The Alias Man Hardcover – Jun 1 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
Best known for his long-running (four decades) Nameless Detective series, the prolific Pronzini centers his latest stand-alone around three angry women who have all been duped by the same bigamist con man. Known variously as Burt Cord, Allan Cooney, Frank Court or Scott Collins, he has a penchant for willowy blondes with money—he marries them, bleeds them dry, then disappears. It's a good scam that begins to unravel when the latest victim, Jessie Keene, falls for his act then has doubts about her rather odd and too-ardent lover, and the most recent wife, Morgan Cord, finds fake passports and photographs of her husband with other women. Joined by British Columbian bookseller Sarah Collins, the women nickname their victimizer Alias Man and decide to hunt him down and turn him over to the police. There's a mystery of sorts involving a thug who's also tracking down Alias, but it's all rather bloodless—literally so as the only corpse that turns up was killed by accident. All in all, the women aren't mad enough and the villain isn't bad enough to add up to much more than a mildly diverting read. Pronzini fans are best advised to wait for the next Nameless Detective installment.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Jesse, a recently widowed antiques dealer from Pennsylvania, has a random sexual encounter with an art dealer in Sante Fe and is surprised by a marriage proposal. Sarah, a Vancouver bookshop owner, lost her husband to a car accident, but the body was never recovered. Morgan, a Northern California teacher, is certain her husband is having an affair. When he disappears, she finds and opens a safety-deposit box that contains cash and four names. Jesse, curious about her impetuous lover, tracks him back through the Sante Fe art community and uncovers multiple identities, which leads her to Morgan, the jilted schoolteacher, and Sarah, the mourning bookseller. Pronzini, a master storyteller whether writing his stellar Nameless detective series, westerns, or stand-alone thrillers, comes through once again with carefully rendered victims and a villain for whom the chameleon metaphor extends to his mercilessly reptilian brain. Most satisfying is the evolution of the victims, as each learns to compensate for the flaw that exposed them to the con man's sinister exploitation. Excellent reading. Wes Lukowsky
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Bill Pronzini once again brings us an interesting tale of betrayal, deceit and murder through the viewpoints of three women who were deeply hurt. The central focus of their cause is a man called Alias. He is known by other names and women who enter into his trap of matrimony and ruin. Unlike the other women, Sarah, Jessie and Morgan refuse to remain victims.
The plot is highly interesting and the story moves you along from place to place. Pronzini's weakness is his continual telling you the story instead of letting the characters do so. Their dialogue seems contrived and doesn't smoothly flow. You find yourself wondering what is the motivation propeling these women to fight for themselves. Alias, the center of the storm, is not fully developed. Through the women's eyes we get an idea of what type of person he was around them. Pronzini doesn't give his reader a clue as to what makes Alias tick. You end up wondering what was the purpose of the tale.
Pronzini can be a good story teller. The Alias Man is not his best but is an interesting read and collector's item for those who are fans.