But enough about the sartorial qualities of the cover. The book's protagonist is a man named Carmody, who appears in several short stories by Pronzini, including the one which was expanded into this novel. I'm not sure why the Alex Saxon name was used here, since the stories are all under Pronzini's own name. Maybe this was intended as the first of a series of men's adventure novels, since it has a lot in common with that genre, including a higher sleaze factor than Pronzini's novels under his own name. Not that the sleaze factor is very high.
Carmody lives on the island of Majorca and is a true tough guy who takes work as a bodyguard and does other jobs that require certain skills. This time he's hired by a woman named Gillian Waltham to guard her while she transports some stolen diamonds from Majorca to Amsterdam. After the transfer of the diamonds, she wants him to help her disappear completely. He has his suspicions about the job, but he takes it, and soon afterward the twists and turns begin. Of course Gillian was lying about almost everything, but that's the least of Carmody's problems. There's a mysterious patrón, a killer who loves his work, and betrayals all around.
Pronzini was at the beginning of his career with this book, but his skill is already evident. The local color is fine throughout, and the plotting is dandy. The characters are colorful, and the action scenes are very good.
A Run in Diamonds was published along with the Carmody stories in a collection called Carmody's Run, published as by Bill Pronzini.
Bonus feature: Since this is Pronzini/Muller day, I thought I'd reprint my account of a visit to Bill and Marcia about a year and a half ago, along with some links to my previous reviews. The links are below the story of the visit.
A Visit with the Mullzinis:
I'm visiting my daughter, Angela, and her husband, Tom, in sunny Sonoma, California. Today, Art Scott and Bruce Taylor came over from Livermore and Napa, respectively, and kidnapped me. Sort of. They said they had a big surprise for me, but they wouldn't say what it was. They just bundled me into Bruce's Honda CRV and took off for and undisclosed location somewhere in California. The surprise was a visit to the home of Bill Pronzini and Marcia Muller, two great writers whom it was a pleasure to see. But the real purpose of the visit was the guided tour of the finest collection of crime fiction west of the Mississippi: hardbacks, paperbacks, and pulps included. I've never seen such great stuff all in one place. There's no need for me to enumerate things. If you can think of a key crime fiction title, it was there. In jacket and signed. Okay, maybe not all of them, but wow. Just wow. And the pulps were amazing. The paperbacks, too. At least I own a couple of the paperbacks. Maybe one or two of the hardbacks. None of the pulps. It was tough not to writhe in envy, but I managed it. Bill, generous to a fault, even gave me a couple of his dupes. Art and Bruce gave me even more books. I have small pile of near mint Laser books and some other great crime paperbacks to take home with me. This was better than the Kayo haul And when we came back to Sonoma, Tom grilled some New York strip steaks, and Angela had mashed potatoes and salad and butter cake ready to go. All in all, a great day.
My review of The Sins of Jordan Wise.
My review of Vixen.
My review of Strangers.