Friday, 9 October 2015

BILL PRONZINI - SCATTERSHOT (1982)


Synopsis/blurb….

Business is booming for Nameless; he's started in on three new cases in one week. But every single one of them turns bad some way. In the first, a husband disappears from a car that Nameless has been following. In the second, a woman is mysteriously murdered while Nameless stands outside her bungalow. In the third, a valuable ring disappears from a locked room that Nameless has been guarding. The papers are full of bad publicity. After being at the scene of two homicides, everyone is suspicious of him. He is at risk of losing his PI license. At the same time, he recently proposed to the woman of his dreams and she is becoming more distant from him every day. Scattershot presents more questions than answers in its exciting conclusion. The eighth novel in the Nameless Detective series.

Entry number 8 in the long-running Nameless series and whilst still enjoyable and again 4 stars from 5, I felt a touch of frustration towards our usually sympathetic protagonist.

Nameless gets immersed in a spate of quickly arriving cases which is fine. The constant moping around like a love-sick puppy was less so. Maybe I liked him better when he was solitary and brooding and ruminating on finding a companion, than when he actually has one. Kerry his new-found love – wooed and romanced in our previous book - Hoodwink, is obviously having second thoughts about a serious relationship with a man much older than herself. Too much hectoring, too much pressure in an already precarious situation and you’ll lose her man. Back off FFS!

Rant over and back to our cases at hand.

Seemingly straightforward but soon spiralling out of control. Nameless is hired by a suspicious wife to follow a suspect husband. When he is discovered stabbed to death whilst on Nameless’ watch she blames him and irrationally pursues him in the press tarnishing his reputation and jeopardising his livelihood.

Second case and we are pursuing an elusive rich lady to serve a summons upon. When we eventually catch up with her, death is again close at hand.

Lastly – another babysitting job as a security guard minding the wedding presents of one of San Francisco’s society types as he ties the knot. Straightforward until it goes wrong and Nameless knows he’s been set up.

Interesting watching our man juggle his time and energies and combatting forces that seem intent on bringing him down.

By the end our cases are fixed, but matters are still unresolved on both the personal and professional front. Roll on book 9 – Dragonfire from the same year – 1982.

4 from 5 

Bought copy second hand a year or two ago.


14 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  2. So, Col, how do you feel about Kerry in this novel?? ;-) - Seriously, I'm glad you enjoyed it overall. I think the Nameless series is one of the great US PI series, and doesn't always get the modern attention it deserves.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha - great series and yes I would like it to be much better known and see more people reading it. It might be a bit challenging for the uninitiated as there's the best part of 40 books in total now - I'm enjoying the journey anyway.

      Re Kerry - maybe she's finding out why he's 50 and been single for a long-time! He comes across (to me at least) as a bit whiny and pathetic - at least in respect of his romance. Have yourself a big pity party why don't you.
      In other books, I've only seen admirable traits - decency, a sense of duty, a moral upright person. Maybe Pronzini is being clever and showing us that none of us are perfect and we're all flawed and have our faults. Good to remember and in some respects he's the more human for it.
      Kerry - you're probably better off without him!

      Delete
  3. Another Pronzini! You will catch up to me. no doubt about it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I step closer which leaves me....... ooh maybe 3 years behind?

      Delete
  4. Well, you will not catch up to Glen but you might catch up to me.

    ReplyDelete
  5. There's just too many books for me to contemplate this series - though I do dabble now and again, and this one sounds the kind I like...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You might be missing out, but I'll read most of them for you (hopefully)!

      Delete
  6. Hi Col! I still haven't got around to this series. Hats off to you, though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A bit premature ofr hat-doffing Prashant, amybe after another 30 books from him!

      Delete
    2. Typo city! ofr amybe ????? FOR.....MAYBE

      Delete