“The Bomb Maker” is the first novel I read from Thomas Perry. Without much expectation, it surprised me. The novel reminded me about movies like “The Hurt Locker” and Andy Lau’s “Shock Wave” (Hong Kong). There were a number of intense moments in disarming the bombs. The book itself can easily be adapted as a Hollywood movie.
After half of the bomb squad members were killed in a bomb trap set up by the bomb maker, the retired captain Dick Stahl was called back to lead the team. It seemed only Dick could read the bomb maker’s mind and defused his bombs one by one successfully. Dick soon developed a relationship with a female bomb squad member – Diane Hines.
As Diane had blocked one of the bomb maker’s attacks, he planted a bomb at her home. Diane was seriously injured and the bomb maker then threw a fake party and tried to blow up the hospital and kill more squad members – I think it was quite smart. At the same time, the relationship between Dick and Diane was revealed. As this violated the department regulations, Dick was forced to resign.
Another story line is about the bomb maker. Other than placing bombs around the city, he teamed up with a group of terrorists. There were a few chapters about the bomb maker visiting gun shows and purchasing guns for the terrorists – I feel they are unnecessary and just simply there for making up the pages. In turn, the terrorists tried to use the guns they got to kill Dick and Diane. But they failed and that’s how they were exposed.
Unlike the book title, Dick Stahl is our hero, not the bomb maker. The bomb maker does not even have a name, there was only a vague description about his life and no explanation about how he became a bomb maker. Worst, the confrontation between Dick and the bomb maker that I was looking forward didn’t happen. Similar to the terrorists, we don’t know who they were and where they came from. And they were far too easy to destroy at the end.
Although the story seemed running out of steam and ended abruptly, the novel is well-researched and includes in-depth technical details in bomb making. Midway through the book, I was fascinated with the idea that what a surprise it would be if Dick Stahl was the bomb maker at the end. Despite the dissatisfied ending and lack of character development, I will definitely check out Thomas Perry’s other novels.