Pronzini, Bill 1943-

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Pronzini, Bill 1943-
(Hart Davis, Jack Foxx, William Jeffrey, a joint pseudonym, Alex Saxon)


PERSONAL:

Born April 13, 1943, in Petaluma, CA; son of Joseph (a farm worker) and Helene Pronzini; married Laura Patricia Adolphson, May 15, 1965 (divorced, 1967); married Brunhilde Schier, July 28, 1972 (marriage ended); married Marcia Muller (a writer), 1992. Politics: Liberal Democrat. Hobbies and other interests: Sports, old movies and radio shows, book collecting.

ADDRESSES:

Home—P.O. Box 2536, Petaluma, CA 94953-2536. Agent—Dominick Abel, Dominick Abel Literary Agency, 146 West 82nd St., #1B, New York, NY 10024.

CAREER:

Petaluma Argus-Courier, Petaluma, CA, reporter, 1957-60; writer, 1969—.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Scroll Award for best first novel, Mystery Writers Association, 1971, for The Stalker; Private Eye Writers of America award for best novel, 1981 and 1983, Lifetime Achievement Award, 1987; Shamus Award, 1992, for Hoodwink 1999, for Boobytrap.

WRITINGS:


CRIME NOVELS


The Stalker, Random House (New York, NY), 1971.

Panic!, Random House (New York, NY), 1972.

(Under pseudonym Alex Saxon) A Run in Diamonds, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1973.

Snowbound, Putnam (New York, NY), 1974.

Games, Putnam (New York, NY), 1976.

(With Barry N. Malzberg) The Running of Beasts, Putnam (New York, NY), 1976.

(With Barry N. Malzberg) Acts of Mercy, Putnam (New York, NY), 1977.

(With Barry N. Malzberg) Night Screams, Playboy Press (New York, NY), 1979.

A Killing in Xanadu, Waves Press, 1980.

Masques, Arbor House (New York, NY), 1981.

(With John Lutz) The Eye, Mysterious Press (New York, NY), 1984.

Quincannon, Walker (New York, NY), 1985.

(With wife, Marcia Muller) Beyond the Grave, Walker (New York, NY), 1986.

(With Marcia Muller) The Lighthouse, St. Martin's (New York, NY), 1987.

With an Extreme Burning, Carroll & Graf (New York, NY), 1994.

Blue Lonesome, Walker (New York, NY), 1995.

A Wasteland of Strangers, Walker (New York, NY), 1997.

Nothing but the Night, Walker (New York, NY), 1999.

Step to the Graveyard Easy, Walker (New York, NY), 2002.

(Under pseudonym Hart Davis; with Earl Derr Biggers) Charlie Chan in The Pawns of Death, 2002.

The Alias Man, Walker (New York, NY), 2004.

The Crimes of Jordan Wise, Walker (New York, NY), 2006.

"NAMELESS DETECTIVE" SERIES


The Snatch, Random House (New York, NY), 1971.

The Vanished, Random House (New York, NY), 1973.

Undercurrent, Random House (New York, NY), 1973.

Blowback, Random House (New York, NY), 1977.

(With Collin Wilcox) Twospot, Putnam (New York, NY), 1978.

Labyrinth, St. Martin's (New York, NY), 1980.

Hoodwink, St. Martin's (New York, NY), 1981.

Scattershot, St. Martin's (New York, NY), 1982.

Dragonfire, St. Martin's (New York, NY), 1982.

Bindlestiff, St. Martin's (New York, NY), 1983.

Casefile: The Best of the "Nameless Detective" Stories, St. Martin's (New York, NY), 1983.

Quicksilver, St. Martin's (New York, NY), 1984.

Nightshades, St. Martin's (New York, NY), 1984.

(With Marcia Muller) Double, St. Martin's (New York, NY), 1984.

Bones, St. Martin's (New York, NY), 1985.

Deadfall, St. Martin's (New York, NY), 1986.

Shackles, St. Martin's (New York, NY), 1988.

Jackpot, Delacorte (New York, NY), 1990.

Breakdown, Delacorte (New York, NY), 1991.

Quarry, Delacorte (New York, NY), 1992.

Epitaphs, Delacorte (New York, NY), 1992.

Demons, Delacorte (New York, NY), 1993.

Hardcase, Delacorte (New York, NY), 1995.

