Russell Wren
Created by Thomas Berger

Thomas Berger, one of the most-respected American novelists of the last few decades, and the author of the classic anti-Western, Little Big Man, and the acclaimed Reinhart trilogy, set his sights on the conventions of the PI genre, with mixed results. This P.I. parody/travesty Who is Teddy Villanova? (1978), featuring New York eye RUSSELL WREN, was praised by a few critics, but most felt it was overblown, convoluted or, worse, just tedious. Baker and Nietzel, in One Hundred and One Knights, called it "unreadable and silly." Still, Berger stood by it, and even wrote a sequel.

Wren is an unlicensed P.I. with an unlicensed gun who scrapes by. He has the usual shabby life, and the usual shabby clients, for the most part, and his M.O. consists mainly of being hit on the head. He's hired to track down an international criminal, Teddy Villanova, but somehow he keeps getting mistaken for him. The plot swirls and swoops, and doesn't seem to go anywhere, although Chandler would have been pleased to see so many men coming in so many doors with so many guns...



Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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