The Crimes of Jordan Wise

ISBN: 0802714935
ISBN 13: 9780802714930
By: Bill Pronzini

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Reader's Thoughts


Although this is a dark read , it is an interesting look at the mind of a twisted man . Just a little bit masculine for my taste .


This is my first read by Pronzini. It was a fast exciting read. He builds characters without too much detail. It was interesting to see the changes in this man as his life unfolded.


Best Book I've read this year. The developement of the characters was excellent and the crimes were not overdone like some novels. I think in some cases keeping it basic produces the best results


The Crimes of Jordan Wise by Bill PronziniRATING: 4.5/B+GENRE/PUB DATE/# OF PGS: Mystery, 2006, 231 pgsTIME/PLACE: 1977-2005; San Francisco, St. Thomas, VICHARACTERS: Jordan Wise/accountantCOMMENTS: Jordan Wise is a mild-mannered, non-descript accountant for a large firm in San Francisco. He meets Annalise & knows he has to do something daring to have her. He embezzles $ in order to have a future w/ her. They move to St. Thomas but the $ isn't enough for Annalise & life in paradise is far from perfect.


It was interesting until he went on for what seemed like an entire chapter talking about sailing.

Sally Plunkett

This book is a great read, I highly recommend it to anyone.


RATING: 4.0Jordan Wise is the stereotypical accountant. A spinster schoolteacher would lead a more interesting life than he does. He's worked for the same corporation for many years; he's the kind of person who is so bland that you can't remember his name three seconds after being introduced. If you had to match his personality to a crayon color, it would be light gray. As the book opens in the present day, Jordan is talking with a journalist and drops the bombshell that he has pulled off three perfect crimes more than 20 years earlier. How could such a nebbish have been involved in anything more criminal than taking an extra piece of dry cleaning by accident? Certainly, there is more to the surface than meets the eye as far as Jordan is concerned.Of course, it's all because of a woman—isn't it always? Amazingly, Jordan meets a beautiful fashion designer named Annalise Bonner; and she shows some interest in him. That is the pivotal point that drives the entire book, to what lengths Jordan will go to have a relationship with Annalise. She is quite clear that if he can provide her with a luxurious lifestyle, then she'll stay with him. There's nothing about love in the equation. So the first thing that Jordan does is pull off a complicated corporate swindle while changing his identity to become "Richard Laidlaw". He and Annalise take the half million dollars he's stolen and go to the Virgin Islands.In an incredible piece of writing, Pronzini transforms Jordan into Richard, a completely different man in physical appearance, attitude and bearing. Richard is decisive and, unlike, Jordan, develops some passions in his life, particularly a love of sailing. I did feel that Pronzini went a bit overboard (no pun intended) with the sailing terminology as Richard pursued his interest, and there was one unconvincing reaction as far as Annalise was concerned that gave me pause several times. As you might imagine, the honeymoon doesn't last forever for Annalise and Richard/Jordan. The complications of their relationship drive the other two perfect crimes that Richard commits. Although he can gloat about his accomplishments, he loses more than he gains along the way.Pronzini is an astonishing author. Best known for the Nameless Detective series which is approaching 30 books in length, he has written several wonderful standalone novels as well, each of them very different from the other. THE CRIMES OF JORDAN WISE has everything that a reader could want—complex characters with layers of motivation, an engaging plot, crisp yet descriptive writing and some unexpected developments that keep the suspense high and the pace moving. CRIMES is a classic tale of love, lust, greed and betrayal; but as always, Pronzini adds his own twists that lift the book out of the ordinary into a new kind of contemporary noir classic.

Q. Kelly

What Makes a Perfect Murder?I’ve always wondered if a perfect murder counts if the killer feels compelled to dish all–and then actually dishes all. (For what is probably my favorite “perfect” murder book, check out Agatha Christie’s “And Then There Were None.”)Anyway, this book I’m reviewing is “The Crimes of Jordan Wise” by Bill Pronzini. It’s a pretty good perfect-murder book. The protagonist, Jordan Wise, starts with a totally different perfect crime, embezzling. The writing, in first person point of view, is smooth, engaging and accessible. It also caused me to wonder if a perfect crime is really perfect if it wreaks an emotional toll on the killer. What exactly is a perfect crime? Some people think a perfect murder is one in which people don’t know a death, or a crime, even occurred. This seems to be Jordan Wise’s school of thought.Is a murder perfect if one person finds out but never tells the cops? Again, I guess this depends on individual definitions of perfect. Jordan’s definition seems to shift often, and I don’t think he realizes it. Maybe the point of the book is that no crime can be perfect.All in all, I definitely recommend this book. I read the ebook version, which apparently had conversion issues from the print version. Namely, the issues are with many letter “u”s and letters “li.” If the print book was scanned for ebook, the program probably saw many “li”s as “u”s. This was not a huge deal to me and made for some entertaining new words. However, it boggles me to think no one would bother to do a simple scan/proofread of the ebook.


