RARA-AVIS: The Crimes of Jordan Wise by Bill Pronzini

From: Ed Lynskey ( e_lynskey@yahoo.com)
Date: 14 Apr 2007

I finally found a break in my reading schedule to enjoy Bill Pronzini's THE CRIMES OF JORDAN WISE. It's been discussed here, I believe. Jordan Wise is a meek accountant with a San Francisco building firm. He meets Annalise Bonner, a young, gorgeous clerk working in women's lingerie. As in any classic noir, Jordan falls for Annalise and concocts a slick scheme to embezzle $600,000 and go live high off the hog in the Caribbean Islands. This is in 1977.

Flash forward to the present. Jordan, 64, relates his three
"perfect crimes" to John Talley, a freelance writer visiting the islands in search of his next good story. Jordan certainly tells one. You can't help but think Mr. Pronzini might be the attentive Talley. CRIMES is drenched in setting, too. Rum. Sailing. Sunsets. Ex-pats. Jordan's sailing pal, Bone, is a full-fledged minor character who almost steals the show.

If you want to see what the author does outside his customary San Francisco locale, CRIMES shows he loses nothing. CRIMES is a fast, absorbing read, and I liked it as much as reading BLUE LONESOME, another one of Mr. Pronzini's standalones.



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