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JACKPOT [Mass Market Paperback]

Bill Pronzini
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

Dec 3 1990
Bill Pronzini's "Nameless Detective"-the San Francisco-based, Italian-American, slightly overweight, thoroughly charming favorite of mystery aficionados, whose name is never revealed-returns with one of his cleverest, most intense cases. Why would a successful, good-looking young man, who had just won two hundred thousand dollars at a Lake Tahoe casino, kill himself? That's the question Nameless asks himself when he finds a friend's brother dead--an apparent suicide, was more than luck involved in his windfall? Or was his good fortune reason enough for murder? The investigation takes Nameless in­side the seamy and dangerous world of high-stakes gambling and mob-run casinos-and into the middle of a com­plex scam that has left at least one man in his grave, with others, including Nameless, odds-on favorites to follow. "A skilled writer working at the top of his ability." -Denver Post
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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About the Author

Bill Pronzini is simply one of the masters. He seems to have taken a crack at just about every genre: mysteries, noirish thrillers, historicals, locked-room mysteries, adventure novels, spy capers, men's action, westerns, and, of course, his masterful, long-running Nameless private detective series, now entering its fourth decade, with no signs of creative flagging. He's also ghosted several Brett Halliday short stories as Michael Shayne for Mike Shayne's Mystery Magazine, and has managed to collaborate with such fellow writers as John Lutz, Barry Wahlberg, Collin Wilcox and Marcia Muller. Still, if he never ventured into fiction writing, his non-fiction work, as both writer and editor, would still earn him a place in the P.I. genre's Hall of Fame. Besides his two tributes to some of the very worst in crime fiction (what he calls "alternative classics"), Gun in Cheek and Son of Gun in Cheek, and one on western fiction (entitled Six Gun in Cheek, naturally), he's the co-author (with Marcia Muller) of 1001 Midnights. The Mystery Writers of America have nominated him for Edgar Awards several times and his work has been translated into numerous languages and he's published in almost thirty countries. He was the very first president of the Private Eye Writers of America, and he's received three Shamus Awards from them, as well as its Lifetime Achievement Award in 1987. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Hitting the "Jackpot" with Nameless Aug. 28 2001
Format:Hardcover
The "Nameless Detective" Private Detective series is not the best such series out there, but it is always dependable. "Jackpot" is no exception to the rule. As the book opens, Nameless is still recovering psycologically from the events of the previous book, "Shackles," (the best of the series) in which he was chained and left to die in a mountain cabin. This time out, he investigates the suicide of a young woman's brother that came on the heels of the brother winning and losing a huge fortune in a casino. Of course, Nameless's investigation proves there was a lot more to the story. Much of the action takes place in Nevada, which is a refrsehing change of scenery from Nameless's native San Francisco. The plot moves along quickly and reaches a satisfying conclusion, except for one flaw. The scene in which Nameless confronts a big time mobster simply doesn't ring plausible. Otherwise, it is a fine entry in this always dependable series.
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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hitting the "Jackpot" with Nameless Aug. 27 2001
By Brian D. Rubendall - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The "Nameless Detective" Private Detective series is not the best such series out there, but it is always dependable. "Jackpot" is no exception to the rule. As the book opens, Nameless is still recovering psycologically from the events of the previous book, "Shackles," (the best of the series) in which he was chained and left to die in a mountain cabin. This time out, he investigates the suicide of a young woman's brother that came on the heels of the brother winning and losing a huge fortune in a casino. Of course, Nameless's investigation proves there was a lot more to the story. Much of the action takes place in Nevada, which is a refrsehing change of scenery from Nameless's native San Francisco. The plot moves along quickly and reaches a satisfying conclusion, except for one flaw. The scene in which Nameless confronts a big time mobster simply doesn't ring plausible. Otherwise, it is a fine entry in this always dependable series.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Like Peeling an Artichoke April 4 2011
By Grey Wolffe - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
You peel off the leaves of an artichoke one at a time until you reach the 'heart'. That is what reading this book is like. Pronzini takes us one step at a time from the suicide of the 'jackpot' winner to the endgame of how it all came about. Most of the time we are moving forward like a shark, as "Nameless" finds out that he is still affected by what happened to him (in Shackles) psychically when he was held for three months in a house in the mountains. Though he feels better, physically he is doing great, he does find that he has some ways to go before he can feel 'comfortable in his own skin' again. No reason to tell you the story, read it for yourself.

Zeb Kantrowitz
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Winner Jan. 11 2007
By L. J. Roberts - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
In his first case after Shackles, "Nameless" is hired to find out why a young man who won $200,000 at a Reno slot machine would commit suicide.

With his usual masterly touch, Pronzini has given us an inventive story of overcoming one's past and the effect of greed. The mystery really takes second place in the story and it's a little weak. But the look at "Nameless" still recovering from being held captive and at Eberhardt overcoming past relationships were enough to keep me reading. It's also nice to see a character that deals realistically with his age--he's not young, but he's still tough. This is a short, quick read, but imminently satisfying.
5.0 out of 5 stars Only the Resolute Survive Nov. 19 2003
By Donald Mitchell - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Jackpot is the first regular Nameless Detective book following Shackles, in which Nameless's character was fundamentally changed. Nameless is now impatient and willing to stretch the law in the interests of justice. In this new persona, he often plays a vigilante role.
In earlier books, Nameless has taken on the Japanese Yakuza and criminal tongs in Chinatown. It was inevitable that one of the books would relate to the "Mob."
In the wake of his Shackles adventure, Nameless is being sought after for as a resource for a motion picture based on his experiences. Nameless wants nothing to do with it. A young woman then hires him to look into the suicide of her brother. The young man had just hit a large jackpot in Nevada, but soon lost it. In fact, he was trying to borrow money just before he killed himself.
Nameless finds out about the true nature of the jackpot, and follows a trail involving those who had been hounding the brother. In the process, he finds that other people are in danger, and takes action to help them.
As Nameless pursues this investigation, there is almost a police procedural aspect to the case. The detection part is very nicely done.
Mr. Pronzini also continues the theme of Shackles . . . how we are all powerless in many ways. In this case, it is the power of the Mob versus the individual. Some may find the confrontation with the Arthur Welker to be over done, but for me it added a chilling element not unlike the classic early villains of Ian Fleming. As those who interviewed Nazi war criminals found, the mind of evil doers can be overly complacent and confident in their views.
Mr. Pronzini does a wonderful job of describing the areas around Lake Tahoe in ways to emphasize the corrupting influence of the gambling trade there.
As I finished the book, I was reminded of the old adage that curiosity killed the cat.
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