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Boobytrap Hardcover – Nov 1 1998


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: CARROLL & GRAF PUBLISHERS (Nov. 1 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786705051
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786705054
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 2.5 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 522 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,646,128 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Amazon

One of the great mysteries of the publishing world is why so many of the terrific "Nameless Detective" books by Bill Pronzini are out of print. At least three--Hardcase, Illusions, and a collection called Spadework--are available, however. And, luckily, Boobytrap has the same clipped, resonant dialogue (a cross between Chandler and David Mamet), the understated but gripping action scenes, and the offhand noir wisdom as the rest of the series, as the always unnamed but rarely outgunned San Francisco private detective accepts a free fishing vacation in a High Sierra cabin and finds himself part of the revenge scheme of a particularly crafty mad bomber. Unlike many series heroes, "Nameless" has aged realistically ("Almost sixty years old and as horny as a teenager," says his ladyfriend), and the suicide of his partner in Illusions still troubles him. "In a way it was good, necessary that I would never forget: all that he was and all that he wasn't were a lesson to me. That was why I'd kept his fishing gear, the one tangible piece of him. It was why I'd never get rid of it. And it was why I'd never use even a single item." No wonder Pronzini has won Shamus Awards and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Private Eye Writers Association of America. --Dick Adler

From Publishers Weekly

On a fishing trip to Deep Mountain Lake in the High Sierras, Pronzini's San Francisco-based Nameless Detective pursues a crash course with a psychotic bomber just released from prison and bent on revenge. Nameless, seen last in Illusions (1997), is called Bill here?once?by 12-year-old Chuck Dixon. Chuck and his mother are staying in a cabin near Nameless's, waiting for Chuck's father, an assistant DA in San Francisco, to join them. Readers are privy to the journals of David Michael Latimer, the bomber who has targeted the judge and a lawyer who sent him to jail for bombing attacks on his ex-wife and her lover. Latimer's ingenious boobytraps have killed both men, and his next target, Chuck's dad, isn't aware of the danger he faces. Pronzini gradually draws the principals in his plot together near Deep Mountain Lake, first with the death of the retired local sheriff, which disquiets Nameless, and then with the odd behavior of a few newcomers, who variously spark the PI's suspicions. When one of these unlikely fishermen plans a trip with Chuck, Nameless replaces his fiberglass rod with a metal one. Approaching 60, Nameless is aging with grace and sensitivity and no loss of his macho appeal. Pronzini plays his readers expertly, hooking them with a credible cast and setting his plot line with just the right amount of tension.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

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By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on Dec 3 2003
Format: Hardcover
BoobyTrap is quite different from the usual Nameless Detective novel. Nameless has no client and is simply looking for some rest and relaxation while his new wife, Kerry Wade, is away on business in Houston. The book's development is also unique in the series. The story is dually narrated through the notebooks of newly released felon, Donald Michael Latimer, and through Nameless himself. In addition, you know who the criminal is, what crimes have been done and which are contemplated from near the beginning. So the book becomes a study in how Nameless stumbles onto the danger and deals with it. As such, it's a fine look at detection . . . and its weaknesses. Those who have enjoyed any of the prior Nameless novels will find this offbeat entry an interesting variation on the series.
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.
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Format: Hardcover
It is always problematic when you come late to a long running and well established series in any genre as nuances and subtleties of relationships,familiar to veteran afficionados of the series may well be lost to newcomers.The series about the Namelss Detective ,now numbering nigh on 30 titles,is a good instance where I am concerned."Boobytrap"is only my second taste of the series and there are echoes of his past cases in the book,and in particular details of how these have shaped his current world view,Nameless does age in the series and his increasing fallibility,physical and emotional is a key undercurrent to events.
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.
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Format: Hardcover
If you haven't met "Nameless" yet, or encountered the work of Bill Pronzini, you are in for a rare treat. Start 'Boobytrap' and you can begin planning how to spend your reading time over the upcoming holidays--by starting from the beginning of this superb series. Pronzini's books are very well-plotted, contain complex and engaging characters, and are written in a fluid but muscular style balanced with refreshing touches of humor. Pronzini does the traditions of the detective genre proud, while still remaining very much his own man. Mystery writing doesn't get much better than this. Kick back and enjoy.
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By A Customer on Nov. 6 1999
Format: Hardcover
If you haven't met Bill Pronzini's "Nameless Detective", this novel is a good one to start with. Pronzini's writing is clear, and he knows how to keep the reader on the edge of his seat. If you read this one you will soon want to read all his other "Nameless Detective" novels.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 7 reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Another superb entry in this outstanding series Oct. 28 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
If you haven't met "Nameless" yet, or encountered the work of Bill Pronzini, you are in for a rare treat. Start 'Boobytrap' and you can begin planning how to spend your reading time over the upcoming holidays--by starting from the beginning of this superb series. Pronzini's books are very well-plotted, contain complex and engaging characters, and are written in a fluid but muscular style balanced with refreshing touches of humor. Pronzini does the traditions of the detective genre proud, while still remaining very much his own man. Mystery writing doesn't get much better than this. Kick back and enjoy.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Busman's Vacation Dec 3 2003
By Donald Mitchell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
BoobyTrap is quite different from the usual Nameless Detective novel. Nameless has no client and is simply looking for some rest and relaxation while his new wife, Kerry Wade, is away on business in Houston. The book's development is also unique in the series. The story is dually narrated through the notebooks of newly released felon, Donald Michael Latimer, and through Nameless himself. In addition, you know who the criminal is, what crimes have been done and which are contemplated from near the beginning. So the book becomes a study in how Nameless stumbles onto the danger and deals with it. As such, it's a fine look at detection . . . and its weaknesses. Those who have enjoyed any of the prior Nameless novels will find this offbeat entry an interesting variation on the series.
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.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
An excellent read Nov. 6 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
If you haven't met Bill Pronzini's "Nameless Detective", this novel is a good one to start with. Pronzini's writing is clear, and he knows how to keep the reader on the edge of his seat. If you read this one you will soon want to read all his other "Nameless Detective" novels.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Compassionate and humane crime novel March 20 2002
By F. J. Harvey - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
It is always problematic when you come late to a long running and well established series in any genre as nuances and subtleties of relationships,familiar to veteran afficionados of the series may well be lost to newcomers.The series about the Namelss Detective ,now numbering nigh on 30 titles,is a good instance where I am concerned."Boobytrap"is only my second taste of the series and there are echoes of his past cases in the book,and in particular details of how these have shaped his current world view,Nameless does age in the series and his increasing fallibility,physical and emotional is a key undercurrent to events.
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.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I really like Pronzini, but this is no five star read July 27 2005
By clifford - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Before I came onto the scene, this book had a five star average. I feel a little bad about taking it down a notch. I say this especially because I admire the writing of Pronzini. But this book here is not only a mediocre book at best, but also far from Pronzini's finer efforts.

First of all the plot is simple and much stretched. The Nameless Detective novels get better latter on in the series. This book is kind of the middle of what Pronzini has written. The story line is very 1980's TV cop show implausible. It really feels sort of like a filler... Nameless gets a little older here and notches another case under his belt, but not in the magnificent way he has in Pronzini's last couple of books. I mean, come on... circumstantially, the guy happens to take a family out to the lakes while the husband is kept at home. Only a serial bomber is waiting for the husband to arrive and on and on. Give me a break Pronzini.

But... on the other hand, the writing is still first notch prose wise. It's sparse and reflective. I wouldn't pass this book by if you are slowly devouring the entire series.


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