I approached this book with some trepidation as it was recommended by my mother-in-law; however she picked a winner with this series' inaugural effort from Thomas Perry. "Vanishing Act" features a female protagonist, a Native American of Seneca descent named Jane Whitefield whose occupation is helping people in desperate situations to disappear (sort of an unsanctioned witness protection program). While aiding a new client she makes a strategic miscalculation that results in disaster for a prior client and an associate and launches her on a perilous journey to set things right. Set predominantly in upstate NY it offers a great backdrop for a game of cat and mouse. Having spent three years of my life stationed in the Adirondack Mountain area made it perhaps more intersting for me as I was familiar with many of the locations. My edition of this novel states "A Novel of Suspense" which in this case is not just hyperbole; Perry keeps things moving swiftly and the pages turning.
Reading some of the 1 & 2 star reviews it appears that some had trouble with the volume of Native American lore that sometimes seems intrusive and derails the narrative. I can't completely disagree but found it was interesting more often than not rather than a distraction. Clearly Jane's Native American heritage is a key part of her character and it's going to play a role in the following 7 books in the series so if it's not your thing probably best to read elsewhere. I know going in if I read a Tony Hillerman mystery it's going to include Native American lore and spiritualism as part of the story. Also Craig Johnson's popular "Longmire" series includes plenty of Indian legend and Sherrif Walt Longmire (a white guy) frequently communes with the spirit world (more than Jane does when she's 'visited' by her dead mother and father).
The pacing and frequent travel of characters reminded me of early Robert Ludlum thrillers which keeps the reader on their toes and helps to keep you from getting too comfortable with what's happening. There are a few errors that Jane makes that seem dubious for a 'professional' of her experience that will induce some eye rolling. Once in awhile Perry stumbles and thing's are confusing for a page or two but quickly sort themselves out. In summary "Vanishing Act" is a great freshman effort with a strong, appealing heroine and I've already ordered the next two books in the series.