ILLUSIONS by Bill Pronzini


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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? You don't know brooding Nameless, who, seeing Eberhardt's pathological moodiness as the mirror of his own, won't rest till he knows exactly what happened to make Eberhardt shoot himself in the chest. But soon his sorrowing investigation into Eberhardt's last assignment, a series of inside-job thefts from a pair of loutish liquor distributors, gets interrupted by a new assignment of his own: finding the ex-wife of Santa Fe financial consultant Ira Erskine, armed only with a postcard to a female friend saying that she's in the Bay Area and desperate to find the woman who left him and their hometown four years ago before their son dies of leukemia. So Nameless, continuing his exhaustive tour of northern California, heads out to the wine country in Alexander Valley and finds Janice Erskine just in time for his client to get shot as dead as his ex-partner. You can't help thinking the two cases will have something to do with each other, and so they do, but not at all in the way you expect. 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.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1997
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Carroll & Graf