Review The Bomb Maker: A novel by Thomas Perry

A bomb is more than a weapon. A bomb is an expression of the bomber’s predictions of human behavior—a performance designed to fool you into making one fatally wrong move. In The Bomb Maker, Thomas Perry introduces us to the dark corners of a mind intent on transforming a simple machine into an act of murder—and to those committed to preventing that outcome at any cost.

A threat is called into the LAPD Bomb Squad and when tragedy ensues, the fragmented unit turns to Dick Stahl, a former Bomb Squad commander who now operates his own private security company. Just returned from a tough job in Mexico, Stahl is at first reluctant to accept the offer, but his sense of duty to the technicians he trained is too strong to turn it down. On his first day back at the head of the squad, Stahl’s three-person team is dispatched to a suspected car bomb. And it quickly becomes clear to him that they are dealing with an unusual mastermind—one whose intended target seems to be the Bomb Squad itself.

As the shadowy organization sponsoring this campaign of violence puts increasing pressure on the bomb maker, and Stahl becomes dangerously entangled with a member of his own team, the fuse on this high-stakes plot only burns faster. The Bomb Maker is Thomas Perry’s biggest, most unstoppable thriller yet.


Editorial Reviews


Praise for The Bomb Maker:

One of Entertainment Weekly’s 50 most anticipated books of 2018

One of Lisa Levy’s 5 crime must-reads for January (Literary Hub)

An Amazon best book of the month in the Mysteries & Thrillers category

“Mr. Perry, in this first-rate thriller, proves as cagy as his criminal mastermind: The reader rarely anticipates his next move. He balances breathtaking suspense with romantic intrigue.”―Tom Nolan, Wall Street Journal

“The intense thrills of Thomas Perry’s The Bomb Maker are almost unbearable.”―Marilyn Stasio, New York Times Book Review

“Perry’s latest thriller promises to be twisty, timely, and pulse-pounding: It explores how a mind and a culture transform a simple machine into an act of murder.”Entertainment Weekly, “50 most anticipated books of 2018”

“Plenty of character, plenty of emotion, plenty of insider expertise, but most of all plenty of irresistible momentum toward a fantastic climax―in other words, The Bomb Maker is typical Thomas Perry.”―Lee Child, #1 bestselling author of the Jack Reacher series

“Perry is a prolific and talented fiction writer . . . The Bomb Maker, and Perry’s seamless plotting and beautifully freighted characterizations, will win awards and be a keeper you want to read again and again.”―Jeffrey Mannix, Durango Telegraph

“A thoroughly engrossing thriller, as well as a lesson in explosives.”―Lisa Levy, Literary Hub, “5 crime must-reads for January”

“Thomas Perry, who has demonstrated time and time again over the course of a 35-year career that he is incapable of writing badly, pulls out whatever (invisible) stops he may have had and lets it all flow on this one . . . Once you start reading, you won’t be able to stop . . . This is a masterwork by an author who always delivers more than is required or expected.” ―Joe Hartlaub, Bookreporter

“An explosive (pun intended) new book from an old pro. Thomas Perry has skillfully captured the super stressful world of the LAPD Bomb Squad, and gotten deep into the head of a mad bomber. This is the ultimate cat-and-mouse game, a story so tense and riveting that you’ll find yourself holding your breath as the timer ticks off the seconds. The Bomb Maker is a unique achievement, a wonderful mix of psychological thriller and high-tech entertainment. Perry always delivers.”―Nelson DeMille, bestselling author of The Cuban Affair and Gold Coast

“A brilliant novel! The Bomb Maker moves from first page to last like, yes, a ticking improvised explosive device. But it’s more than a book that sets a new standard for page turner; rarely have we seen such a searing look into the mind of a very particular―and particularly fascinating―type of evil. And then, of course, Perry has given us lucky readers the inimitable Dick Stahl. What a hero for our time!”―Jeffery Deaver, #1 bestselling author of The Burial Hour and the Lincoln Rhyme series

“Perry provides a hero worth caring about, a villain who keeps one step ahead of him, and a supporting cast designed to keep up the nerve-shredding suspense.”Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Perry is a master of plotting and he ratchets up the suspense so tightly that I read this book in one 12-hour run. Most readers know him from his Jane Whitefield ‘disappeared’ series. His thrillers, of which this is one of the best, are even better.”Globe and Mail (Toronto)

“A very detailed and fascinating look into the lives of the people who disarm explosives at a daily risk to their lives . . . a real page-turner . . . A new Thomas Perry novel usually arrives in the dead of winter and it never fails to provide rays of sunshine and cheers me up immeasurably.”Deadly Pleasures

“A gripping, clock-ticking plot, awash in fascinating details about bomb making and detection.”―Bill Ott, Booklist

Top customer reviews

Paper or Kindle
Fans of the author will recognize many of his techniques, but this book is somewhat different from his others. For one thing, the eponymous villain isn’t identified by name, and the reader never learns what makes him tick. He simply exists, a sociopath who loves bombs and wants to kill. This makes the book more chilling, because the villain is so soulless. The hero is a former soldier and bomb expert, and has no problem killing, either – except he’s on the side of the good guys. A lot of the book is a ratcheting of tension as the bomb maker and the bomb expert race to outwit each other. The author tells the reader more about bombs than anyone could possibly want to know, and that is also chilling. In this world, knowing how cleverly these weapons can be hidden and detonated, and what they can do, is more than frightening. The thrills are escalated as the bomb expert realizes there’s more than just one person he must defeat. The only thing not brought out in the book, which is worth mentioning because so many of the characters are exposed to blasts, is that there is a type of traumatic brain injury associated with these shock waves. It’s similar to concussions and causes similar damage. If you’ve never read anything by Thomas Perry before, I’m not sure this is the best place to begin, because the book is different from his others. There are no touches of humor and very little personalization of characters. It’s all about the plot and techniques.
Toshiyuki T.
The anonymous bomb maker does not raise any empathy toward his causes whatever they may be. The man who thwarts the bomb maker’s efforts. Dick Stahl, is, like many heroes who does things appropriately, a super hero. Hence it becomes a bit boring to have a super hero who will always come on top to know the outcome from the beginning although the thrill of how Stahl outwits the bomber is entertaining. Politicians are, once again, shown to be witless. Good action sequences and much violence but for what end other than entertainment.
Howard Mandel
I’ve read all Thomas Perry’s books, enjoying the meticulous craft he celebrates in his heroes and often his villains, as well as his own in plotting intricate, engaging plots. The Butcher Boy and Sleeping Dogs are his masterpieces, imho. The Bomb Maker is an especially good thriller, setting up exceptionally high stakes from its beginning and complicating them with every turn of the page. The intricacies of making bombs are not usually of interest to me, but they were here, and did not slow the pace whatsoever — the novel can easily be read in one sitting (airplanes, I’m thinking of you). But often Perry’s books end suddenly. It’s not that loose threads are left hanging, but rather that he abandons the implications and characters when the mechanics are complete. I found myself with investments in some of the who’s and why’s of this book that Perry’s ending did not resolve. By the implicit rules of the genre game, the story was neatly tied up, but as a believer that hard-boiled mysteries and noir fiction are literature, too, I wanted a bit more.

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