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Fever: A Nameless Detective Novel (Thorndike Mystery) Hardcover – Large Print, September 1, 2008
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|Hardcover, Large Print, September 1, 2008||
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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.Â This insightful novel will appeal to those who like the mean streets portrayed with understatement and subtlety rather than gory violence. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
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.
Runyon's next client is Rose Youngblood, a widowed black woman in her fifties who works in a college admissions office and is active in her church and community. Rose wants the agency to find out why her twenty-six year old son, Brian, has suddenly undergone a radical personality change. She insists that Brian always had good values, held down a steady job, and seemed to have a bright future. Recently, he has begun to behave secretively and is frequently agitated. Furthermore, someone beat him up badly and he stubbornly refuses to identify the perpetrator. After looking into Brian's finances, Runyon learns that the young man has gone deeply into in debt. What caused Brian's abrupt transformation?
Jake's life is further complicated by an encounter with a deformed woman who hides half her face with a scarf. He rescues her from some teenaged bullies and subsequently looks into her good eye and sees something that makes him empathize with her: pain "raw and naked, the kind that goes marrow-deep, soul deep." Jake wants to get to know this woman better; connecting with someone who understands suffering as he does might help him heal his own wounds.
Bill Pronzini has a smooth, no-frills writing style marked by sharply-written dialogue and changes in point of view (first person when Bill is speaking, third person in Tamara and Jake's chapters). Pronzini knows San Francisco intimately, and during the many interviews that he and his colleagues conduct in various parts of the city, he brings the people and streets of San Francisco to vibrant life. This is not a feel-good novel. As the detectives close in on the answers they seek, they make some shocking discoveries. "Fever" is a gritty and horrifying look at the inexplicable obsessions that overtake people, with tragic results.