Sentinels, Carroll & Graf (New York, NY), 1996.

Spadework: A Collection of "Nameless Detective" Stories, Crippen & Landru (Norfolk, VA), 1996.

Illusions, Carroll & Graf (New York, NY), 1997.

Boobytrap, Carroll & Graf (New York, NY), 1998.

Crazybone, Carroll & Graf (New York, NY), 2000.

Bleeders, Carroll & Graf (New York, NY), 2002.

Scenarios: A "Nameless Detective" Casebook, Five Star (Waterville, ME), 2003.

Spook, Carroll & Graf (New York, NY), 2003.

Nightcrawlers, Forge (New York, NY), 2005.

Mourners, Forge (New York, NY), 2006.

NOVELS UNDER PSEUDONYM JACK FOXX


The Jade Figurine, Bobbs-Merrill (Indianapolis, IN), 1972.

Dead Run, Bobbs-Merrill (Indianapolis, IN), 1975.

Freebooty, Bobbs-Merrill (Indianapolis, IN), 1976.

Wildfire, Bobbs-Merrill (Indianapolis, IN), 1978.

NOVELS WITH JEFFREY M. WALLMANN; UNDER JOINT PSEUDONYM WILLIAM JEFFREY


Duel at Gold Buttes, Leisure Books (New York, NY), 1982.

Border Fever, Leisure Books (New York, NY), 1983.

Day of the Moon, R. Hale (London, England), 1983.

OTHER NOVELS


(With Barry N. Malzberg) Prose Bowl, St. Martin's (New York, NY), 1980.

(With Jack Anderson) The Cambodia File, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1981.

The Gallows Land, Walker (New York, NY), 1983.

Starvation Camp, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1984, reprinted, Berkley Books, (New York, NY), 2004.

The Last Days of Horse-Shy Halloran, M. Evans (New York, NY), 1987.

The Hangings, Walker (New York, NY), 1989.

Firewind, M. Evans (New York, NY), 1989.

STORY COLLECTIONS


Graveyard Plots, St. Martin's (New York, NY), 1985.

Small Felonies: Fifty Mystery Short Stories, St. Martin's (New York, NY), 1988.

The Best Western Stories of Bill Pronzini, Swallow Press (Athens, OH), 1990.

Carpenter and Quincannon: Professional Detective Services, Crippen & Landru (Norfolk, VA), 1998.

(With Marcia Muller) Duo, Five Star (Waterville, ME), 1998.

Sleuths, Five Star (Unity, ME), 1999.

More Oddments, Five Star (Waterville, ME), 2001.

Burgade's Crossing: Western Stories, Five Star (Waterville, ME), 2003.

(With Barry N. Malzberg) Problems Solved, Crippen & Landru (Norfolk, VA), 2003.

(With Barry N. Malzberg) On Account of Darkness and Other SF Stories, Five Star (Waterville, ME), 2004.

Quincannon's Game: Western Stories, Five Star (Waterville, ME), 2005.

Coyote and Quarter-Moon: Western Stories, Five Star (Waterville, ME), 2006.

NONFICTION


Gun in Cheek: A Study of "Alternative" Crime Fiction, Coward, McCann (New York, NY), 1982.

(With Marcia Muller) 1001 Midnights: The Aficionado's Guide to Mystery and Detective Fiction, Arbor House (New York, NY), 1986.

Son of Gun in Cheek, Mysterious Press (New York, NY), 1987.

Six-Gun in Cheek: An Affectionate Guide to the "Worst" in Western Fiction, Crossover Press (Minneapolis, MN), 1997.

EDITOR


(With Joe Gores) Tricks and Treats, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1976.

Midnight Specials: An Anthology for Train Buffs and Suspense Aficionados, Bobbs-Merrill (Indianapolis, IN), 1977.

Werewolf!: A Connoisseur's Collection of Werewolfiana, Arbor House (New York, NY), 1979.

The Edgar Winners: Thirty-third Annual Anthology of the Mystery Writers in America, Random House (New York, NY), 1980.

Voodoo!: A Chrestomathy of Necromacy, Arbor House (New York, NY), 1980.

Mummy!: A Chrestomathy of Crypt-ology, Arbor House (New York, NY), 1980.

The Arbor House Necropolis, Arbor House (New York, NY), 1981.

