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Posted: July 24, 2022

Proclaimed mastery is not evident in Camouflage

Book Review

By Derryll White

Pronzini, Bill (2011).  Camouflage – A Nameless Detective Novel.

Bill Pronzini was a gift from Tony Hillerman. I had never heard of him before. Hillerman published one of his short stories. Pronzini has more than 40 ‘Nameless Detective’ mysteries published, the character a self-confessed manifestation of himself.

The ‘Nameless’ character is not bold or a stand-out in this novel. The reader is often left wondering how everything ties together.  There is not a lot of gratuitous violence, a plus for sure, but the action often does not seem to complete.

Pronzini was named a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America in 2008.  His mastery does not seem evident in ‘Camouflage.’


Excerpt from the novel:

RACISM – No, what he listened to was right-wing hate radio.

That was the correct term.  Limbaugh, Beck, the rest of them – a peck of greed-driven racist hatemongers hiding behind the cloak of patriotism.  He’d been assaulted by that kind of crap all his life, on and off the radio and television.  Down in El Centro when he was growing up and before and after he joined the county sheriff’s department, even up here in liberal San Francisco.  Wetback, spic, greaser – he’d heard all the epithets dozens of times and been called worse to his face.  Heard “close the borders,” “go back to Mexico where you belong,” “keep America safe for Americans.”  Well, the Chavezes were as American as Limbaugh and Beck, every one of them born and raised in this country.

– Derryll White once wrote books but now chooses to read and write about them.  When not reading he writes history for the web at

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