#PULPMONDAY celebrates the work of Thomas Perry, whose first novel, The Butcher’s Boy (1982) came out with a classy cover. No overt sex appeal—though there’s an intense and memorable sex scene designer Dick Adelson could have used. No hot colors; the gold background is not very pulpy and neither is the serif typeface. You’d think it was a literary novel if not for the reticle that fills the space inside the “O” in “boy.”
If you’re not familiar with Perry’s work, there’s a nice intro to the plots and characters from Ethan Iverson. The thread running through almost all of Perry’s work is identity. On the surface, he focuses on how to manufacture, obtain, and use the documents needed to establish a new, fake identity: Criminals need them when they get in trouble. Victims need them to hide from criminals and other creeps. Bad guys, of course, understand the technology and the process, and use it to pursue their victims. And the good guys—cops and “guides”—use it to help protect the victims. There are a lot of permutations, which works out to 22 great novels and counting.
What makes these books so compelling is that Perry’s characters start as outsiders and have to learn to become insiders. Which is the opposite of what happens in most stories we read and watch today. But that’s going to require more explanation than I can give on Pulp Monday. I’ll just end by saying my favorite Thomas Perry novel is Dead Aim. But pick up any of them; they’re all great reads.