(With Barry N. Malzberg and Martin H. Greenberg) The Arbor House Treasury of Mystery and Suspense, Arbor House (New York, NY), 1981.

(With Barry N. Malzberg and Martin H. Greenberg) The Arbor House Treasury of Horror and the Supernatural, Arbor House (New York, NY), 1981, 2nd edition with introduction by Stephen King, Quill (New York, NY), 1991.

Creature!: A Chrestomathy of "Monstery," Arbor House (New York, NY), 1981.

Specter!: A Chrestomathy of "Spookery," Arbor House (New York, NY), 1982.

The Arbor House Treasury of Detective and Mystery Stories from the Great Pulps, Arbor House (New York, NY), 1983.

(With Martin H. Greenberg and Charles G. Waugh) Murder in the First Reel, Avon (New York, NY), 1985.

Wild Westerns: Stories from the Grand Old Pulps, Walker (New York, NY), 1986.

Tales of the Dead, Bonanza (New York, NY), 1986.

(With Barry N. Malzberg and Martin H. Greenberg) Mystery in the Mainstream: An Anthology of Literary Crimes, Morrow (New York, NY), 1986.

(With Martin H. Greenberg, Carol-Lynn Rossel Waugh) Manhattan Mysteries, Avenel, 1987.

(With Martin H. Greenberg and Marcia Muller) Lady on the Case, Bonanza (New York, NY), 1988.

More Wild Westerns, Walker (New York, NY), 1989.

(With Martin H. Greenberg and Barry N. Malzberg) Crime and Crime Again: Mystery Stories by the World's Greatest Writers, Bonanza (New York, NY), 1990.

(With Jack Adrian) Hard-Boiled: An Anthology of American Crime Stories, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1995.

Under the Burning Sun: Western Stories by H.A. DeRosso, Five Star (Unity, ME), 1997.

(With Martin H. Greenberg and Ed Gorman) American Pulp, Carroll & Graf (New York, NY), 1997.

Renegade River: Western Stories by Giff Cheshire, Five Star (Unity, ME), 1998.

Riders of the Shadowlands: Western Stories by H.A. DeRosso, Five Star (Unity, ME), 1999.

Heading West: Western Stories by Noel M. Loomis, Five Star (Unity, ME), 1999.

Stage Trails West: Western Stories, Five Star (Waterville, ME), 2002.

The Devil's Roundup: A Western Quintet, Five Star (Waterville, ME), 2002.

Marksman and Other Stories, Crippen & Landru (Norfolk, VA), 2002.

The Last Mustang: Western Stories, Five Star (Waterville, ME), 2003.

Outcasts of Rebel Creek: A Western Quartet, Five Star (Waterville, ME), 2004.

Erle Stanley Gardner, The Danger Zone and Other Stories, Crippen & Landru (Norfolk, VA), 2004.

The Phantom Bandit: Western Stories, Five Star (Waterville, ME), 2005.

Frank Bonham, High Iron: A Western Trio, Five Star (Waterville, ME), 2006.

Will Cook, Blood Sky: Western Stories, Five Star (Waterville, ME), 2006.

Erle Stanley Gardner, The Casebook of Sidney Zoom, Crippen & Landru (Norfolk, VA), 2006.

EDITOR, WITH BARRY N. MALZBERG


Dark Sins, Dark Dreams: Crime in Science Fiction, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1978.

The End of Summer: Science Fiction of the Fifties, Ace Books (New York, NY), 1979.

Shared Tomorrows: Science Fiction Is Collaboration, St. Martin's (New York, NY), 1979.

Bug-Eyed Monsters, Harcourt (Orlando, FL), 1980.

EDITOR, WITH MARTIN H. GREENBERG


The Arbor House Treasury of Great Western Stories, Arbor House (New York, NY), 1982.

The Lawmen, Fawcett (New York, NY), 1984.

The Outlaws, Fawcett (New York, NY), 1984.

The Reel West, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1984.

The Western Hall of Fame: An Anthology of Classic Western Stories Selected by the Western Writers of America, Morrow (New York, NY), 1984.

The Mystery Hall of Fame: An Anthology of Classic Mystery and Suspense Stories, Selected by the Mystery Writers of America, Morrow (New York, NY), 1984.

The Best Western Stories of Steve Frazee, Southern Illinois University Press (Urbana, IL), 1984.

