Author Rating: C+

Deadfall (read 12/20/09) Meh

Reading this book was like examining an ancient record of a lost time — the early to mid 1980s. As I got ready to write this review, I did a search for any earlier post mentioning the author and discovered he was already on my banished list as a result of his short story in a very bad anthology of very bad mystery writers. This particular book wasn’t so awful that I stopped reading before the end, but it being relatively short was a significant factor in the decision to continue.

Apparently Pronzini wrote a series of “Nameless Detective” mysteries, this being number sixteen. Nameless is on a stakeout, waiting for some deadbeats to get home so he can repossess their car, when he hears two gunshots coming from a nearby home. He sees a figure running away and, upon entering the house, discovers the victim who he later learns is a gay man named Leonard whose wealthy brother had died falling from a cliff months earlier. Leonard’s “house mate,” who believes the two deaths are related, hires him to find the killer.

Pronzini treats homosexuals as if they are another species. He has no understanding of human sexuality. “Confirmed homosexuals couldn’t be seduced by a woman, of course.”

He is equally clueless about women, ascribing to Nameless’ girlfriend the kind of stupid responses to things that one expects from a man who sees women as a separate species as well.

What also becomes clear in reading this is how much Pronzini disapproves of pot smoking and is one of those misinformed people who insist that it is a “gateway” to heroin.

I’m giving Pronzini a C+ because, if you can ignore the cluelessness and can tolerate caricatures instead of characters, the story itself is plausible.