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The Snatch Paperback – April, 1984

19 customer reviews
Book 1 of 35 in the Nameless Detective Series

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Paperback, April, 1984
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Bill Pronzini is simply one of the masters. He seems to have taken a crack at just about every genre: mysteries, noirish thrillers, historicals, locked-room mysteries, adventure novels, spy capers, men's action, westerns, and, of course, his masterful, long-running Nameless private detective series, now entering its fourth decade, with no signs of creative flagging. He's also ghosted several Brett Halliday short stories as Michael Shayne for Mike Shayne's Mystery Magazine, and has managed to collaborate with such fellow writers as John Lutz, Barry Wahlberg, Collin Wilcox and Marcia Muller. Still, if he never ventured into fiction writing, his non-fiction work, as both writer and editor, would still earn him a place in the P.I. genre's Hall of Fame. Besides his two tributes to some of the very worst in crime fiction (what he calls "alternative classics"), Gun in Cheek and Son of Gun in Cheek, and one on western fiction (entitled Six Gun in Cheek, naturally), he's the co-author (with Marcia Muller) of 1001 Midnights. The Mystery Writers of America have nominated him for Edgar Awards several times and his work has been translated into numerous languages and he's published in almost thirty countries. He was the very first president of the Private Eye Writers of America, and he's received three Shamus Awards from them, as well as its Lifetime Achievement Award in 1987. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Backcountry Pubns; Reissue edition (April 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0881500216
  • ISBN-13: 978-0881500219
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.2 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,703,035 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 19, 2003
Format: Hardcover
In 1971, author Bill Pronzini was only 27 when he wrote The Snatch, building on a shorter and different version of the story that appeared in the May 1969 issue of Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine under the same title. With the publication of this book, one of detective fiction's great characters was born with full fledged power and authenticity. If you have not yet read the Nameless Detective novels by Mr. Pronzini, you have a major treat ahead of you. Many of these are now out-of-print, so be sure to check your library for holdings in near-by cities.
The Nameless Detective is referred to that way because Mr. Pronzini never supplies a name until late in the series. I won't reveal that name here.
Mr. Pronzini presents a world in which many men take evil actions to further selfish interests, and many women and children suffer because of that selfishness. The police and private investigators suffer along with the victims, for evil-doing has painful consequences for everyone. Mr. Pronzini's plots are complex, yet he provides plenty of clues to help you identify the evil-doer on your own. Despite the transparency of many plots, he successfully uses plot complications to keep the action interesting and fresh.
But the reason to read the books is because of the character development for the Nameless Detective. Nameless is a former police officer in San Francisco who collects pulp fiction about tough private detectives. Drawn to the complex imagery of the strong, silent hero who rights wrongs, Nameless tries to live that role. But he has trouble getting clients, and operating as a one-man shop causes him to lead a lonely existence. In his personal life, his career keeps women at a distance. Like a medieval knight errant, he sticks to his vows and pursues doing the right thing .
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Ricky N. on September 20, 2000
Format: Paperback
"The Snatch" is the first Nameless Detective mystery, even though the series doesn't become known as the "Nameless Detective" series until some time later. Gary Martinetti, son of wealthy Louis Martinetti, is kidnapped. The kidnapper leaves a message that the ransom money of $300,000 be delivered by a third party. Martinetti hires Nameless to be the third party. When the next call comes Nameless takes the money and drives to an isolated spot where he is supposed to make the drop. As he leaves, he hears a terrible cry, goes back and finds a man, Paul Lockridge, murdered. Someone had also taken the ransom money. Nameless' mission is twofold; he must find Lockridge's murderer and find Gary Martinetti before it is too late. Pronzini is a master of suspense, and even though this is the first novel in the series (written in 1971), the plot is strong. No one can put the reader at the scenes with the detective like Bill Pronzini. I believe he is the best writer of mystery fiction working today.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By L. J. Roberts VINE VOICE on October 8, 2007
Format: Paperback
First Sentence: Tamarack Drive was one of these oak- and elm- and eucalyptus-shaded affairs that are supposed to make you think of rustic country lanes.

"Nameless" is hired by a financial speculator whose son has been kidnapped. This job, deliver the $300,000 ransom. This supposedly simple task leads to a murdered man and 27 stitches for our detective. Now he's investigating who kidnapped the boy in the first place. To complicate his life, "Nameless'" lady love has issued an ultimatum for his to choose between her and his job.

Although he had written several short stories, it's fun to go back and read the second full book by Pronzini, and the first in the "Nameless" series. It was interesting to see how Pronzini created the character, fully developed but without taking a lot of the story to so do. There is a particular section toward the end which explains why being a PI is so important to the character. One of Pronzini's great strengths is his ear for dialogue. The plot is quite good and even though I suspected the villain, I enjoyed watching the investigation unfold and I completely missed one of the clues that brought the investigation to it's conclusion. It is interesting to read a book set in a time when people had answering services and had to look for a pay phone, and the cars included a Plymouth Valiant and a Chevy Corviar, but that only added richness to the story. Even with this early book, it is clear to see why Pronzini is one of the masters of the detective genre.
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By col2910 on March 21, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
A San Francisco private detective becomes involved in a kidnapping case when a young boy's abductor demands that a third party deliver the ransom.
The Snatch, originally published back in 1971 is the first in Bill Pronzini's Nameless Detective series. Pronzini has to date written a total of 37 books with a couple of Nameless mysteries published as recently as last year.
Several times over the years, I've toyed with the idea of dipping into the series but have always suppressed the urge until now. Part of the attraction for me was the fact that the series never seemed to take off and explode into mainstream consciousness. It sort of meandered along, ignored by the masses, but seemingly attracting enough readers to warrant the author continuing with the character and the publisher continuing to print the results of his labour. The restaurant serving the best food isn't always the most popular one in town, sometimes it's a well kept secret.
In The Snatch, Nameless is retained by Louis Martinetti, a real-estate developer whose young son has been kidnapped. Nameless is the errand boy engaged to drop off the ransom. The money drop is hijacked and Nameless gets stabbed during the melee. With the suspected kidnapper killed, the money gone and the boy still missing, Nameless, with the police now involved digs deeper to resolve who amongst Martinetti's associates could have engineered the abduction.
Coincidentally the last book I just read, Randy Wayne White's Sanibel Flats also concerned a boy's kidnapping. This time around there's a darker feel to the mystery, in part driven by the location, with the action unfolding in the foggy, bay area of San Francisco; and partly stemming from Nameless himself......a middle-aged, ex-cop, with few friends.
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