cover image Mourners: A Nameless Detective Novel

Mourners: A Nameless Detective Novel

Bill Pronzini, . . Forge, $24.95 (285pp) ISBN 978-0-7653-0932-7

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.)