part of the mind. No bomb came from bravery. At most they were cunning or imaginative, cleverly disguised as something harmless-or even appealing. The Russians used to use helicopters to drop small delayed bombs designed to look like toys so Afghan children would try to pick them up. The monumental cynicism that led to the design of those devices still excited and amazed him.

One of his specialties was making bombs that came from his observations about human impulses and temptations. He liked small, routine-looking bombs that would beguile a bomb technician and tempt him to try to defuse it. The technician's efforts would then set off a bigger bomb he hadn't seen or imagined was hidden nearby.

He loved the power. He had the ability to obliterate anything he wanted. And he liked the perversity of bombs, the way he could make his enemies use their own skill and intelligence and selflessness and bravery-especially bravery-to kill themselves. When he wanted to be, he was death.

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