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[UNABRIDGED] (Audio CD)
by Bill Pronzini (Author)
"The bitterest of woes is to remember old happy days." At least that's what old man Pietro Lombardi thinks. He's got la miseria and can't even play a peaceful round of Sunday bocce with his friends at Aquatic Park. That is, until he sees the "Nameless Detective" at an opposite bench - another romantic taking in what's left of the Italian-American essence of the neighborhood. A shared burden being a lesser load, Pietro enlists his paesan's help with a troubling family matter. It seems his granddaughter, Gianna, is being harassed and needs some looking after. For old time's sake, Nameless agrees to check things out. Nameless quickly finds that Gianna is in hotter water than Pietro can imagine. The smarmy landlord who was hassling her is now black-and-blue and apologetic, her roommate is a little more than friendly in a very cheap sort of way, and Gianna is nowhere to be found. Even though his instincts tell him to leave well enough alone, Nameless searches for Pietro's "beauty of beauties" in the muck of a lascivious underworld full of loudmouthed liars, sleazy pornographers, and cold-blooded killers. After uncovering the horrific truth about Gianna, Nameless is far out of his depth. His investigative tracks have been spotted and leave him vulnerable to the wrath of Gianna's tormentors. Not only is Nameless a witness to the seedy behavior of the group, he has been reeled into a trap. In the end it's all Nameless can do to ensure that his epitaph will not be among those that are popping up around him.