Books by Bill Pronzini

ENDGAME by Bill Pronzini
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: June 13, 2017

"Middling, professional-grade work for this long-running series, whose most notable feature is a broad hint in its closing pages that it may well be its nameless hero's last case."
An autumnal pair of cases for the Nameless Detective Agency explores the strains in two very different marriages. Read full book review >
THE VIOLATED by Bill Pronzini
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: March 7, 2017

"Prozini's stand-alones are frequently less formulaic and more sensitive than his trademark Nameless Detective franchise (Zigzag, 2016, etc.). This one doesn't scale the heights of his finest work, but fans won't feel let down either."
Will the execution-style murder of a suspected rapist heal the wounds in a California town or tear them open even further? Read full book review >
THE DANGEROUS LADIES AFFAIR by Marcia Muller
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Jan. 3, 2017

"The husband-and-wife authors (The Plague of Thieves Affair, 2016, etc.) manage the double plot with professional dexterity. Sadly, though, each of the separate cases peaks around the halfway point before ingenuity and interest fade. And shouldn't the title really be The Dangerous Ladies Affairs?"
The intrepid partners in Carpenter and Quincannon, Professional Detective Services, land a pair of cases that both begin with adulterous affairs but take them in very different directions. Read full book review >
ZIGZAG by Bill Pronzini
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 17, 2016

"Proficient but routine work."
Two brand-new novellas and two reprinted short stories test the semiretired Nameless Detective's ability to close cases—and the gentle reader's taste for new wine in old bottles. Read full book review >
VIXEN by Bill Pronzini
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: June 23, 2015

"Judging from Nameless' superlatives, in fact, you'd think he'd completely forgotten the women who drive the plot of Camouflage (2011), only four titles back in this venerable series. What a shame that Cory is just as forgettable."
The Nameless Detective's so deeply impressed by the femme fatale who hired his agency and did them dirt that he devotes a prologue comparing her to such legendary vixens as Brigid O'Shaughnessy, Cora Papadakis, Matty Walker, and Catherine Tramell. Not so fast, Nameless.Read full book review >
STRANGERS by Bill Pronzini
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: July 1, 2014

"The detection is routine and the real killer forgettable, but Pronzini (Camouflage, 2011, etc.) keeps his biggest and saddest surprise in reserve for the final pages. Don't quit reading just because you've found out whodunit."
The Nameless Detective, whose name is Bill, leaves the Bay Area and drives to far-off Mineral Springs, Nevada, to go to bat for a troubled kid he's never met. Read full book review >
THE SPOOK LIGHTS AFFAIR by Marcia Muller
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Dec. 3, 2013

"The big mystery is transparent in its outline, and the details aren't interesting enough to keep one reading. Veterans Muller and Pronzini have done better work, both alone and in collaboration."
The year 1895 finds the partners of Carpenter and Quincannon, Professional Detective Services (The Bughouse Affair, 2013) working another pair of cases that turn out to be closely connected. Read full book review >
NEMESIS by Bill Pronzini
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: July 9, 2013

"Smooth, readable, not top-notch Pronzini, but better than much of the noir material out there."
When a stalwart of the Nameless Detective Agency is jailed on homicide charges, his co-workers spring into action. Read full book review >
CAMOUFLAGE by Bill Pronzini
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: June 1, 2011

"Can doing first-rate work as consistently as Pronzini (Betrayers, 2010, etc.) really be as effortless as he makes it seem?"
The Nameless Detective Agency must cope with a clutch of monsters, all members of the gentler sex. Read full book review >
THE HIDDEN by Bill Pronzini
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: Nov. 1, 2010

"Taut, spare and seamlessly plotted. The real accomplishment, however, is the villain of the piece, portrayed sympathetically but without sentimentality."
Marital difficulties turn murderous in Pronzini's suspenseful departure from the estimable Nameless Detective series (Schemers, 2009, etc.). Read full book review >
BETRAYERS by Bill Pronzini
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: June 1, 2010

"Solid as ever, with funny, ballsy Tamara continuing to buff her role as designated scene-stealer."
Thirty seven titles into their series (Schemers, 2009, etc.), the Nameless Detective and his mates get to work on some cases that are beyond personal. Read full book review >
SCHEMERS by Bill Pronzini
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: April 1, 2009