Not my favorite but still an interesting read.

Marion Mockridge

Audiobook narrated by my favorite Richard Ferrone: This is my favorite type of book, written in first person, with great character development, unpredictable plot and an unusual ending. Of course, the narrator makes a big difference. I wish it was a little longer.

Jenettha Baines

I absolutely loved this book! I read it over the course of one week and couldn't put it down. I read it at the gym and stayed on the treadmill and elliptical far pass my time. This man was brilliant even after he met his money hungry girlfriend. Most books and stories have it were the men lose everything because of a woman, but this man didn't. He played his cards well all the way to the end.


A meek accountant in an engineering firm meets a woman on the edge and commits a crime in order to be with her. Well written. I was able to read it in one day.

Glenn Russell

This Bill Pronzini novel is a compelling page-turner and will stick with you long after you have read the last page. Why? Because the story not only makes for good crime fiction but is a penetrating meditation on several philosophical questions: what is the nature of love; what means should we take to realize our dreams; how valuable are such things as friendship, peace of mind and knowing oneself? Since there are dozens of reviews already posted here, in the spirit of freshness, my focus will be on how first-person narrator/main character Jordan Wise relates to these philosophical questions.Love – At the beginning of the novel, it appears to be a clear-cut case of Jordan’s love for sexually-charged, alluring Annalise, his like-minded female alter-ego, a 26 year old willing to do anything for a life of excitement and living on the edge. But the more Jordan tells his tale, the more the plot thickens, a thickness that’s as dark and as rich as Jordan’s favorite rum, Arundel Cane, the only run he ever drinks. Jordan also loves sailing, especially as captain of his very own yawl, the feel of the wind in his face, the tropical sun overhead, the exhilaration of being on the wide, open sea. And Jordan comes to loves Bone, a fiercely independently minded Caribbean man whose skin is "the color of milk chocolate", an expert seaman who acts as his mentor, the man who later becomes Jordan’s best and only friend. Lastly, we come to understand Jordan has another love, perhaps his deepest love of all, a love that grounds him in the world and gives him a sense of identity, a very, very special identity – his perfect crimes. Realizing our Dreams – Oh, Jordan, through your well-calculated plan of embezzlement, you set yourself free from the work-a-day white-collar world of your office, where you spent ten years crunching numbers as a trustworthy, accountant. You can now live on a Caribbean island with your lover Annalise and take up sailing by day and drinking your rum and having great sex by night. What a life! What a dream come true! If only this life could go on and on for you. But there’s the rub. Life is forever changing, forever evolving or devolving – over time, the dream can vanish so quickly. And it did for you. Friendship --- Ancient philosophers from Plato to Aristotle to Cicero, Seneca and Epicurus put great emphasis on friendship as an indispensable part of the good life. Jordan’s friendship with Bone has all the soulful qualities those ancient philosophers spoke about in such glowing terms. When Bone is not longer a friend, Jordan finds out the hard way just how much wisdom is contained in the words of those Greco-Roman philosophers.Tranquility – Toward the end of the novel, when Jordan appears to have life on his own terms, we read, “the tight, structured little world I established for myself on St. Thomas was secure. I could continue to indulge my simple tastes for the rest of my life. I could be at peace. Only I wasn’t.” Rather than delving into the specifics of Jordan’s story, let’s pause and note how many ancient philosophers, most notably Epicurus, held ataraxia (a combination of tranquility and joy) to be life’s highest value and ultimate goal. Epicurus reasoned without ataraxis, without peace of mind, no matter whatever else a man or woman has in life, their life doesn’t amount to that much. Jordan lived his dream, at least for a number of years, but ultimately, it wasn’t enough. Know thyself – No doubt about Jordan having a dark side. He philosophizes about his own nature and human nature in general. How deep does his understanding go? Please get your hands on a copy of this fine novel and reach your own conclusions.

Tammy Rideout bowers

I stopped reading this. I dislike the characters. Storyline us dull. Too much sailing.


Pronzini is a fabulous mystery writer with fascinating characters, good plots and language that's expressive and true to life.

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