Friday, October 19, 2012

Kinsmen-Bill Pronzini


Bill Pronzini

Cemetery Dance, Nov 2012, $19.99

ISBN 9781587672668

Student Allison Shay, accompanied by her boyfriend was driving from the University of Oregon to her home in the Bay area, but never made it. Allison’s frantic mom Marian hires the Nameless detective to find her daughter whose last known location is the Northern Comfort Cabins in Creekside, California; population 112 where the car broke down. Marian tells the sleuth she knows nothing about the boyfriend.

Nameless visits the cabins where he questions the proprietor Mr. Bartholomew about Allison. The owner tells the detective what he told the sheriff that he never saw the boyfriend nor when the couple left. Taking the same room that Allison occupied, Nameless, fearing the worst, questions the locals who at best are uncooperative and overtly hostile as the San Francisco detective has entered rustic hell.

This is an enjoyable reprint of a 1993 novella that focuses on an insular small population in which hate crimes are ignored by the community (think of the BSA and PSU scandals). Fast-paced with Nameless risking his life for the truth, the small-town cast never quite gels beyond the James Dickey Deliverance stereotypical cloning. Still this is a taut entry as the protagonist increasingly fears what he will have to do once he affirms his dreaded belief.

Harriet Klausner

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