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Femme: A "Nameless Detective" Novella Hardcover – August 14, 2013
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Top Customer Reviews
The book is typical "nameless," a hardboiled tale set in a realistic modern world with a detective agency that does insurance investigations and skip traces besides the juicy stuff of mystery novels. Unlike the hardboiled dicks of the movies, these detectives worry about legal niceties like breaking and entering and client privilege.
Being grounded in reality adds to the attraction of this series. FEMME is shorter than most "nameless" works (it's billed as a novella) but it is just as powerful. Mr. Pronzini's novels usually intertwine at least two ongoing cases, since the firm has three operatives and an all purpose secretary. In this case the sole focus is on Cory Beckett, her borderline psychotic brother, her rich lover Andrew Vorhees, and her new lover Frank Chaleen.
As always with Mr. Pronzini, the story moves swiftly. The characters are well drawn but never bog down the action. And the powerful ending always gives a few unexpected twists.
It remains for Jake Runyon, Nameless' associate, to find the brother, and when he does, various questions and suspicions arise. It is left for the two private detectives to bring this noir story to a satisfactory conclusion. This is a carefully constructed tale about a seductress, leading up to a rather bizarre conclusion. A fast read, it can be finished in a single sitting. That is not to say, be assured, that it is not a worthwhile read, and it is recommended.
As the story progresses it comes out that Kenneth has been accused of stealing a twenty-k diamond necklace from the rich Margaret Vorhees. Margaret is the wife of the powerful, double-dealing, and sleazy, labor-leader Andrew Vorhees, who's also having an affair with the equally double-dealing, and sleazy Cory, who uses sex as weapon. Well, at first it seems that this just another ordinary skiptrace, so Nameless, or Will, as he's referred to here, puts series regular Jake Runyon on the case. And from then on, "Femme" will then become a short novel whose darkening story will be told from Nameless' and Jake's viewpoints in alternating chapters.
Well, it seems that the weak-willed Kenneth is not that hard to trace, and when he's found, of course he tells a different story than the one that his sister has spun.
This book being what it is, things will start to get really complicated, as soon there will be double-crosses, dark secrets, really dark secrets, bad behavior, infidelity, jealousy, and murder. Pronzini does it all in "Femme", and he does it all very well indeed.
I really don't know when only four or five hundred page doorstoppers became considered novels, but, in reality, this novel really isn't any longer than an old Ace Double, or an old Carter Brown novel, and in my opinion, it's just the right length. "Femme" never wears out its welcome, it tells its story, and then ends having done its job, and having done it well.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I enjoyed reading this book. It was easy to read and kept me flowing and going right through it. I like this author and I'm now reading some more of his books. Read morePublished on July 20, 2013 by maggie
I'm a "nameless" fan going all the way back. This is a fair nameless story, but it should not have been marketed as a stand-alone hardcover book. Read morePublished on February 2, 2013 by James Wm Roberts