Friday 22 March 2013



A San Francisco private detective becomes involved in a kidnapping case when a young boy's abductor demands that a third party deliver the ransom.

The Snatch, originally published back in 1971 is the first in Bill Pronzini’s Nameless Detective series. Pronzini has to date written a total of 37 books with a couple of Nameless mysteries published as recently as last year.

Several times over the years, I’ve toyed with the idea of dipping into the series but have always suppressed the urge until now. Part of the attraction for me was the fact that the series never seemed to take off and explode into mainstream consciousness. It sort of meandered along, ignored by the masses, but seemingly attracting enough readers to warrant the author continuing with the character and the publisher continuing to print the results of his labour. The restaurant serving the best food isn’t always the most popular one in town, sometimes it’s a well kept secret. 

In The Snatch, Nameless is retained by Louis Martinetti, a real-estate developer whose young son has been kidnapped. Nameless is the errand boy engaged to drop off the ransom. The money drop is hijacked and Nameless gets stabbed during the melee. With the suspected kidnapper killed, the money gone and the boy still missing, Nameless, with the police now involved digs deeper to resolve who amongst Martinetti’s associates could have engineered the abduction.

Coincidentally the last book I just read, Randy Wayne White’s Sanibel Flats also concerned a boy’s kidnapping. This time around there’s a darker feel to the mystery, in part driven by the location, with the action unfolding in the foggy, bay area of San Francisco; and partly stemming from Nameless himself......a middle-aged, ex-cop, with few friends. There’s a fractious relationship with his girlfriend who he loves, but she despises his calling, and there’s fragility about his health which both concerns and frightens him but which at this stage remains unresolved.

This series and author is definitely one for me to follow in future months.

5 from 5

Bought last month from Amazon Kindle UK.


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