The Best Western Stories of Wayne D. Overholser, Southern Illinois University Press (Urbana, IL), 1984.

Baker's Dozen: 13 Short Mystery Novels, Greenwich House, 1985.

Baker's Dozen: 13 Short Espionage Novels, Bonanza (New York, NY), 1985.

Women Sleuths, Academy Chicago (Chicago, IL), 1985.

The Ethnic Detectives: Masterpieces of Mystery Fiction, Dodd, 1985.

Police Procedurals, Academy Chicago (Chicago, IL), 1985.

The Cowboys, Fawcett (New York, NY), 1985.

The Warriors, Fawcett (New York, NY), 1985.

The Second Reel West, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1985.

A Treasury of Civil War Stories, Bonanza (New York, NY), 1985.

A Treasury of World War II Stories, Bonanza (New York, NY), 1985.

The Railroaders, Fawcett (New York, NY), 1986.

The Third Reel West, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1986.

The Steamboaters, Fawcett (New York, NY), 1986.

Great Modern Police Stories, Walker (New York, NY), 1986.

101 Mystery Stories, Avenel (New York, NY), 1986.

Locked Room Puzzles, Academy Chicago (Chicago, IL), 1986.

Prime Suspects, Ivy (Branson, MO), 1987.

Uncollected Crimes, Walker (New York, NY), 1987.

Suspicious Characters, Ivy (Branson, MO), 1987.

The Horse Soldiers, Fawcett (New York, NY), 1987.

The Best Western Stories of Lewis B. Patten, Southern Illinois University Press (Carbondale, IL), 1987.

The Cattlemen, Fawcett (New York, NY), 1987.

The Gunfighters, Fawcett (New York, NY), 1988.

The Texans, Fawcett (New York, NY), 1988.

Criminal Elements, Ivy (Branson, MO), 1988.

Baker's Dozen: 13 Short Detective Novels, Bonanza (New York, NY), 1988.

Cloak and Dagger: A Treasury of 35 Great Espionage Stories, Avenel, 1988.

The Mammoth Book of Private Eye Stories, Carroll & Graf (New York, NY), 1988.

Homicidal Acts, Ivy (Branson, MO), 1989.

Felonious Assaults, Ivy (Branson, MO), 1989.

The Californians, Fawcett (New York, NY), 1989.

The Best Western Stories of Loren D. Estleman, Swallow Press (Athens, OH), 1989.

The Best Western Stories of Frank Bonham, Swallow Press (Athens, OH), 1989.

The Arizonans, Fawcett (New York, NY), 1989.

New Frontiers, Volume 1, Tor Books (New York, NY), 1990.

New Frontiers, Volume 2, Tor Books (New York, NY), 1990.

The Northerners, Fawcett (New York, NY), 1990.

The Northwesterners, Fawcett (New York, NY), 1990.

The Best Western Stories of Ryerson Johnson, Swallow Press (Athens, OH), 1990.

The Montanans, Fawcett (New York, NY), 1991.

The Best Western Stories of John Jakes, Ohio University Press (Athens, OH), 1991.

The Best Western Stories of Les Savage, Jr., Ohio University Press (Athens, OH), 1991.

Christmas Out West, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1991.

The Best Western Stories of Ed Gorman, Ohio University Press (Athens, OH), 1992.

Combat! Great Tales of World War II, Signet, 1992.

The Mammoth Book of Short Spy Novels, Carroll & Graf (New York, NY), 2004.

EDITOR, WITH MARCIA MULLER


The Web She Weaves: An Anthology of Mystery and Suspense Stories by Women, Morrow (New York, NY), 1983.

Child's Ploy: An Anthology of Mystery and Suspense Stories, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1984.

Witches' Brew: Horror and Supernatural Stories by Women, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1984.

Chapter and Hearse: Suspense Stories about the World of Books, Morrow (New York, NY), 1985.

Dark Lessons: Crime and Detection on Campus, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1985.

Kill or Cure: Suspense Stories about the World of Medicine, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1985.

The Wickedest Show on Earth: A Carnival of Circus Suspense, Morrow (New York, NY), 1985.

The Deadly Arts, Arbor House (New York, NY), 1985.

She Won the West: An Anthology of Western and Frontier Stories by Women, Morrow (New York, NY), 1985.

Detective Duos, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1997.

