Bill Pronzini is best known for his spectacular Nameless Detective series, but his stand alone work more than holds its own. In fact, I look forward to his non-series books because they have a similar atmosphere and style of the old noir novels, but they are anything but cheap copies--they are unique, sparse yet heavy with meaning and melancholy, and all Pronzini.
The Crimes of Jordan Wise is a nifty thriller with an anti-hero who has committed three perfect crimes in his life, and as his life draws to a close he wants to share the story. Pronzini is an old hand at plotting and you can tell--there is nothing out of place; no missing segments, and nothing left hanging. The prose is simple, almost haunting in a melancholy way, and easily disguises the complexity of the story: the layers peel away to reveal something deep and meaningful. It says something about life, friendship, love, all while navigating the darkness that burrows its way into the human soul. The Crimes of Jordan Wise is sad, gritty and dark, at times sweet and tender, and always entertaining.
Bill Pronzini, particularly his stand alone novels, deserves a larger audience than he has. His writing yearns back to the old days, but his style, talent and voice are uniquely his own. The Crimes of Jordan Wise is, if not the best, one of the best novels I have read this year.