Saturday, 1 March 2014


This one holds on to its forth star by the skin of its teeth. The cleanness of Pronzini's complex plotting is mired under a snarl of coincidences that form the overarching theme of the book. It doesn't quite have anywhere to go though and our nameless hero is reluctant to wrestle with the metaphysics of relentless fate so it ends up simply with our hero puzzled and deflected by the coincidences. Nameless is certainly off his game even though he's out from under the shadow of that wracking cough and the incipient threat it promised during the first batch of novels in the series. The tangles in the case he's investigating come unravelled more from the paranoia of the perps than from any real deduction on his part. Major plusses are the locations. San Fran rising up though the fog. Bodega Bay, location of Hitchcock's superbly noirish (screenplay by Evan Hunter) The Birds is easy to call up, even after the woes of rampant commercialism that Nameless/Pronzini rail against having supposedly spoilt the isolated remoteness of the place.
In the end Pronzini has a last attempt to make something of the rash of coincidences but unless you step over the genre boundary into horror à la Final Destination or the Omen and add a supernatural element it's got no real bite. Frankly I was more disturbed by Nameless's seemingly encyclopaedic knowledge of nautical terms.

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