Oddments: A Short Story Collection, Five Star (Unity, ME), 2000.

Noel M. Loomis, Heading West: Western Stories, G.K. Hall (Boston, MA), 2000.

Vanished, G.K. Hall (Boston, MA), 2000.

Beyond the Grave, G.K. Hall (Boston, MA), 2001.

H.A. DeRosso, Tracks in the Sand: Western Stories, Five Star (Unity, ME), 2001.

All the Long Years: Western Stories, Five Star (Unity, ME), 2001.

(With Jeff Wallmann) Border Fever, G.K. Hall (Boston, MA), 2001.

(With Jeff Wallmann) Duel at Gold Buttes, G.K. Hall (Boston, MA), 2001.

In an Evil Time, Walker (New York, NY), 2001.

OTHER


Contributor to anthologies, including 100 Great Science Fiction Short Short Stories, 1978; Shadows, 1978; The Master's Choice Book 2, 1979; Shadows 2, 1979; Shadows 3, 1980; The Giant Book of Horror Stories, 1981; Great Tales of Mystery and Suspense, 1981; 100 Great Fantasy Short Short Stories, 1984; Realms of Darkness, 1985; Shadows 8, 1985; A Treasury of American Horror Stories, 1985; Hallowe'en Horrors, 1986; The Mammoth Book of Private Eye Stories, 1988; The Mammoth Book of World War II Stories, 1989; Diagnosis—Terminal: An Anthology of Medical Terror, 1996; and Dangerous Vegetables, 1998. Also contributor to periodicals, including Galaxy Science Fiction, Argosy, Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, and Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction.

Pronzini's books have been translated into eighteen languages and published in more than thirty countries. His manuscripts are collected at the Mugar Memorial Library, Boston University.

ADAPTATIONS:

Several of Pronzini's books have been adapted for film, including The Jade Figurine, Snowbound, Columbia Pictures, Panic!, Hal Wallis Produc- tions, Games, Sara Films, Night Screams, Soge Films, and The Lighthouse. The short story "Liar's Dice" was adapted as the television movie Tails You Live, Heads You're Dead, USA Cable, 1995.

SIDELIGHTS:

"Some mystery writers start big, with an instant classic," reflected a St. James Guide to Crime and Mystery Writers contributor. "Others, like Bill Pronzini, seem to improve from book to book, building a solid professional foundation." In more than fifty published works, including the popular "Nameless Detective" series, Pronzini has established his reputation as a crafter of taut thrillers with characters who are "superb, complex yet appealing," to quote a Publishers Weekly contributor. Winner of the Private Eye Writers of America Lifetime Achievement Award, Pronzini is seen as one of the few remaining practitioners of the noir tradition in fiction and, in the words of Booklist correspondent Wes Lukowsky, the author is "a consistently entertaining craftsman."

A former newspaper reporter, Pronzini made his fiction debut in 1971 with The Stalker, a novel about a group of ex-servicemen-turned-robbers who are exterminated one by one as terror and suspicion grow among the survivors. "It's a classic situation and Pronzini does well by it," declared the St. James Guide to Crime and Mystery Writers essayist. The Stalker netted its author his first Mystery Writers of America award nomination.

But Pronzini's signature character was yet to emerge. The Nameless Detective, who was introduced in novel form in 1971's The Snatch, is a San Francisco sleuth whose everyman qualities more than make up for his lack of identity. Over the years, Nameless has survived an assassination attempt (in the short story "Private Eye Blues"), attended a pulp collectors' convention (Hoodwink, a Private Eye Writers of America winner for best novel of 1981), and investigated a mystery connected with the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II (Quicksilver).

Quicksilver, commented the St. James Guide to Crime and Mystery Writers writer, "was followed by four more good Nameless novels, Double, Nightshades, Bones, and Deadfall. Nothing, however, was to prepare the reader for the revelation and insight of his next case, recounted in Shackles. Here the detective is kidnapped and shackled to the wall of a remote mountain cabin, facing a slow death once a small quantity of food has run out." The essayist continued: "The reader spends 90 days and nearly half the book with Nameless chained to that wall, and when he finally escapes and sets out to find his captor, he is a changed man in many ways."

Nameless did indeed return as an "older and wiser" private eye in the follow-up book, Jackpot. "When he is taunted by a younger, more powerful gang leader, the reader is full of sympathy for him," wrote the St. James Guide to Crime and Mystery Writers contributor. The book also examines Nameless's ongoing romance with longtime girlfriend, Kerry, whom he marries in 1995's Hardcase.

