Rick Fallon’s wife always preferred the hum and scurrying activity of the city. Now recently divorced, he wants to recapture what he loves: silence. What better place to find solitude than a hiking excursion through Death Valley. The quest for silence will have to wait, however, when he discovers Casey Dunbar in a remote area of the desert, near death from exposure and dehydration. Casey’s eight-year-old son was kidnapped by her ex-husband, a seedy piano player; she was beaten for information in a fake exchange, before resigning herself to suicide.
Whether it’s because his ex-wife accused of him giving up his life or simply because he wants to finish what has been set in motion, Fallon decides to help Casey find her son (a boy who reminds him of his own son, dead three years ago in a car accident). A product of East L.A., a former MP, and an elite security guard at Unidyne, Fallon has connections to information, law enforcement skills, and, above all, tenacity. They are all put to use, as he scours Las Vegas, “the other side of silence,” and its environs for the piano player and his cronies.
The author of more than seventy novels, including the long-running Nameless Detective series, Bill Pronzini is also the writer of more than 300 short stories and novellas and an anthologist of mystery, western, and science fiction collections. The veteran mystery writer comes to this novel as a highly decorated award winner. A two-time nominee for the International Crime Writers Association’s Hammett Prize, he has also been honored with three Shamus Awards and The Eye, a Lifetime Achievement Award, from the Private Eye Writers of America. In addition, Pronzini has been nominated six times for an Edgar Award by the Mystery Writers of America. In 2008 he garnered their Grand Master designation.
A character-driven plot, tight storytelling, and insightful observations about the Southwest’s terrain and urban sprawl keep readers glued to Fallon’s nail-biting leads and dead ends. Once he crosses a law-breaking line, becomes involved in a death, and finds that Casey has also vanished, he is doubly determined to locate the boy and his mother before anyone else is injured, or even worse, murdered. When this charismatic hero tracks down the missing piece in the mother and son’s whereabouts, with the help of a fellow investigator, Fallon just may be able to find the silence he longs for—and even share that silence with another.