"Plotted and written with the obvious care customary in this reader-friendly series."
The 32nd case for the Nameless Detective (Fever, 2008, etc.) is a classic locked-door mystery about which Nameless is clueless. Read full book review >
THE OTHER SIDE OF SILENCE by Bill Pronzini
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: Oct. 1, 2008

"A tight, twisty tale that an old pro's sure-handed way with character makes both believable and engrossing."
The Nameless Detective (Savages, 2007, etc.) sits this one out while Pronzini dances up a storm with a younger version. Read full book review >
FEVER by Bill Pronzini
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: June 1, 2008

"Pronzini is such a quiet writer that he tends to be undervalued, but he shouldn't be."
In the Nameless Detective's twisty, fast-paced latest (Savages, 2007, etc.), he proves that he can still track lost ladies with the best of them. Read full book review >
SAVAGES by Bill Pronzini
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: June 26, 2007

"Written and plotted with Pronzini's usual care: the kind of work that restores faith in the genre."
In the 31st of this respected series (Mourners, 2006, etc.), the Nameless Detective returns to a case he once thought of as hopeless. Read full book review >
THE CASEBOOK OF SIDNEY ZOOM by Erle Stanley Gardner
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 30, 2006

"Part avenger, part detective, Zoom is a fascinating link between the dozens of earlier action heroes Gardner created (The Danger Zone, 2004, etc.) and the suavely bare-knuckled Perry Mason."
Ten adventures of Sidney Zoom, a one-man justice league who sallied forth from his private yacht to walk the mean streets in the early 1930s. Read full book review >
THE CRIMES OF JORDAN WISE by Bill Pronzini
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: July 1, 2006

"After 66 novels, including the distinguished Nameless Detective series (Nightcrawlers, 2005, etc.), Pronzini's energy seems undiminished and his cool intelligence as appealing as ever. But this is quintessential noir. Gentler readers proceed accordingly."
The confessions of Jordan Wise, who maintains that he's committed three perfect crimes. Read full book review >
MOURNERS by Bill Pronzini
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: March 1, 2006

"The only faces that won't be sad are those of fans of plotting and narrative drive, who'll rejoice in a case that's close to flawless."
Happy faces are in short supply once more as the Nameless Detective sets out on his 30th walk on the dark side (Nightcrawlers, 2005, etc.). Read full book review >
NIGHTCRAWLERS by Bill Pronzini
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: March 1, 2005

"Decently written and briskly paced. For fans of this longest of long-distance runners, though, the best news is that the close of his 29th leaves Nameless nowhere near breathless."
Old Man Nameless just keeps rollin' along. Read full book review >
THE DANGER ZONE by Erle Stanley Gardner
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 15, 2004

"'Flight into Disaster,' a 1952 yarn, seems included to prove that Gardner (Honest Money, 1991, etc.) never developed as a writer; his gifts for lightning-fast movement and antiestablishment insouciance were there from the beginning, and he rode them hard till the very end."
Eleven pulp reprints resurrect detective heroes coeval with the first decade of Perry Mason. Read full book review >
MARKSMAN by William Campbell Gault
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 10, 2003

"A standout collection in the publisher's Lost Classics series."
This first collection by Gault—best known for his YA fiction and the hardboiled mysteries starring ex-football player Brock "The Rock" Callahan he published nearly 50 years ago—suggests that he may have saved his best stuff for his short fiction. Read full book review >
SPOOK by Bill Pronzini
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: Jan. 1, 2003

"Nameless fans will find their hero cheerier than usual—for him, downright upbeat—and they'll love him that way."
He was sick of it, all "the pain and the sorrow and the blood," said the 60-year-old Nameless Detective at the end of his previous (we assumed final) adventure (Bleeders, 2002, etc.): a valedictory after 30 years and 28 novels. Read full book review >
MORE ODDMENTS by Bill Pronzini
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Dec. 1, 2001

"You decide."
Of these 14 stories originally published in AHMM, EQMM, and their ilk, half date from the 1970s, when Pronzini was still struggling with his craft. Read full book review >
STEP TO THE GRAVEYARD EASY by Bill Pronzini
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: June 1, 2001

