Wednesday, December 31, 2008

54. Dead Run by Bill Pronzini

Dead Run pictureOver the holidays, we went out to the teeny 4-Star Theatre in the Richmond district of San Francisco to see the excellent Sparrow. After, in looking for a place to eat, we found the Green Apple bookstore and I picked up Dead Run. The bookstore was really cool. Two separate stores, books everywhere, all kinds of nooks and crannies and a great range of new and used books. My only complaint is that it leans a bit towards the intellectual side and the science fiction and mystery sections were not treated very respectfully. Books were out of order, genres mixed up. Still, definitely worth a trip to the next time you are in SF. Actually that whole little Richmond district, though a bit farther out and not particularly glamourous was really quite enticing and I'd recommend it to those of you who have been to San Francisco a few times and want to get off the beaten path a bit. We had a fantastic meal of Burmese food there and there were a lot of other very enticing restaurants we passed.

Bill Pronzini is one of those prolific writers who has never hit it really big, but keeps producing quality work and maintains a lot of respect in the mystery and pulp community. I don't think I've ever read anything by him until Dead Run, but his name sure felt familiar to me.

I was enticed by the premise, a guy on a ferry that runs along the Malaysian coast gets caught up in trouble on the way to a new job just outside of Kuala Lumpur. It's a quick, entertaining read, as promised. The action and pacing are excellent. The atmosphere and locations are particularly well done. The beat-up old ferry, slums outside of KL, a rubber plantation and the deep jungle are all evocatively rendered. It leans a bit too much on a romantic plot (which is satisfying nonetheless) but overall delivers an entertaining action read. Good stuff. My guess is that Pronzini most of the time delivers the goods and you can probably find his books used for cheap, so if you ever do run across one and are looking for something to read, you probably have a good chance of being entertained if you buy it.

3 comments:

Lantzvillager said...

So it's a contemporary mystery?

Olman Feelyus said...

It was at the time! :)

Takes place in the mid/early '70s. Has a Desmond Bagley feel in terms of the locales and the relations between the white people and the locals, kind of a post-colonial thing.

Buzby said...

This book sounds cool. I am always enticed by mysteries set in Asia. It's on my list.