From Publishers Weekly
The 30th outing for Pronzini's legendary Nameless Detective (after 2005's Nightcrawlers
) exhibits many of the strengths of his earlier adventures. Unfortunately, it also suffers from some of the diffuse softness of recent books about the San Francisco PI, especially when it dwells on the private lives of Nameless and his two colleagues. The Nameless books of old were noteworthy for their compressed sadness and anger and for the sharpness of their hero's tradecraft. Those qualities are present to some degree in Nameless's current case involving a wealthy financial consultant, James Troxell, who suddenly starts attending the funerals of women, all strangers who died violently. And Shamus-winner Pronzini can still whip up a descriptive storm in just a few words. "The Good Life, with all its attendant perks," Nameless muses on a visit to Troxell's expensive home. "Unless possibly, for some private reason, you were starting to come apart at the seams." That's the Nameless we know and love, not the sitcom father and baffled husband he's too often seen as here. (Mar.)
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When Nameless made his assistant, Tamara, a partner in his detective agency and hired Jake, a new operative, he genuinely felt he was moving toward retirement. But business has increased, and Nameless finds himself reluctant to give up the work that has defined him for so long, even though he has recently become a husband and father. His current case involves a wealthy financial planner who attends the funerals of strangers, walks deserted beaches at night, and makes solitary visits to a secret rental apartment. His wife is worried and hires the firm to investigate. While tailing the subject, Jake, the new operative, meets a young woman with a startling resemblance to his late wife. She is mourning her sister, the victim of an unknown killer. Meanwhile Tamara is licking her wounds after getting dumped by her longtime lover, and Nameless doesn't understand his wife's aloofness toward him and their daughter. Pronzini's series becomes more layered and complex with each entry. This time the primary characters are all in one stage or another of mourning, but the only one who recognizes it is the initial subject of the investigation. He is also the only one who understands the timeless omnipresence of grief. It may fade into the shadows, but it never leaves, dogging one's every step. A dark, foreboding entry in a classic series. Wes LukowskyCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved