I've liked most all the "Nameless" series of the prolific Bill Pronzini, and as the character has aged and the circumstances of his own life become more prominent in the plots, have liked the books even more. His past problems with his partner made for surprising and tense books; his ongoing relationship with Kerry, his own aging, his life in Sanfrancisco are all of a texture that make all the books' generally limited plots enjoyable. Here the "mystery" is not much of one, the action of the search for a solution as to why an insurance settlement is refused is pretty predictable and the outcome summary; but the domestic part of the book, a young child drawn into Kerry and "Nameless'" life makes for real emotion. So, it's a good book, about the same as most in the series. But what is increasingly less enjoyable in these books (and those by several other writers) is what I call the Travis McGee/John D. McDonald syndrome: lots and lots of social comment, mostly bleak reflections on the decline of American culture into the abyss: lamentations on modern architecture, art, strip malls, juvenile behavior, and on and on. I suppose it's in part an attempt to give the books social substance. It may be a unconscious tribute to Raymond Chandler--but if it is that, it misses the point. Chandler observed the world around him; Nameless and kin are grumpy old curmudgeons, whining about what they don't have, have lost, or don't want. Nor do I like a lot of the emblems of the modern age that they skewer and resent, but muttering and mewling without humor, balance, or, really, relation to the plot at hand is at best distracting, at worst rather pathetic. These are thin books, quick reading; they needn't be so sour.