Cover image for Spook : a "nameless detective" novel
Spook : a "nameless detective" novel
Pronzini, Bill.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Carroll & Graf, [2003]

Physical Description:
233 pages ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
X Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense
X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
X Adult Fiction Being fixed/mended
X Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense
X Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense

On Order



Roll out the red carpet. Uncap a bottle of decent beer. Nameless is back, and Bill Pronzini's much-praised Bleeders did not conclude a series that Booklist calls "a stunning and unique achievement in crime fiction" and "one of the greatest-ever detective series." Instead, in Spook, the pivotal new twenty-eighth novel in the remarkably successful award-winning Nameless series, Pronzini, working at the top of his form, takes his seasoned private-eye hero to a new phase of a still-evolving thirty-year career. Shaken after a hair's-breadth escape from death, Nameless has made changes in his professional life, but he's not put himself out to pasture. Again he enters San Francisco's shadowy underworld, this time in a search for the identity of a gentle, mentally disturbed homeless man who has been found dead in an alley doorway. Clues are few, but eventually they bring the Nameless Detective to the small California town that drove the nameless victim tragically to murder and madness.

Author Notes

Bill Pronzini was born in Petaluma, California on April 13, 1943. His first novel, The Stalker, was published in 1971. He is best known for his creation of the Nameless Detective Mystery series, as well as several westerns and novels of dark suspense. He has been a full time writer since 1969. He is also an active anthologist, having compiled more than 100 collections, most of which focus on mystery, western, and science fiction short stories.

He has won numerous awards including three Shamus Awards and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Private Eye Mystery Writers of America. His book Snowbound received the Grand Prix de la Litterature Policiere, as the best crime novel published in France in 1988. Pronzini has established himself as a master of the Western novel as well as earning a name for himself in the dark fiction genre.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The case seems simple enough. Spook, a homeless street person, becomes a fixture at a local business; its employees provide assistance as needed for the obviously mentally disturbed individual. He is murdered in an especially heinous assault. His unofficial "family" wants San Francisco private investigator "Nameless" to learn his real identity. Nameless hands the case over to his newly hired field operative, Jake Runyon, a former Seattle cop. Soon Runyon has reason to believe the killing was not random. Lurking just outside his vision is a motive, but in uncovering it, he may put himself in the path of a killer from Spook's surprising past. Nameless fans will once again savor the engaging plotline, carefully drawn characters, and subtle humor, as they have for the previous 30 entries in this amazing series. Surprises include a first name for Nameless and a shifting narrative perspective that makes one wonder if Pronzini may segue into a new series featuring Runyon. A fascinating entry in a series that continues to redefine noir fiction even as it honors its roots. --Wes Lukowsky

Publisher's Weekly Review

Hints of the Nameless Detective's death or forced retirement in his last book, Bleeders (2002), turn out to be premature. (He isn't all that nameless, either-everyone calls him Bill. Could his last name be an Italian one ending in "ini"?) Nameless is slowing down, though, while the central plot of this 28th book in the honored series is one or two twists short of exciting. Hired by a San Francisco filmmaker to discover the identity of a gentle, spook-haunted homeless man shot to death in the production company's doorway where he camped out at night, Nameless spends far too many pages doing just that and far too few offering alternative possibilities for the murder other than the glaringly obvious one: realistic, maybe, but certainly not riveting. Perhaps building a foundation for a series without Nameless, who talks often about "semi-retirement" as he approaches 60, Pronzini gives his hero's young partner, Tamara Corbin, more to do this time out. Unfortunately, it mostly involves being nasty to her family and associates after hitting a speed bump in the road of love. A new addition to the agency staff, Jake Runyon, a seasoned Seattle investigator trying to connect with a lost son, is more appealing here. Three-time Shamus Award-winner Pronzini can still capture the sleazy underside of San Francisco's glitz as quickly and as well as anyone, so, Nameless lives-at least for one more book. (Jan. 17) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Pronzini's "nameless detective" makes his 28th appearance, but he is just as fresh, humorous, believable, and interesting as when he first appeared in print. Operating out of a miniscule San Francisco office, the detective, working with his sassy partner, Tamara, here is called upon to find out the identity of a homeless man murdered in the back of a building whose inhabitants had taken pity on him and had given him a place to stay. No ID, no motive, no witnesses, no evidence, and definitely no support from the SFPD make this seem, at first, like a typical "Nameless" plot line, but Pronzini is not an author to follow a comfortable, well-traveled road. The detective hires a retired cop to help him on this case, and the man (given a dead-on Clint Eastwood voice by reader Nick Sullivan) soon uncovers a twisted knot of a three-decades-old homicide in a remote area of California. "Nameless" is pushing 60, has been shot so many times he could never pass through an airport metal detector, and has weathered stormy times in his personal life, but he is still likable and able to provide listeners with one heck of a great mystery. Recommended for public libraries of all sizes.-Joseph L. Carlson, Allan Hancock Coll., Lompoc, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.