Since discovering the Nameless series many years ago, I have been a fan of Bill Pronzini. "Nameless" is an old school private detective throwback ala Mike Hammer. He has starred in over 35 books. I have enjoyed them all including his latest two "Femme: a "Nameless Detective" novella" and "Kinsmen: a "Nameless Detective" novella."
"Kinsmen: a "Nameless Detective" novella" begins with "Nameless" in California's northeast backwoods. He is looking for a young woman who went missing on her way home from the University of Oregon. Since there had been no contact for five days, "Nameless" fears that something bad has happened to her.
He stops in the small town of Creekside. The people are unfriendly and distrustful of strangers. He discovers that Creekside is a town full of secrets. Will he be able to discover the truth behind Allison's disappearance? Will he be able to survive his investigation? You'll have to read the novella to find out.
"Femme: a "Nameless Detective" novella" written in a true noir style. "Nameless" has never met a true femme fatale until he is hired by a woman named Cory Beckett. She uses her sex appeal to get her own way. Her brother has jumped bail on a burglary charge. Cory hires the agency to find him. Without giving away too many details, nothing is ever as it seems. Add a ruthless woman, her nearly psychotic brother and a couple of lovers and it makes for a true noir style mystery.
The story is fast-paced. The style is a true noir. There is a staccato delivery to the narrative reminiscent of the old Dragnet series. The characters are well drawn. if you're a fan of noir fiction, you will enjoy this one.
My complaint about both books falls under the category of pet peeves. If both novellas had been combined into one book, I wouldn't gripe. However, I feel it is an injustice to their fans when an author puts out a novella and charges $19.99 for it...but that's just my opinion.
If you've never read any Nameless series before, these will provide a good introduction. Both are under two hundred pages. Both are easy reads. You may find them in the Mysteries at your local branch or may request them via the online catalog.
--Ron A., Weber Road Branch