A conman always has a bag of tricks, ready to fool the unsuspecting, and almost everyone is unsuspecting until they get taken. When that happens, they turn to Carpenter and Quincannon, Professional Detective Services, to recover their money and what’s left of their dignity, and perhaps even to save their lives.
When one such case leaves Sabina Carpenter the only witness to a murder, the family of the culprit vows to stop at nothing to keep her silent. The threat leaves John Quincannon deeply concerned for Sabina’s safety, but there’s no rest for the wicked and so the crime-solving duo must split up to tackle two separate con games, run by two villains with deadly bags of tricks at hand.
And when Sabina’s life is put in danger, John must rush to save her while grappling with the terrifying realization of exactly how much she means to him.
In response to a string of gold thefts in a Mother Lode mine, Quincannon goes undercover as a newly-hired miner to identify and capture the men responsible.
Meanwhile, Sabina finds herself not only making plans for her and Quincannon’s wedding, but also investigating both an audacious real estate scam and an abusive young man’s villainous secret.
Jack Hollis had finally steeled himself for what had to be done: When a man is threatening your daughter and grandson, when reason can’t stop it, when restraining orders don’t work and the police can’t help, then a father’s choices are limited. David Rakubian was vicious, abusive, powerful, deadly — and Angela’s husband. Everyone Hollis knew, the members of his family, his friends, all wanted to help save Angela. But this was something Jack had to do himself: Failure would be costly; success just as risky. Now he waited across the road from Rakubian’s house, hoping he’d get home quickly, before he lost his nerve.
But Rakubian never got there, and the distraught father came up with another plan, something foolproof. Promising Rakubian a meeting with Angela so they could discuss their problems, he arranged for them to be somewhere isolated, somewhere a body could be easily disposed of, somewhere that would offer a perfect alibi.
But Rakubian never got there, either. And when Hollis finally tracks him down, he discovers that someone may have done his job for him. Now he doesn’t know who to protect: There are too many people who’d wanted to help Angela, too many suspects (including himself); so many people and no one saying a word.
Bill Pronzini, famed for his “Nameless” detective series, displays his darker side, along with his remarkable breadth, in this stunning collection of 19 stories.
We meet an array of characters fit for nightmares.
A hapless store clerk who only wants to “look” at a beautiful, naked young neighbor...
A woman trapped with a killer who just happened to wash ashore...
A good Samaritan who gives a lift to a madman...
A tormented husband who dreams of a little room of his own...
Stretching across five decades, here is a collection that demonstrates again Bill Pronzini’s mastery of popular fiction.