JACKPOT Mass Market Paperback – Dec 3 1990
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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.
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.
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.