By Bill Pronzini

The writer of Blue Lonesome, a brand new York instances ebook evaluate outstanding booklet, has created one other gorgeous 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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Wanton temptress, tease, slut—she'd been called all of those things and she was all of those things ... "... " "No. " The mocking smile again. " "You know what else. Storm—" "I've got to run. " "Kent? " "Green's not a good color on you, George. " "Goddamn it—" "Don't curse at me. " "I'm sorry. " "I don't give pity fucks," she said. "Jesus! " "Good night, George. " I was angry and bitter and frustrated after she left, the way I always seemed to be when I saw her. Wanting her and hating her at the same time.

I wished I'd charged him seventy-five a night instead of sixty-five. Bet he'd have paid it, too. Must've had a thousand dollars or more stuffed into that pigskin wallet of his. Roll of bills fat enough to gag a sixty-pound Doberman. " John C. Faith, Los Angeles. Phony name if I ever heard one. What in hell could he want in a half-dead backwater like Pomo? Zenna Wilson HE SCARED ME half to death. And not just because he startled me, sneaking up as quiet as an Indian or a thief. My flesh went cold when I saw him looming there.

Perfect case in point: the long Kent-generated article last spring on alcoholism and its root causes in Pomo County. Isolation, alienation, high poverty level on and off the Indian rancherias, high jobless rate, high density of the homeless and elderly retirees and welfare recipients, lack of adequate social services—all the usual crap, re-shat and recycled. A temperance tract, in content and tone, on the insidious, long-range effects of John Barleycorn and his various spirited cousins. I wrote it drunk, of course.

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