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Fever: A Nameless Detective Novel (Nameless Detective Novels) Hardcover – May 27, 2008

4.8 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews
Book 33 of 35 in the Nameless Detective Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Once again Pronzini, soon to be designated an MWA Grand Master, captures the quiet despair of his characters' lives in the 33rd entry in his noirish whodunit series featuring the Nameless Detective (after 2007's Savages). Mitchell Krochek, who's worried about the gambling addiction of his wife, Janice, hires Nameless to trace Janice, who's disappeared for the fourth time in four years. When Jake Runyon, Nameless's associate, traces Janice to an apartment hotel near their San Francisco office, Nameless and Jake decide to honor Janice's request not to reveal her location to her husband. Later, a battered Janice shows up at the detective agency's office, where she agrees to go home, only to vanish again amid circumstances strongly indicating foul play. In an affecting subplot, Jake investigates the mysterious beating of a devoted churchgoer's son. This insightful novel will appeal to those who like the mean streets portrayed with understatement and subtlety rather than gory violence. (June)
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From Booklist

Pronzini’s Nameless Detective and his San Francisco investigative agency have survived for more than three decades because of a never-ending supply of people who screw up their lives. Nameless used to operate alone but now runs an agency with the varied talents (and narrative points of view) of a twentysomething black woman and a fortysomething ex-cop. Nameless himself, of course, remains the moral center of the agency and the series, as well as the lead narrator. Fever focuses on how one woman’s addiction to internet gambling leads her from her suburban home to a derelict San Francisco rooming house, where she turns tricks to finance her next run at the virtual casino. It also touches on other fevers that can consume people’s lives. Pronzini is justly celebrated as a chronicler of San Francisco, but this novel also showcases his deft touch with interiors—how an unmade bed, the stench of cigarette smoke, or an antiseptically clean and empty home can say volumes about the tail ends of desperate lives. Another Pronzini winner. --Connie Fletcher
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Product Details

  • Series: Nameless Detective Novels (Book 35)
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Forge Books; First Edition edition (May 27, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765318180
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765318183
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.1 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,511,949 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By E. Bukowsky HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 8, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Bill Pronzini's "Fever" is about the compulsions that drive people to the edge--and occasionally straight over. The Nameless Detective (whose first name we now know is Bill) is in his sixties and semi-retired. He runs a San Francisco-based private investigation agency along with his partner, Tamara Corbin. His best investigator is the morose workaholic Jake Runyon, a former cop for the Seattle PD and a man in deep mourning since the death of his beloved wife, Colleen. Known as "Bloodhound Jake," Runyon's "instincts were sharper, his tenacity greater" than anyone Bill has ever encountered; he works long hours to avoid the unbearable loneliness of his empty apartment. Jake and his colleagues will need all of their investigative skills to solve the difficult problems that lie ahead.

The first case involves thirty-three year old Janice Krochek, a high-strung woman who has a history of disappearing repeatedly from her million-dollar Oakland Hills home. Janice's fever is Internet gambling and she's got it bad. Now she has vanished again, and her exasperated and self-centered husband, Mitchell, hires Bill's firm to find her. Jake locates Janice; Bill and Tamara confront her about her high-stakes gambling. In addition, they can't help but notice that in an effort to get her hands on even more money, Janice has come into contact with some extremely sleazy individuals. She refuses to accept the fact that her compulsive gambling is a sickness that needs treatment. To her it's "the sweetest high there is...the action, the excitement...there's nothing else like it." Even though Mitch claims that he wants her to return home, Janice adamantly refuses to come back.
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Format: Paperback
Bill Pronzini's novel, Fever, features his Nameless Detective and partners working on another pair of crimes. This has been Pronzini's format for the series for a while now, and it's really effective. The author concentrates more on telling interesting mysteries against the fabric of real life, and creating organic detective that grow from book to book.

This one starts out interestingly, with Nameless and his partner Tamara picking up the trail of Janice Krochek, a wife gone missing. Jake Runyon, their field operative, has tracked the woman down. I liked the way Pronzini sets up the encounter and explains the laws of tracking down adults. A private eye can't just bag and tag an adult that's willingly gone missing. Adults have the right to disappear and not come home any time they want to.

Janice Krochek's addiction to gambling shows up on page one and maintains the addiction theme of the novel throughout. Normally in a Nameless novel there's a client or someone Nameless meets that deserves rooting on. In Fever, though, Nameless doesn't care much for Janice Krochek or her husband Mitch. However, both of these characters - slaves to their own addictions - are very true to life. Pronzini writes the characters lean and mean, pared to the bone, but the story echoes and provides food for thought.

As soon as Nameless believes he's out of the Janice tracking business, she shows back up at his agency after someone has beaten her up. She claims that her life is in danger. Nameless takes her back to her husband, but it's clear that he's not as happy about having her back as he'd thought he would be.
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Format: Paperback
I started collecting the Nameless series a few years ago. Its a great series with evolving characters not stuck in a place, situation, or time period. "Fever" is comprised of two stories and primarily engages in the lives of three protagonists: Nameless (the detective this series has been following and whom is now sliding into retirement of a sort), Tamara (nameless' partner, Tamara sits in the office and does the computer work while holding the office together), and Jake Runyon (an ex cop who has been in a funk for several years since his second wife died).

One thing thats nice about this series is that from one novel to the next, you will be given different stylistic authorship approaches. Pronzini likes to try his hand at either exploring his own boundaries or those of other authors. Here in "Fever", Pronzini takes a generous helping from the 70's work of Ed McBain and his 87th precinct stories. I say this because McBain would often during this period break his stories into two parts, both of these were very simple small mysteries, and use the pages to explore his characters who would wax philosophically on a myriad of topics.

What you get with Fever, is not a very complicated or hard hitting entry into this series. You will follow the great protagonists from situation to situation as they think about life in general. The story gets its title "fever" from the addiction of one of its hard luck characters who has a gambling 'fever'. An addiction so strong that she would do basically anything to get one more online hand to play with.

Several of Pronzini's books over the last 10 years have consistently been on the extraordinary side of things. I would not mix Fever in with those. And thus I am stripping it of one star. That aside, this is an enjoyable book and I would say the series is alive and well.
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