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*Starred Review* Verity Daniels recently inherited a considerable sum and decides to live the good life in San Francisco. But life isn't all sunshine and lollipops. Someone is threatening to harm her unless she gives them $10,000. She's distrustful of the police so she hires Nameless' detective agency to deal with the threat. With Bill, the agency owner, on temporary leave to deal with the recent trauma his wife experienced (Hellbox, 2012), the case falls to Jake Runyon. The client seems more flirty than terrified, and Jake proceeds warily. A couple of aborted money drops later, Jake finally abandons the case after he rebuffs Daniels' aggressive sexual advances. She sues, alleging he was the aggressor. As annoying as lawsuits can be, they don't compare to a murder charge, which is what Runyon faces after Daniels is found dead with a button from Jake's sport coat clenched in her fist. Bill swings out of partial retirement, and Tamara, the office manager and Internet whiz, shifts into overdrive to help their beleaguered colleague. What they find is a string of embittered former lovers and a fiancewho likely committed suicide rather than deal with Daniels' wrath. There isn't a significant award for crime fiction that Pronzini hasn't won, and this is a fine sample of his work. His core of protagonists continues to evolve, his plotting is always masterful, and his shifting narrative viewpoints add additional context to the work. Never, ever miss a Nameless case.--Lukowsky, Wes Copyright 2010 Booklist
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Jake Runyon, Nameless's partner in his San Francisco detective agency, takes an extortion case in MWA Grand Master Pronzini's solid 38th Nameless Detective novel (after 2012's Hellbox). Verity Daniels, who recently came into money, receives a threatening call from a man demanding that she pay $10,000-or he'll expose something from her past that will put her in prison. Verity insists to Runyon she has no skeletons in her closet, and that her fiance's accidental death was just that. Runyon agrees to work with her to nab the extortionist, but something about her story doesn't add up. He's even more skeptical when the blackmailer is a no-show for an arranged drop-off of the cash. Meanwhile, Nameless is tending to the home front (his wife, Kerry, is still recovering from wounds received while being held hostage), but rapidly changing developments in the extortion case, including murder, bring him back into the fray. Fans of well-written, unspectacular mysteries will find this an engaging quick read. Agent: Dominick Abel, Dominick Abel Literary Agency. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.