Having finished several wonderful but more challenging books in the last couple weeks, The Hidden Life of Trees, Lincoln in the Bardo, Citizen, I thought it was time to chill and read something just for fun. I lucked out.
The man we know as “Peter Caldwell” is not really Peter Caldwell. Rather he’s a man seriously wanted by several people and agencies of the Federal government. Many years ago he did something very illegal in Arab American relations and he’s been on the run ever since. On the run with a lot of money.
The Old Man
by Thomas Perry
2017 / 352 pages
read by Peter Berkrot 11h 13m
Rating: B+ / crime
The book opens with Peter killing someone who has apparently found him after which Peter leaves the area to set up housekeeping in Chicago. He travels with his dogs, Dave and Carol. In Chigago he moves into a situation of sharing a rental with Zoe, a very nice divorced middle-aged woman, and the two of them start a relationship. His daughter will not know where he is but has to simply trust he’s okay until told otherwise – he contacts her in various ways.
Peter is a very good guy but he has an agenda and needs Zoe, and her daughter, to trust him on a fairly high level. He’s also very suspicious and alert, almost to the point of paranoia, and has his ID and financial accounts in order to escape if necessary – and it was. His daughter never knows where he is. He’s off the grid and has to stay there. Zoe makes it pretty easy but that’s rather risky on several levels.
It makes for some fascinating reading to watch a man in hiding stay in hiding. He covers his trail, keeps himself safe, stays low on anyone’s radar – along with Zoe now.
The other major character in the book is a young black man named Julian Carson. He’s working under independent contract with the military to bring “Peter” in. He’s kind of trapped into the situation of having to do this so the reader gets to know Julian to the point of sympathizing with him. It’s an odd alternating chapter effect in which the opponents are both anti-heros. Very tense.
Overall it was great but the ending was a bit disappointing – kind of clichéd.