Aging his character throughout the series, Pronzini develops the "tough, terse, hardworking and honorable PI," as a Publishers Weekly critic called him, through late middle age in Demons. In this episode, Nameless must overcome his reluctance to handle divorce cases to track down a philandering husband in a story that escalates into a hostage crisis. In Boobytrap, a 1998 Nameless title, the weary detective is pushing sixty and unable to reconcile himself to his partner's death. Nevertheless, as a Publishers Weekly correspondent observed: "Nameless is aging with grace and sensitivity and no loss of his macho appeal. Pronzini plays his readers expertly, hooking them with a credible cast and setting his plot line with just the right amount of tension." Citing the overall quality of the author's work, Wes Lukowsky stated in Booklist that the Nameless series is one that, "taken in total, forms a multivolume novel with all the depth and character development of the best fiction."

In Crazybone, a more recent book in the "Nameless Detective" series, Pronzini features Nameless investigating why the widow of a young computer consultant refuses to cash in a 50,000-dollar life insurance policy after the man's death. Another murder soon occurs and seems to tie in with the insurance case. As a result, Nameless begins to think that the man's death is not just about money. Wes Lukowsky, writing in Booklist, commented that the "novel functions as both a masterfully plotted, stand-alone mystery and as another chapter in the" life of "Nameless." A Publishers Weekly contributor wrote that the author "can be funny without being mean or silly … and never fails to play fair with the reader."

Nameless returns in Bleeders. This time the detective is on the trail of blackmailer whose victim is also crooked. Booklist contributor Lukowsky noted: "Nameless finds closure with his would-be killer in a surprising fashion." Writing in Publishers Weekly, a reviewer commented: "The settings, from the city's slums to its coastal highways, are vividly drawn." With Scenarios: A "Nameless Detective" Casebook the author compiled fourteen short stories about the famed detective Nameless. Presented in chronological order as Nameless ages through the series, the stories provide readers with a look at the detective in various phases of his career and life. Wes Lukowsky, writing in Booklist, commented that "fans will treasure the compressed overview … provided by these carefully arranged stories."

Although Pronzini left the future adventures of Nameless questionable in Bleeders, the detective returns once again in Spook. This installments finds Nameless and his now full-time partner, Tamara Corbin, and new partner and ex-cop Jake Runyon investigating the violent death of a homeless man, referred to as Spook. A Kirkus Reviews contributor called Spook the "dad-blasted best outing [in the series] in years."

In 2005's Nightcrawlers, Nameless is sixty-one years old and semi-retired but nevertheless working on a case involving his partner Tamara Corbin, a psychopath, and a kidnapping. Meanwhile, Nameless's other partner, Jake Runyan, is investigating the beating of his gay son's lover. A Kirkus Reviews contributor called this novel "decently written and briskly paced." Nameless finds himself investigating the reasons why a wealthy man keeps showing up at the funerals of women who met violent deaths in the 2006 series installment, Mourners, which Booklist contributor Lukowsky described as "a dark, foreboding entry in a classic series."

Admiring notices also greeted the release of Blue Lonesome, a non-Nameless novel published in 1995. The plot opens with Jim Messenger, a single CPA, focusing his attention on another solitary soul, a woman who dines alone at the same San Francisco eatery Messenger frequents. Her reported suicide leads the accountant into detective work as he seeks her identity and uncovers murder and a cover-up in a small Nevada town. The author, according to a Publishers Weekly contributor, adeptly uses "both the stark desert setting and knowledgeable digressions about jazz to evoke the loneliness at the heart of the tale." To a Rapport reviewer, Pronzini shows he is "a fabulous craftsman, weaving a richly chromatic tale of midlife doldrums, an enigmatic crime, … and a beautifully realized ensemble of characters that blossoms in the stark, still spaces of grit and sagebrush."

