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. Faith's picked a bad weekend to come to Pomo, since bank president George Petrie, desperate to cover his minor defalcations, is about to pull off a major robbery of his own bank; Indian teacher Audrey Sixkiller is getting threatened by a masked rapist; and aptly named widow Storm Carey, who's slept with half the men in town, keeps her very last assignation while Faith, who absently deflected her first come-on between bites of his restaurant meal, is on his way to her place. Faith manages to get away from police chief Richard Novak, but Novak, still burning from the memory of Storm's fiery embraces, isn't about to take Faith's escape lying down. And the outcast women who somehow know they can trust Faith--an unhappily pregnant teen, a waitress who gave up nursing school to marry the brute who beats her, and even, in the end, Audrey Sixkiller herself--only seem to be making more trouble for themselves. Pronzini nails his familiar small-town meanies--the bigots, the cheats, the tiny-souled righteous--with an unerring eye. Only the alcoholic newspaperman who talks to his gun, and maybe the enigmatic Faith himself, miss the bull's-eye.