A quiet vacation turns deadly and pits the "Nameless Detective" against a vengeful mad bomber in a nightmarish battle of wits in this 25th case for this "classic private-eye hero" ("Chicago Sun-Times".--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
If you have not yet read any Nameless novels, I strongly suggest that you read Hoodwink, Shackles, Quarry, and Illusions before this one. Although this is a standalone book, it works better in the context of Nameless's character development. Most people who read only this book will probably rate it at four stars because there isn't as much mystery as in most procedurally focused stories. The character development is quite significant though, and needs some background to appreciate.
Nameless is almost 60 now and recovering emotionally from the rocky experiences in Shackles and Illusions. He's enjoying his new marriage to Kerry Wade, but she's still awfully busy with her work at the advertising agency. The two were scheduled for a romantic vacation in Baja California when Kerry has to cancel due to an opportunity to woo a new client for her firm. At odds and ends, she suggests that Nameless go fishing. No one is available to go now, but a friend hooks him up with a mutual acquaintance, San Francisco assistant D.A. Pat Dixon who arranges for Nameless to enjoy a free week at a neighbor's cabin in the high Sierras. Because Dixon is held up on a case, Nameless offers to drive Dixon's family up so they can start their vacation early.
In the background, recently paroled bomber Donald Michael Latimer has decided that he wants revenge against all those who helped put him in prison . . . including the judge, the prosecutors and his ex-wife. And Pat Dixon was one of those prosecutors. The diabolical nature of Latimer's desire for revenge is one of the main attractions of this story. Echoes of the Unabomber will float through your head as you read this taut story.
Fans of the Nameless mystique will be fascinated by his reaction to the fishing opportunity and his past actions (especially in Quarry). You also get a brief peek at the first name that shows up every so often in these novels that refers to Nameless.
Mr. Pronzini's fans will chuckle over the dedication to this book: "For Sharon McCone, Who promises to keep me in the manner to which I'd like to become accustomed." If you didn't realize it, Mr. Pronzini's wife is Marcia Muller, Sharon McCone's creator.
As I finished the novel, I found myself thinking about when killing is ever justified . . . and how effective punishment really is. I suspect that I will be haunted by this story for months to come.
In the book he is on vacation in the High Sierra Lakes ,with the son(Chuck)and wife(Marion)of local DA Tom Dixon.They are to be joined by Dixon on the conclusion of urgent court matters in San Francisco,There is a large problem however,for Dixon is the target of "Latimer"a recently paroled bomber/boobytrapper and a man intent on revenge against all those instrumental in sending him to prison,including Dixon."Latimer"is in the area ,in the guise of a vacationer and quite prepared to kill in order to wreak his revenge on Dixon.
The allure of the book for me is less in its thrillerish and crime elements but in its meditations on how life and its
tribulations has changed Nameless by making him aware of his own mortality.Sickened by the deaths in his own life he gives up fishing not wishing to add to the burden of death.Namelss reflects bitterly on a society that spawns men like Latimer who see revenge for proper punishment as their due.Love all too often seems like the most fragile and tenuous barrier to encroaching darkness be this individual or societal.Nameless is not a hardboiled private eye but warm ,human and a good man who has paid a bitter price for survival .Nameless is a good man,professionally and personally and I recommend the book to you.