cover image Son of Gun Che

Son of Gun Che

Bill Pronzini. Mysterious Press, $15.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-89296-276-1

The prolific Pronzini not only writes a lot of mysteries (The Nameless Detective series), he obviously reads a lot of them toobut not all of what he reads is good. His 1982 Gun in Cheek was a wickedly humorous collection of unbelievable plots, poor characterization, unlikely language and just plain dumbness in his favorite genre; here he presents another collection, subtitled ""an affectionate guide to more of the `worst' in mystery fiction.'' Some writers (Harry Stephen Keeler, Michael Avallone) are roasted at length, and some are sideswiped, including even fine writers experiencing temporary lapses (Ed McBain, Joseph Wambaugh). Not perhaps for the general reader, this volume should appeal to addicts who, like Pronzini, will apparently read anything labeled ``mystery.'' Sex, pulp mags, B-movies and ``The Alternative Hall of Fame'' are featured in wittily titled chapters with a postmortem, bibliography and index. (September 23)