Fresh from his recent marriage, the Nameless Detective returns to what appears to be a routine investigation, an adoption case. While searching through the effects of her recently deceased mother, twenty-three year old Melanie Ann Aldrich discovers some papers which show she was adopted. With her father dead as well, it seems unlikely she will ever find out why she was never told. So she hires Nameless to find her true parents. In the course of his investigation, Nameless quickly learns why Melanie's parents never told her she was adopted and why everyone is so eager to keep it quiet. Melanie's biological mother, an emotionally disturbed young woman who died in her early twenties of a brain tumor, was raped by a then teenage delinquent named Steven Chehalis. In his attempt to piece together the past, Nameless tracks down Chehalis only to discover that he's a serial rapist responsible for a large number of rapes and at least two murders as well. Nameless finds himself in a race to bring Chehalis to justice. Chehalis, aware of Nameless's intention, sets his psychotic sights on both his biological daughter, Melanie, and Nameless's new bride. Hardcase is Pronzini's most suspenseful mystery to date.
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by Bill Pronzini
"Nameless, Pronzini's veteran private eye, finally ties the knot with his longtime love, Kerry. Happiness is tempered with danger when a case involving an adopted child who wants more information about her birth parents becomes complex, with the discovery of serial murder and terrible secrets. Pronzini produces, as usual, an engrossing mystery while creating and sustaining complex characters. At first, John Michalski's narration is almost overwhelming: booming and brusque. As the listener becomes accustomed to his style, and he settles into the story, subtlety in his expressions of characters emerges. His forthright emotions and handling of understated personalities (like Kerry) keep the action real and make the frightening conclusion truly immediate. Although his Nameless may not be as restrained as some readers imagine, this full-bodied performance works well with the action and tension of the novel. M.A.M. (c) AudioFile 2002, Portland, Maine"
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