Praise for The Butcher’s Boy

“Brisk energy and confidence in the telling … complicated twists.”

—Sunday Times (London)

“A brilliant suspense thriller, reminiscent of Graham Greene.”

—The Washington Post Book World

“Clever, knowledgeable, inventive and suspenseful.”

—The New York Times

“Thomas Perry has hit the mark his first time out with the skill at storytelling that promises more successes to come.”

—The Houston Chronicle

“Original, clever, intricate.”

—Publishers Weekly

“An ingenious crime thriller.”

—Library Journal

THOMAS PERRY won an Edgar for The Butcher’s Boy, and Metzger’s Dog was a New York Times Notable Book. Perry’s novel Vanishing Act was chosen as one of the 100 Favorite Mysteries of the Century by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association, and his novel Pursuit was a national bestseller. Perry lives in Southern California with his wife and two daughters.


Metzger’s Dog

Big Fish


Sleeping Dogs

Vanishing Act

Dance for the Dead

Shadow Woman

The Face-Changers

Blood Money

Death Benefits


Dead Aim

Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Perry

Introduction copyright © 2003 by Michael Connelly


Michael Connelly

It used to be that the quickest way for me to descend into a creative depression would be for someone to approach me and identify him- or herself as a fan of my work, but to then add the dreadful line “But your first one is still my favorite.”

It didn’t matter if the approach was in person at a bookstore or on the street, or through the U.S. mail or the Internet. I always took it very badly, and the compliment would serve to make me question what I was doing. This of course was completely unknown to the cheerful giver of the supposed compliment, because I was always able to maintain a frozen smile or the distance of mail, electronic or otherwise.

There was a time when I would actually respond, hoping to dissuade the reader of his or her own words, saying things like “That’s impossible!” or “You don’t really mean that!” But I soon realized it wasn’t impossible and they did really mean it.

And that is the source of the depression; that’s the rub. Writing, whether you consider it a craft or an art or both, is something that should get better with practice. It stands to reason. Writing comes from experience, curiosity, and knowledge. In short, it comes from life. The writer must improve with age and experience and life. So too the writing. Therefore, if I were to accept the compliment of the reader, wouldn’t I be accepting the decline of my work? As of this writing, I have published twelve novels. If my best work was my first, what am I doing here?

Well, I don’t feel that way anymore. I don’t get depressed. It took me a long time, but I understand something now. First novels are like first loves. They are moments of discovery and celebration of things hopefully to come. They are windows. They carry with them the long reach of promise. Now when readers tell me they still like my first novel the best, I can take the compliment. I don’t argue. I smile and say thank you.

All of this leads me to say that The Butcher’s Boy might be my favorite novel by Thomas Perry. I say might because I am not certain—the man has written several very fine novels. (And of course I don’t want to be responsible for making the author depressed in case he has not made

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