I read The Crimes of Jordan Wise when it first came out, of course. Pronzini is, after all, my favorite writer. I consider this to be the best of his books. I don't think I've read them all, but I have read most of them. The man is incredibly prolific.

The Crimes of Jordan Wise is different than the majority of Pronzini's books. A good portion of it is devoted to lovingly depicted scenes of boats and sailing. His descriptions are so detailed and evocative. He really puts the reader into his south sea settings.

The Crimes of Jordan Wise isn't mystery. As the title suggests, we know that Wise is a criminal from the start. The first person narrative carries us into the web that his mind is. Jordan Wise is a smart man. Brilliant, possibly. In the name of love, or more likely lust, Jordan Wise devises an ingenious scheme to embezzle money and escape from his dull like. It works, but that's just the beginning of his transgressions. His crime follows him and begets further criminal actions.

The scary thing about this book is, Pronzini puts the reader inside Wise's brain so deeply that we emphasize with him. We want him to get away with his acts and to prosper. At least for a time. Gradually we see what a son of a bitch the man is.

The Crimes of Jordan Wise is, I think, a morality tale. Just as many of Pronzini's stories are. Crime most certainly does not pay in his fiction.

Most people that come to this site are horror readers. I certainly am. But suspense is horror's first cousin. Many classics that are considered horror could just as easily be considered suspense fiction: Psycho, The Silence of the Lambs, The Girl Next Door, Misery...I could go on and on.

And my God, what a movie this could make! The exotic locales, the scenes of sailing and turbulent seas, romance, deception, a gruesome scene in an old graveyard...yet we see tired retreads at the multiplexes over and again.

I urge everyone to read The Crimes of Jordan Wise. Not only is it my favorite Pronzini, it's one of my favorite novels of all time. It's available in e-book form, and used copies can be had for a song.

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