A Wasteland of Strangers by Bill Pronzini

By Bill Pronzini

The writer of Blue Lonesome, a brand new York occasions booklet evaluation extraordinary e-book, has created one other attractive novel of suspense. Set in a small, remoted city in Northern California, A barren region of Strangers is a fast moving, memorable tale concerning the arrival of a stranger--and the homicide of an attractive, lonely lady.

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In my mind's eye I could still see him, that scarred face and those awful eyes and enormous hands. Animal paws that could crush the life out of a person, that may well have blood on them already for all I know. Up to the devil's work, I thought, whoever he is and wherever he goes. If he stays in Pomo long enough, something terrible will happen. I wished Howard wasn't away traveling for his job until tomorrow night. With a man like that one in town, a woman and her little girl weren't safe alone in their own home.

Major boring on a good night, and this one wasn't good. The whole week hadn't been good. Maybe the last couple of months—maybe my whole life. I was afraid it was gonna turn into total crap and I didn't know what to do to keep that from happening. Talk to Anthony, sure. Pretty soon I'd have to. And he'd probably go ballistic, same as Daddy would when he found out. All Anthony cared about was cars, fast cars, and going down to Sears Point to watch the Formula One races and getting high and getting into my pants whenever I'd let him.

Blind drunk. Kent was amazed when he read the piece in print. About a quarter of it was borderline brilliant, some of the best writing I'd done in years, drunk or sober. The other three quarters was mostly incoherent. Sentences that made no sense, paragraphs that had little or no continuity, logic that was illogical, misquotes, even a couple of dangling participles. A shameful mess, in sum, from the first word to the final period. And the magnificent irony was, nobody noticed. We received not a single phone call or letter of protest.

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