Pronzini and fellow thriller-writer Jack Adrian joined forces to edit 1995's Hard-Boiled: An Anthology of American Crime Stories—a work, according to John Litwiler, that "traces the development of American noir fiction from its origins in the 1920s to the present." Writing in the Chicago Tribune, Litwiler added that noir "is a specialized kind of crime fiction that [the book's] 17-page introduction attempts to define with incomplete success." On the other hand, Times Literary Supplement critic David Flusfeder found that the coeditors "give a good, brisk introductory history of the genre, even if they sometimes lapse into crassness or adopt a prissy tone. They take us from the first dime novel in 1860; to 1895, when Argosy magazine changed from smooth paper to cheaper wood pulp paper stock, thus giving birth to pulp fiction [to the mid-century] and the golden age of the hard-boiled pulp magazine. The pulps lasted until the 1950s, when television saw them off. But the genre survives."

The genre's survival has been helped along by Pronzini and his mystery-writer wife, Marcia Muller, who have written and edited many volumes together. Among these are Duo, the first in Five Star Press's series of library editions of mystery short stories and novels. In Booklist, Lukowsky suggested that Duo "reflects the craftsmanship, breadth of imagination, and humor of both authors."

Returning to fiction, Pronzini's Nothing but the Night provides yet another new entry to the noir genre. The dark thriller follows two characters, a wealthy California vintner with demons in his past and a young drifter bent upon seeking revenge upon the hit-and-run driver who left his wife in a coma. In the New York Times Book Review Marilyn Stasio described the story as "a split-screen narrative about two tortured psyches that circle each other warily." A Publishers Weekly reviewer concluded that Pronzini "pulls readers' strings like the expert he is, keeping them unsure of whose side to take and whom to believe," while Library Journal critic Molly Gorman concluded: "This taut thriller is a fascinating read."

Pronzini tells of a father out to protect his daughter in In an Evil Time. Jack Hollis decides to kill his daughter's stalking ex-husband only to find him dead after arranging a meeting. Jack thinks the killer may be his son Eric, so he hides the body, only to later receive a threatening note indicating that someone knows what he has done. Lukowsky, once again writing in Booklist, commented: "The tension is almost unbearable at times, and the conclusion is a very logical surprise." A Publishers Weekly contributor wrote that the author "pulls out all the stops as he builds up to a very tricky ending."

Very ordinary protagonists are featured in Step to the Graveyard Easy and The Crimes of Jordan Wise. In the former, Matthew Cape is a lackluster salesman who leaves his family to lead an exciting life. Cape ends up in San Francisco where he meets two criminals who lead him to become involved in murder. Wanted by the police, Cape must set out to redeem himself. "The suspense is pitched so high that one finds oneself turning the pages faster and faster," wrote Fred Gervat in the Library Journal. A Publishers Weekly contributor noted the author's "lean, tart dialogue and snappy pacing." In The Crimes of Jordan Wise, a writer meets a nondescript man, Jordan Wise, a Virgin Islands bar; Wise claims to have committed three perfect crimes. As the writer listens to the man's tale, which serves as the narrative backdrop, he ponders whether Wise is telling him the story out of guilt or vanity. David Wright, writing in Booklist, called the novel a "deftly plotted thriller [that] unfolds with the methodical poise of his antihero." A Kirkus Reviews contributor observed that the author's "energy seems undiminished and his cool intelligence as appealing as ever."

Pronzini's The Alias Man tells the story of a man with multiple identities whose relationship with three women may be his downfall. "Most satisfying is the evolution of the victims, as each learns to compensate" for being duped by the same man, wrote Wes Lukowsky in Booklist. Library Journal contributor Kim Uden Rutter similarly felt that the "book's appeal lies in the examination of each woman's devastation."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:


BOOKS


St. James Guide to Crime and Mystery Writers, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1996.

