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Savages: A Nameless Detective Novel ("Nameless" Detective Novels) Hardcover – July 10, 2007

4.4 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews
Book 32 of 35 in the Nameless Detective Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Tight writing and an unromantic portrayal of the work of a PI distinguish Shamus-winner Pronzini's solid 32nd entry in his Nameless Detective series (after 2006's Mourners). Distracted by wife Kerry's bout with breast cancer, Nameless is reluctant to return to work in his San Francisco office, especially when a former client, Celeste Ogden, seeks to retain his services again. Several years earlier, Ogden had hired Nameless to dig into the background of her sister's fiancé, a software mogul named Brandon Mathias, but the gumshoe's close scrutiny failed to uncover anything fishy. Now, Ogden's sister has died in a fall at her home, and Ogden wants Nameless to prove that Mathias killed her. Despite a less engaging subplot in which one of Nameless's associates tracks down an arsonist, this installment is sure to please series fans. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

"Nameless" did a background check on Celeste Ogden's future brother-in-law, Brandon is Mathias, a few years back but was unable to unearth the sinister devil Celeste knew was buried beneath the facade of an urbane, successful businessman. Now her sister, Nancy, is dead, and Celeste is convinced that Brandon is responsible. Even though the police are convinced it was an accidental death--Brandon was supposedly out of town when Nancy took her deadly tumble down the stairs--Celeste prods Nameless into investigating. Meanwhile, Jake Runyon, an operative for Nameless' San Francisco agency, gets tangled up in a brutal murder-arson case while serving a subpoena. This is another solid--if not outstanding--entry in an organic series that is gradually reinventing itself. Through 31 novels over at least 30 years, Nameless has gained a name, a wife, and a daughter; discovered the joy of living; and solved a lot of murders. As much as one can in a series, Pronzini has taken us on a real-time journey through the life of an truly memorable character. Wes Lukowsky
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Series: "Nameless" Detective Novels (Book 34)
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Forge Books; First Edition edition (July 10, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765309335
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765309334
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,159,620 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By E. Bukowsky HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 22, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Bill Pronzini's "Savages" is a Nameless Detective novel, but the sixty-two year old Nameless is no longer totally anonymous. As readers discovered previously, the protagonist, like his creator, is named Bill. He is also the first person narrator of the chapters dealing with a thorny situation: a wealthy woman, Celeste Ogden, wants Bill to unearth proof that her cold-hearted brother-in-law, Brandon Mathias, caused her sister's death. The late Mrs. Nancy Mathias died after falling down the stairs in her home; however, there is not a shred of proof that her death was anything but a tragic accident. Furthermore, Brandon has an ironclad alibi; he was out of town when Nancy fell to her death.

The other portion of the book is written in the third person and concerns Jake Runyon, Bill's investigator, a desolate widower who is still mourning for his deceased wife. Colleen Runyon suffered from ovarian cancer, which claimed her after "six months of pain and fading hopes." On a happier note, Bill and Kerry are encouraged by the apparent success of her treatment for breast cancer.

"Savages" refers to cold-blooded criminals--sociopaths who destroy their victims without remorse. Jake Runyon's "routine assignment" involves delivering a subpoena to a witness, but his task turns out to be anything but ordinary. He travels four hours outside of San Francisco to a small farm town called Gray's Landing; he intends to hand over the subpoena and leave soon thereafter. However, Runyon's plans change when he finds the body of a man hanging from a rope in a barn. Jake is then whacked by an unknown assailant and lands in the hospital with a concussion. Long story short, Jake unexpectedly finds himself in the middle of a case of murder and arson.
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This is a page-turner, and a good satisfying story from start to finish. Nameless is hired by a grieving woman to prove her sister was murdered. Runyon has a mundane task turn into a murder and arson case. Kerry is being treated for breast cancer and an old family secret is unearthed. Tamara is becoming a sharp businesswoman leading the agency into the 21st century. Lots of suspense, character development, good detecting, all cases solved, but the resolutions to the cases don't make anyone particularly happy.
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Format: Hardcover
First Sentence: On Friday morning, I took Kerry to the U.C. Med Center for her first follow-up appointment with her radiologist and her oncologist.

Bill (aka Nameless) has been hired by Celeste Ogden, a wealthy, proper San Franciscan, to investigate her sister's death. Although ruled as accidental, Celeste is certain her sister's husband was responsible for her death. Jake Runyon, one of the agency's operatives, has gone to a small town in Northern California to serve a summons. Instead, he walks into a barn and finds a man who has been hung and the suspect is the young man he was there to serve.

We now know "Nameless'" name and the series has evolved over time, but Pronzini still delivers stories that are suspenseful and take the reader down unexpected paths. The "savages" are those people who can hurt or kill without conscience. The offset to that is Bill dealing with his wife's recovery from cancer. The balance is a book that is tight and always interesting. There is nothing predictable about this book except the excellent sense of place, dialogue, character development and Pronzini's always solid writing. I highly recommend "Savages."
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Format: Hardcover
Nameless has wandered far from his origins. He now has a first name, a wife, a young partner, and an employee. In this novel, he almost becomes a secondary character. Of the two cases here, the one which receives the most attention and is the more interesting is the arson and murder case involving the employee, Jake Runyon. Nameless' case takes a clear second place and is not satisfactorily resolved. We get a lot about his wife's health and his partner's lack of a love life. The writing is, as always, excellent, but I was a lot happier with the series when Nameless was still nameless and on his own.
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Format: Paperback
My son recently discovered Bill Pronzini and has been devouring the books. Truthfully, I have known of him for a long time but have always read his wife's books (Marcia Muller) rather than his! But my son is loving the books so much, I had to see what all the fuss is about, so I chose the earliest one on his shelf and found that I devoured it in two sittings.

What a great writer Pronzini is! There are two main stories here, one surrounding a woman who is convinced that her brother-in-law murdered her sister, and a second investigation regarding a pyromaniac in the California hills. Nameless himself investigates the first one, while one of his operatives, Jake Runyon, investigates the second. Both stories have good twists in them, and one of them has the interesting characteristic of having a nebulous conclusion. Normally those kinds of endings drive me crazy, but Pronzini makes it all work.

There are a few authors who can make me forget everything else I have going on. Alexander McCall Smith is one of them, but after reading this I can see that Pronzini would be another. I am fortunate in that my son has four more Pronzini books all lined up on his shelf, and I will be borrowing them soon! In short, I recommend the book as a very solid P.I. novel, a bit like a police procedural in that multiple stories are taking place.
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