Cover image for The bomb maker : a novel / Thomas Perry.
The bomb maker : a novel / Thomas Perry.
First edition.

First Grove Atlantic hardcover edition.
Publication Information:
New York, NY : The Mysterious Press, 2018.

Physical Description:
372 pages ; 24 cm
"A threat is called into the LAPD Bomb Squad, a team dispatched to a house whose owner is away, and a bomb disguised inside photography equipment exploded in the kitchen. But it is a second bomb hidden in the basement that has devastating consequences--half of the entire Bomb Squad is obliterated within seconds. The fragmented unit turns to Dick Stahl, a former Bomb Squad commander who now operates his own private security company. Having just returned from a grueling job in Mexico, Stahl is reluctant to accept the offer, but senior technicians he had trained were among those killed. On his first day back at the head of the squad, Stahl's team is dispatched to a suspected car bomb outside a gas station. It quickly becomes clear to him that they are dealing with the same mastermind behind the weapon that killed fourteen highly trained men and women barely twenty-four hours before--and that the intended target may be the Bomb Squad itself."-- Provided by publisher.


Library Branch
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
1 Bob Harkins Branch PER Book Adult Mystery / Suspense Fiction

On Order



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.

Author Notes

Thomas Perry was born in Tonawanda, New York, in 1947. He graduated from Cornell University in 1969 and earned a Ph. D. in English Literature from the University of Rochester in 1974.

Perry's novels, successful both critically and with the public, are suspenseful as well as comic. Butcher's Boy received an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for Best First Novel in 1983, and another one of his novels has been adapted in the movie, The Guide (1999). His other novels include: Death Benefits, Nightlife, Fidelity, and Strip.

(Bowker Author Biography) Won an Edgar for The Butcher's Boy, and Metzger's Dog was a New Yor Times Notable book of the Year. Vanishing Act was chosen as one of the 100 Favorite Mysteries of the century by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association. Perry's other works include: Death Benefits, The Face Changers, Shadow Woman, Dance for the Dead, and Blood Money. He lives in Southern California with his wife and two daughters.

(Publisher Provided)

Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

An unnamed bomber wreaks havoc in this exciting if frustrating thriller from bestseller Perry (The Old Man). When a large cache of explosives blows up under a Los Angeles house, killing the 14 members of the LAPD Bomb Squad at the scene, Dick Stahl, a former bomb squad captain, takes over the squad on a temporary basis. On his first day, Stahl and his team must deal with an intricate car bomb, which he leads them in disarming. That evening, Sgt. Diane Hines, who drove Stahl to the site of the car bomb, arrives at his condo, where the two begin a relationship that grows over the course of the book. The detailed descriptions of the bomb maker's devices and Stahl's methods to disarm them are fascinating, but Perry puts considerably less effort into developing his characters. Stahl is annoyingly perfect, and his subordinates, who never attain his expertise, suffer in their careers as a consequence. The motives of the bomb maker and his mysterious backers remain vague. Still, action junkies will be rewarded. Agent: Mel Berger, WME. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

New York Review of Books Review

WHEN A character in a crime novel snaps and kills a child, it's usually a mother stressed beyond endurance. In Leila Slimani's unnerving cautionary tale, THE PERFECT NANNY (Penguin, paper, $16), subtly translated by Sam Taylor, we know from the outset that it's a beloved and trusted nanny who murders the two children in her care. That's pretty radical for a domestic thriller; but what's more remarkable about this unconventional novel (which was awarded France's prestigious Prix Goncourt) is the author's intimate analysis of the special relationship between a mother and a nanny. Myriam and Paul, the Parisian couple who hire Louise to help care for their son and daughter, are delighted to discover that she's "a miracle worker" who cleans, reorganizes the household and even cooks delicious meals. "Nothing rots, nothing expires" in Louise's kitchen. At first, they bask in their unexpected comfort, "like spoiled children, like purring cats." Much too late, Myriam realizes that the new nanny may not be entirely benevolent: "She is Vishnu, the nurturing divinity, jealous and protective." But already Louise "has embedded herself so deeply in their lives that it now seems impossible to remove her." Despite Myriam's fears, Louise has no intention of replacing her as the woman of the house; rather, in her pathological loneliness, the nanny increasingly fantasizes that she has become a de facto member of the family. Slimani writes devastatingly perceptive character studies. Dropping their children at day care, the mothers are "rushed and sad," the children "little tyrants." She also raises painful questions. Could Myriam be projecting onto her nanny her own forbidden desire to be free of her children and their insatiable needs? ("They're eating me alive," she thinks.) Is there an element of racial prejudice in the Moroccanborn Myriam's attitude toward her French nanny? Is Louise's pitiless act the transference of her forbidden feelings about her privileged employer? One thing is clear: Loneliness can drive you crazy, and extreme loneliness can make you homicidal. THE INTENSE thrills of Thomas Perry's THE BOMB MAKER (Mysterious Press, $26) are almost unbearable. After sweating through a scene in which a member of the Los Angeles Police Department Bomb Squad narrowly escapes a lethal explosion, we're knocked back by the loss of 14 team technicians - half the squad - who are blown to smithereens. "Bombs were acts of murder," Perry writes, but "they were also jokes on you, riddles the bomber hoped were too tough for you." Dick Stahl, who steps in to head the depleted squad, doesn't get the joke, but he goes mano a mano with the abominable riddler, whose clear intention is to destroy those who respond to his devilishly clever booby traps. There seems to be no pattern to the placement of these "welldesigned, insidious and psychologically astute" devices, which turn up at a gas station, a school cafeteria and a hospital ward. Before they go off, the tension is killing. And when they do, the damage is spectacular. DRIVING UP AND DOWN Utah's desolate Route 117 with the trucker Ben Jones is an education. LULLABY ROAD (Crown, $26), James Anderson's second novel (after "The Never-Open Desert Diner"), introduces us to more of the "desert rats, hardscrabble ranchers and other assorted exiles" who choose to live off the grid and depend on Ben's Desert Moon Delivery Service for food and water and the occasional luxury, like soap. Some of Ben's customers are deep thinkers like Roy Cuthbert, who suggests holding Second Amendment Days ("with a huge gun show and fast-draw competition") to save the town of Rockmuse from sinking into the desert sands. Other, more desperate people, like Pedro, the tire man at the Stop 'n' Gone Truck Stop, trust him to transport a small child and a large dog in his 28-foot tractortrailer rig. Ben is nothing if not a decent man, and Anderson rewards him with a deadly adventure and the most poetic prose this side of Salt Lake City. KAREN ELLIS'S A MAP OF THE DARK (Mulholland/Little, Brown, $26) is a valiant, if unsuccessful attempt to contain an intensely personal narrative within the structure of a traditional police procedural. Special Agent Elsa Myers of the F.B.I.'s Child Abduction Rapid Deployment division is assigned to the case of 17-year-old Ruby Haverstock, who went missing after finishing her shift at a cafe in Queens. Even from the little we learn about her, Ruby seems like a clever, resourceful girl. (As her kidnapper drags her off to a cave in the woods, she drops several rings to create a trail of clues.) For some reason that isn't made clear, this particular case awakens Myers's memories of mistreatment at the hands of her unstable and abusive mother. That may shed some light on the agent's secret habit of cutting herself with the Swiss Army knife she keeps with her at all times. ("The puncture of metal, the breaking of skin, comes with a rush of sensation that assures you that you are real after all.") But it doesn't begin to explain how she can cut herself until she bleeds and still handle such a demanding and dangerous job. Marilyn STASIO has covered crime fiction for the Book Review since 1988. Her column appears twice a month.

Library Journal Review

When half of the entire LAPD bomb squad is killed in a booby-trapped house, it is clear that someone is targeting the group. The authorities call in Dick Stahl, former soldier, cop, and retired bomb squad leader, to train replacements and hunt the killer. He manages to defuse several devices, frustrating the bomber, who kills occasionally just to keep in practice. The culprit is financed by a shadowy terrorist group and is constantly devising new explosives and methods of delivery. Stahl gets involved with a female squad member and is forced to resign, but he continues as a consultant even as the bombmaker gets more desperate. Things naturally build to an explosive climax in this tale filled with extensive bomb details and nerve-wracking suspense. And while the terrorist element seems strained and the ending a bit melodramatic, Perry (The Old Man) is a pro, this action-filled novel certainly supporting his considerable reputation. VERDICT In -Perry's 25th thriller, the Edgar Award-winning author deftly and clearly explains topics unfamiliar to most readers while keeping the plot roaring along.-Roland Person, -formerly with Southern Illinois Univ. Lib., Carbondale © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



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. Excerpted from The Bomb Maker by Thomas Perry All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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