PERIODICALS


Booklist, September 1, 1993, Wes Lukowsky, review of Demons, p. 41; November 1, 1995, Wes Lukowsky, review of Blue Lonesome, p. 457; August, 1998, Wes Lukowsky, review of Boobytrap, p. 1977; October 15, 1998, Budd Aruthur, review of Riders of the Shadowlands: Western Stories by H.A. DeRosso, p. 400; November 15, 1998, Wes Lukowsky, review of Carpenter and Quincannon: Professional Detective Services, p. 572; December 1, 1998, Wes Lukowsky, review of Duo, p. 654; April 15, 1999, Wes Lukowsky, review of Nothing but the Night, p. 1484; May 1, 2000, Wes Lukowsky, review of Crazybone, p. 1623; December 15, 2000, Wes Lukowsky, review of All the Long Years, p. 786; February 15, 2001, Wes Lukowsky, review of In an Evil Time, p. 1120; November 15, 2001, Wes Lukowsky, review of Bleeders, p. 558; December 1, 2002, Wes Lukowsky, review of Spook, p. 650; June 1, 2003, Wes Lukowsky, review of Scenarios: A "Nameless Detective" Casebook, p. 1750; May 15, 2004, Wes Lukowsky, review of The Alias Man, p. 1602; February 1, 2005, Wes Lukowsky, review of Nightcrawlers, p. 947; March 15, 2005, Wes Lukowsky, review of The Phantom Bandit, p. 1263; September 15, 2005, David Pitt, review of Quincannon's Game: Western Stories, p. 37; January 1, 2006, Wes Lukowsky, review of Mourners, p. 70; May 1, 2006, David Wright, review of The Crimes of Jordan Wise, p. 38.

Chicago Tribune, November 12, 1995, John Litwiler, review of Hard-Boiled: An Anthology of American Crime Stories.

Kirkus Reviews, October 15, 2001, review of Bleeders, p. 1457; November 1, 2001, review of More Oddments: A Short Story Collection, p. 1521; April 15, 2002, review of Step to the Graveyard Easy, p. 531; November 1, 2002, review of Spook, p. 1575; March 15, 2003, review of Marksman and Other Stories, p. 430; May 15, 2004, review of The Danger Zone and Other Stories, p. 474; February 1, 2005, review of Nightcrawlers, p. 154; January 1, 2006, review of Mourners, p. 19; May 1, 2006, review of The Crimes of Jordan Wise, p. 441.

Library Journal, May 15, 1999, Molly Gorman, review of Nothing but the Night, p. 128; April 1, 2002, Fred Gervat, review of Step to the Graveyard Easy, p. 142; January, 2003, Rex E. Klett, review of Spook, p. 163; June 1, 2004, Kim Uden Rutter, review of The Alias Man, p. 123; July 15, 2006, Andi Shechter, "Marcia Muller & Bill Pronzini," interview with Bill Pronzini and Marcia Muller.

New York Times Book Review, March 2, 1980, Newgate Callendar, "The Edgar Winners," p. 21; September 13, 1987, Newgate Callendar, review of Gun in Cheek, p. 46; July 25, 1999, Marilyn Stasio, review of Nothing but the Night, p. 20.

Publishers Weekly, August 2, 1993, review of Demons, p. 65; August 28, 1995, review of Blue Lonesome, p. 105; August 17, 1998, review of Bobbytrap, p. 52; October 26, 1998, review of Carpenter and Quincannon, p. 47; November 16, 1998, review of Duo, p. 58; May 10, 1999, review of Nothing but the Night, p. 61; June 19, 2000, review of Crazybone, p. 63; October 23, 2000, "What's Your MOTIVE?," interview with Bill Pronzini, p. 43; March 26, 2001, review of In an Evil Time, p. 61; November 19, 2001, review of Bleeders, p. 50; June 10, 2002, review of Step to the Graveyard Easy, p. 42; December 9, 2002, review of Spook, p. 66; June 7, 2004, review of The Alias Man, p. 33; February 21, 2005, review of Nightcrawlers, p. 161; December 12, 2005, review of Mourners, p. 41.

Rapport, Volume 19, number 3, 1996, review of Blue Lonesome, p. 28.

Times Literary Supplement, December 29, 1995, David Flusfeder, review of Hard Boiled, p. 19.

ONLINE


Agony Column Book Reviews and Commentary,http://trashotron.com/agony/ (September 9, 2006), Terry D'Auray, reviews of The Alias Man and Spook.

Bleeker Books,http://www.bleekerbooks.com/ (September 9, 2006), information on Bill Pronzini and his publications.

Fantastic Fiction,http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/ (September 9, 2006), information on Bill Pronzini and his publications.

Internet Book List,http://www.iblist.com/ (September 9, 2006), brief profile of Bill Pronzini.

Internet Movie Database,http://www.imdb.com/ (September 9, 2006), information on Pronzini's film work and book adaptations.

Thrilling Detective,http://www.thrillingdetective.com/ (September 9, 2006), information on Bill Pronzini and his books.

Who Dunnit,http://www.who-dunnit.com/ (September 9, 2006), brief profile of Bill Pronzini.