"Pronzini, who seems to be saving his writing muscle for his Nameless endeavors, coasts on pulp dialogue and stereotypes in this short-story-inflated-to-a-novel."
Inexplicably engineering matters so that his wife will find him in bed with a tootsie and kick him out, Matthew Cape empties his savings account of $26,000, splurges on a '91 yellow-and-black Corvette (six-speed, with all the extras and a new glass top), and heads for the open road, helping out strangers along the way and stopping as the whim takes him—a change of life that lands him in the lobby of a plush San Francisco hotel where a blond looker, a ringer for his wife, named Tanya Judson, bamboozles him into a poker game with her alleged brother. Read full book review >
IN AN EVIL TIME by Bill Pronzini
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: April 26, 2001

"Unimpressive work from a usually reliable pro (Nothing But the Night, 1999, etc.)."
Putting his Nameless Detective and his common sense on hold, Pronzini raids the endangered woman's cupboard and dredges up Angela Hollis, a gal with awful taste in husbands. Read full book review >
BLEEDERS by Bill Pronzini
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: Jan. 1, 2001

"After so much good work, his 28th outing (In an Evil Time, 2000, etc.) finds Nameless lifeless."
Is this the end of the Nameless Detective? Read full book review >
ODDMENTS by Bill Pronzini
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: Nov. 1, 2000

"Oddments' is right."
These 14 previously published stories (from EQMM, AHMM, etc.) include a cornball go-round for Nameless ("The Big Bite") in which he outsmarts one client and outdumbs another; a long yawn for Gilded Age sleuths John Quincannon and Sabina Carpenter ("The Highbinders") that has them dodging Tong feuds, sniffing out opium dens, and locating a pilfered corpse; and a dreary SF adventure ("And Then We Went to Venus") that drags along to a last-line meltdown. Read full book review >
CRAZYBONE by Bill Pronzini
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: Aug. 1, 2000

"Too self-righteous to be good company, Nameless is still a good detective—intuitive enough to get the right hunch and persistent enough to track it down time after time."
Even though he's pushing 60, Pronzini's Nameless detective (Boobytrap, 1998, etc.) still has the chops to solve two mysteries this time around. Read full book review >
NOTHING BUT THE NIGHT by Bill Pronzini
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: June 24, 1999

"If the payoff doesn't quite justify the buildup, the doomy first half of the tale, as Pronzini watches his Titanic and its iceberg draw ever closer, is worth the price of admission."
When Pronzini takes leave of the Nameless Detective (Boobytrap, 1998, etc.) for his noir studies of life's losers, you can be sure that blue skies aren't in the forecast, but you can't be sure of much else. Read full book review >
SLEUTHS by Bill Pronzini
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Feb. 1, 1999

"Just in case this isn't enough variety for you, there are four Nameless stories too."
The creator of the Nameless Detective (Illusions, 1997, etc.) also wrote about plenty of detectives with names. Read full book review >
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 1, 1997

"More dutiful than inspired despite its range of duos: a missed opportunity for the editors—the genre's own reigning First Couple—and their readers."
Only a few of the 25 oddly-assorted pairs gathered here are romantic couples (Kelly Roos's Jeff and Haila Troy, Julie Smith's Skip Langdon and Steve Steinman); more often, they're colleagues professional (P.G. Wodehouse's Paul Snyder and Elliot Oakes, R. Austin Freeman's Thorndyke and Jervis, Lawrence Blochman's Dr. Coffee and Dr. Mookerji, Michael Gilbert's Calder and Behrens, Reginald Hill's Dalziel and Pascoe, Edward Hoch's Sebastian Blue and Laura Charme, editor Muller's Rae Kelleher and Sharon McCone, editor Pronzini's Sabina Carpenter and John Quincannon, Barbara D'Amato's Suze Figueroa and Norm Bennis) or quasi-professional (Margery Allingham's Campion and Inspector Kenny, Stuart Palmer and Craig Rice's Withers and Malone)—or they're Holmes-and- Watson pairs (Hulbert Footner's Mme. Read full book review >
AMERICAN PULP by Ed Gorman
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 1, 1997

"95 for 560 pages of the stuff your mother warned you to keep away from."
Or American Digest, since editors Gorman and Greenberg (Love Kills, p. 595, etc.), joined by veteran Pronzini (A Wasteland of Strangers, p. 914, etc.), contend that the true high-water mark of short noir fiction was the period from 1950 to 1970, after Black Mask and its ilk had already been killed off by inexpensive paperbacks and TV, and digests like Manhunt and Pursuit reigned supreme. Read full book review >
ILLUSIONS by Bill Pronzini
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: Aug. 1, 1997

