cover image Boobytrap


Bill Pronzini. Avalon, $23 (256pp) ISBN 978-0-7867-0505-4

On a fishing trip to Deep Mountain Lake in the High Sierras, Pronzini's San Francisco-based Nameless Detective pursues a crash course with a psychotic bomber just released from prison and bent on revenge. Nameless, seen last in Illusions (1997), is called Bill here--once--by 12-year-old Chuck Dixon. Chuck and his mother are staying in a cabin near Nameless's, waiting for Chuck's father, an assistant DA in San Francisco, to join them. Readers are privy to the journals of David Michael Latimer, the bomber who has targeted the judge and a lawyer who sent him to jail for bombing attacks on his ex-wife and her lover. Latimer's ingenious boobytraps have killed both men, and his next target, Chuck's dad, isn't aware of the danger he faces. Pronzini gradually draws the principals in his plot together near Deep Mountain Lake, first with the death of the retired local sheriff, which disquiets Nameless, and then with the odd behavior of a few newcomers, who variously spark the PI's suspicions. When one of these unlikely fishermen plans a trip with Chuck, Nameless replaces his fiberglass rod with a metal one. Approaching 60, Nameless is aging with grace and sensitivity and no loss of his macho appeal. Pronzini plays his readers expertly, hooking them with a credible cast and setting his plot line with just the right amount of tension. (Sept.)