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Endgame: A Nameless Detective Novel


Endgame: A Nameless Detective Novel

The newest installment in Bill Pronzini’s Nameless Detective series, ENDGAME serves up two cases: one involving Nameless and one involving Jake Runyon. Jake’s case takes him to a remote cabin several hours from the Bay Area office. Philip Dennison was supposed to be on a business trip, but ended up dead in a mountainous part of California. His wife wants to know why. Or maybe, more to the point, she wants to know who he was with. She’s pretty sure why he was there, and she doesn’t think the reason had anything to do with fishing.

"[H]ow the detectives handle their work --- with integrity, honesty and forthrightness --- is a refreshing departure from a host of shady operators out there."

Meanwhile, Nameless is chasing a missing wife whose husband is almost positive she didn’t leave on her own, because Alice suffers from agoraphobia --- the fear of places or situations that can prevent a person from stepping foot outside of their own home. James Cahill is worried sick and desperate for answers, but the police aren’t looking far beyond the husband for suspects, even though it appears there are plenty to choose from --- Mrs. Cahill’s sister, for instance. She and Alice had a rocky relationship, especially recently, according to her close friend. Speaking of that friend, though, is she reliable or trying to deflect suspicion from herself? And what about the threatening emails James found, allegedly from a woman claiming that Alice had plagiarized her work? To top it off, someone has suggested that James went out and found love elsewhere. Everyone agrees that passions were running high the day Alice disappeared. Just who had the most to gain from taking her out of the picture? That’s up to Nameless to find out.

Jake’s case has presented him with a moral dilemma. After a few days poking around in the mountains searching for information to satisfy his client, Mrs. Dennison, he is at a crossroads. He has figured out who was with her husband in the cabin, but now he is wondering whether he can trust the wife if he shares his knowledge. Why is she so adamant about knowing the name of her husband’s lover? Jake can think of several reasons, none of them leading to good outcomes. The last thing he wants is to be responsible for anyone else getting hurt. It’s a poser, all right. To Jake, Mrs. Dennison comes across as a woman who would definitely carry a grudge. So, should he or shouldn’t he?

Back in the office, Tamara --- Tamara of Many Moods --- is keeping things running smoothly, even though she’s also running through a great portion of her playbook of moods. Of course, that’s partially because she’s grappling with more than Agency problems. Her boyfriend, Horace, has sprung The Big Question on her, and she’s not sure she likes it one bit. At least, not right now. Really, what’s the hurry? Maybe she’s afraid he can’t be trusted. He says she’s the only woman for him, but is his love tainted by her steady income and secure position? After all, there was that one time with a woman named Mary…

These stories alternate and intertwine, making it feel like a slice in time at the detective agency. Tamara, Nameless and Runyon come across as flesh and blood. More importantly, how the detectives handle their work --- with integrity, honesty and forthrightness --- is a refreshing departure from a host of shady operators out there. Ask a question of any of the Nameless agents, and while you may not like the answer, you’ll get one free from double talk and lies. But to the real question: With a title like ENDGAME, is Pronzini planning for this to be the end of the series? He wouldn’t, would he? Nameless is simply too well-loved for that!

Reviewed by Kate Ayers on June 23, 2017

Endgame: A Nameless Detective Novel
by Bill Pronzini

  • Publication Date: June 13, 2017
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Forge Books
  • ISBN-10: 0765388189
  • ISBN-13: 9780765388186