"Characteristically overblown but solid midgrade work from Nameless, even if the old guy (now pushing 60) is awfully full of illusions for a veteran of 23 earlier cases."
Think the death of the Nameless Detective's (Sentinels, 1996, etc.) embittered ex-partner Eberhardt will finally close the book on the bad blood between the two? Read full book review >
A WASTELAND OF STRANGERS by Bill Pronzini
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: July 31, 1997

"Only the alcoholic newspaperman who talks to his gun, and maybe the enigmatic Faith himself, miss the bull's-eye."
The latest product of Pronzini's recent fascination with the bad chemistry between tight little towns and catalytic strangers (Blue Lonesome, 1995; Sentinels, 1996) brings big, ugly wanderer John C. Faith to Pomo, a lakeside hamlet in Pronzini's favorite northern California wilds. Read full book review >
SENTINELS by Bill Pronzini
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: Aug. 1, 1996

"Kinsmen'' will find more words here, but not much else that's new."
Though the publisher maintains a demure silence on the point, this short novel is a lightly revised expansion of Pronzini's novella ``Kinsmen,'' first published, together with long stories by Marcia Muller and Ed Gorman, in Criminal Intent 1 (1993). Read full book review >
BLUE LONESOME by Bill Pronzini
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: Nov. 17, 1995

"744, etc.) turns in a spare, beautifully controlled retake on Bad Day at Black Rock that's a- twang with piercing loneliness from the title to the last sorry secret."
For three months jazz-loving accountant Jim Messenger has watched the woman he's dubbed Ms. Lonesome order the same supper in San Francisco's Harmony CafÇ and leave every night without talking to him or anyone else. Read full book review >
HARDCASE by Bill Pronzini
Released: July 1, 1995

"No mystery this time: Nameless just tracks his man, seethes at the mess he's found, and dodges bullets."
``Do you, Kerry, take Nameless...?'' That's right, the Nameless Detective kicks off his 22nd case (Demons, 1993, etc.) by tying the knot with Kerry Nameless. Read full book review >
HARD-BOILED by Bill Pronzini
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: June 1, 1995

"No matter how long your shelf of hard-boiled anthologies, you'll want this one."
Even though all 36 stories here are reprints, this anthology is notable, and highly desirable, for several reasons. Read full book review >
WITH AN EXTREME BURNING by Bill Pronzini
Released: Dec. 1, 1994

"The first, grief-soaked half is less florid and more quietly affecting than most of Pronzini's Nameless Detective books (Demons, 1993, etc.), though the story kicks into autopilot with the unmasking of the revenge plot against Katy and her friends."
Three weeks after his wife Katy's death in a fiery car crash, the harassing phone calls Bay Area history teacher Dix Mallory has been getting take on a much more sinister tone: The caller boasts that he had been Katy's lover for three years before she died. Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 1, 1993

"Sturdy, professional work from all hands, with something extra from Gorman: altogether an auspicious inaugural."
This mystery analogue to Dark Harvest's Night Visions series gets off to a solid start with a trio of novellas. Read full book review >
DEMONS by Bill Pronzini
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: Sept. 8, 1993

"Okay, but not gripping."
Nameless gets involved in a case that recalls his Shackles (1988) demons when he agrees to track down Kay Runyan's husband, architect Victor, who's become obsessed with world-class enchantress Nedra Merchant. Read full book review >
CARMODY'S RUN by Bill Pronzini
Released: June 15, 1993

"A good bet, then, for pulp and Pronzini completists only."
Pronzini's writings (the ``Nameless'' p.i. series, etc.), like those of many older mystery hands, have roots of pulp. Read full book review >
EPITAPHS by Bill Pronzini
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: Nov. 1, 1992

"Oversimple but exquisitely rendered—from the disillusioned goombah to the despairing Nameless, at a loss as to how to keep his partner Eberhardt from calling it quits (he can't)."
Good news for ``Nameless'' fans: He's finally quit brooding/whining/obsessing about that time in the cabin (cf. Read full book review >
QUARRY by Bill Pronzini
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: Jan. 15, 1992

"Add to this the unappealing wedding-mania that partner Eberhardt is experiencing and the outcome is bathos—plus reader annoyance."
When Grady Haas, depressed and uncommunicative, moves back in with her dad, he asks Nameless to find out what's wrong. Read full book review >