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Nemesis (Nameless Detective Novels) Hardcover – July 9, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Verity Daniels recently inherited a considerable sum and decides to live the good life in San Francisco. But life isn’t all sunshine and lollipops. Someone is threatening to harm her unless she gives them $10,000. She’s distrustful of the police so she hires Nameless’ detective agency to deal with the threat. With Bill, the agency owner, on temporary leave to deal with the recent trauma his wife experienced (Hellbox, 2012), the case falls to Jake Runyon. The client seems more flirty than terrified, and Jake proceeds warily. A couple of aborted money drops later, Jake finally abandons the case after he rebuffs Daniels’ aggressive sexual advances. She sues, alleging he was the aggressor. As annoying as lawsuits can be, they don’t compare to a murder charge, which is what Runyon faces after Daniels is found dead with a button from Jake’s sport coat clenched in her fist. Bill swings out of partial retirement, and Tamara, the office manager and Internet whiz, shifts into overdrive to help their beleaguered colleague. What they find is a string of embittered former lovers and a fiancéwho likely committed suicide rather than deal with Daniels’ wrath. There isn’t a significant award for crime fiction that Pronzini hasn’t won, and this is a fine sample of his work. His core of protagonists continues to evolve, his plotting is always masterful, and his shifting narrative viewpoints add additional context to the work. Never, ever miss a Nameless case. --Wes Lukowsky


“Can doing first-rate work as consistently as Pronzini really be as effortless as he makes it seem?” ―Kirkus Reviews, starred review on Camouflage

“The Nameless series continues to be a wonder of great plotting, long-term character development, and insight into the chilling banality of evil.” ―Booklist, starred review on Camouflage

“Pronzini is a pro at PI fiction: he never cheats on the reader, respecting the conventions of the hard-boiled detective stories and puzzle mysteries he employs so well.” ―Library Journal on Schemers

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Product Details

  • Series: Nameless Detective Novels (Book 40)
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Forge Books; First Edition edition (July 9, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765325667
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765325662
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.1 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #832,279 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mel Odom VINE VOICE on July 9, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Nemesis is Bill Pronzini's 38th Nameless novel, and it marks 35 years that the fictional private eye has been on the bookshelves and in the hearts of mystery lovers.

I read the first book, The Snatch, when it came out in paperback back in 1971. I was 13 years old at the time and I was disappointed that Nameless wasn't as action-packed as Raymond Chandler, Lew Archer, and Travis McGee, but there was something endearing and enduring about the character. In the beginning I loved the mentions of the old pulps Nameless collected, which hardly gets mentioned at all these days, because I was reading my share of Doc Savage and The Shadow at the time too. I was still learning about those old magazines, and I soaked up every bit of knowledge I could.

As I grew older, though, I kept reading the Nameless books, still drawn to the character for shifting reasons. Strangely enough, I began to grow old enough to understand him and his world, and finally am old enough to truly appreciate all that he's been through and all that he's seen. Picking up a Nameless novel is like sitting down over coffee with a dear friend you seldom see (only once a year for the most part).

Nemesis comes on the heels of Hellbox, last year's offering. A year has passed in the real world, but only months have passed for Nameless and Kerry and the rest of his crew. Everyone is still dealing with fallout from Kerry's kidnapping.

This book strikes really close to home on several fronts. While Nameless and Kerry try to get back to some semblance of normality, Runyon is dealing with a fading romance and Tamara has an old lover easing back into her life. These ongoing problems (not resolved in this book) are part of what makes this series so organic.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By iBeth on July 21, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
You can't go wrong with a Nameless Detective book, or with any book by Bill Pronzini for that matter. So glad he hasn't retired the series, because it's still great.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By clm on July 31, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The plot was a bit thin, and it was really too fast of a read to get 5 stars. Still, Pronzini is a good enough writer that I can give it 4 stars. But what stayed with me was the end -- say it ain't so! Sounds like Nameless is retiring. Pronzini has aged his protagonist appropriately as his novels have been published, so it does make sense. But still...maybe we'll see him make cameo appearances in stories that focus on the others in the agency. I think Jake Runyon can fill his shoes.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on July 29, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Bill Pronzini has won every award a mystery author can win and deservedly so. He is such a graceful, seamless writer that you can miss a few entries of his most famous series featuring the Nameless detective, but then pick up his latest novel and fall right back into loving it. NEMESISis the 37th installment in the series, which also includes three short story collections and a few novellas. While Nameless might be aging with the rest of us, Pronzini is still at the top of his game.

Nameless, a San Francisco detective, first appeared in 1971's THE SNATCH. Pronzini was obviously paying tribute to another San Francisco writer and the father of noir fiction, Dashiell Hammett, who wrote short stories for Black Mask magazine featuring a nameless "Continental Op" detective. Try writing over three-dozen novels about a lead character in the first person without ever once using a name, and you will see how impossible that is. So long ago, fans of the Pronzini series found out that the ace detective's name is Bill, but as far as I can tell, there is still no last name.

It doesn't matter. The series works because of Pronzini's great writing ability. But it also works because Nameless is such a well-rounded, fully developed character that we cannot help but enjoy spending time with him. Like the rest of us, he has aged in real time, so he is no superhero like Robert B. Parker's ageless Spenser. As Bill has grown older, the series cast has expanded to include his partner in the agency --- computer whiz Tamara, a young, sassy African-American woman, and damaged investigator Jake Runyon, who is a younger version of Nameless. Each book now is told in three parts from the point of view of each of them, with Tamara and Jake in the third person.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Patrick on August 12, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The latest Nameless Detective novel by Bill Pronzini picks up a few months after the events of "Hellbox", last year's instalment. If you've read "Hellbox", you'll know that Nameless' wife Kerry went through a traumatic ordeal that mirrored Nameless' own predicament in "Shackles". The event has left Kerry traumatized, and Nameless is just as affected, waking up in the middle of the night from nightmares that bring his own ordeal back most vividly. As a result, Nameless has gone on a more permanent retirement from his detective agency, being involved as more of a consultant now.

This gives control of the agency to Tamara Corbin and Jake Runyon, Nameless' partners. As the new novel, "Nemesis", opens, Jake goes to the home of Verity Daniels. She's a relatively young woman who recently inherited a fortune, but apparently someone has it in for her. This mysterious person has been calling her and making threatening extortion demands. Jake agrees to take the case, but right off the bat something about Verity seems odd. She seems to be in some sort of trouble, and yet she's oddly uncooperative and jeopardizes the whole operation. Jake begins to investigate Verity Daniels more thoroughly, and that's about all I dare reveal about the book.

The only unsurprising twist in Nemesis is the very first one, and it takes Jake Runyon a while to figure it out. To be fair, he berates himself for not having seen it before, but it's the only truly predictable moment, but I don't think it was ever meant to be a major shock. After this point, so much stuff goes wrong and the plot twists and turns constantly. Every time it seems like the worst has happened, something even worse happens. It makes for compelling, exciting reading: I read this book in only two days.
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