Sunday, April 13, 2008

"Souls Burning" by Bill Pronzini

Available in Spadework by Bill Pronzini, Crippen and Landru, 1996.

For Pronzini's birthday, a review of one of his darker Nameless Detective stories. Nameless agrees to meet Eddie Quinlan, a small-time crook six months out of Folsom prison, at the seedy Hotel Majestic in a bad neighborhood. Eddie is fed up with the state of the world, visible right outside his window, and itching to do something about it. Nameless can't begin to tell him what that might be. Tiring of Eddie's ruminations, Nameless takes his leave. Eddie ends up committing a horrific crime, and Nameless must come to grips with the fact he could have done nothing to stop it. A master of the pared-down, efficient mystery story, Pronzini is equally adept at image-rich stories like this one.

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