cover image Illusions: A Nameless Detective Novel

Illusions: A Nameless Detective Novel

Bill Pronzini. Carroll & Graf Publishers, $23 (256pp) ISBN 978-0-7867-0403-3

San Francisco's Nameless Detective faces tormenting decisions as he tackles two cases, one of which closes a troubled chapter in his own life. Nameless begins this dark tale (his 24th, following Sentinels) at the funeral of Eberhardt, his former agency partner. The evidence of suicide seems conclusive. While struggling with belated regret over his long estrangement from Eberhardt, Nameless gets a new client: Santa Fe businessman Ira Erskine believes that his missing wife, Janice, is hiding in the Bay Area. Nameless tracks her to a winery where she is living under another name and planning to marry the owner. Saying she fled in terror, Janice tells Nameless that she fears Erskine will stalk her and hurt her again. When Erksine is murdered, Janice has a perfect alibi: jury duty at the county courthouse. With painstaking detective work and help from his sassy computer whiz assistant, Tamara, Nameless unravels the Erskine and Eberhardt mysteries. But facts don't always add up to truth, leaving Nameless to decide how his damning information can produce justice. Pronzini handles the procedural details and the moral dilemmas with his usual great skill, delivering two engrossing puzzlers and heartfelt lessons on the ethics of unearthing other people's secrets. (Aug.)