I've read a fair amount of Bill Pronzini. I can't say I'm a fan per se, but he turns out solid work that doesn't disappoint (even if it doesn't always excite, either). I've also read some Barry Malzberg, although not very much; I really am not a fan, though he's important enough that I felt I should give him a try. These two writers are very different, in my experience with each, and never would I have ever linked the two of them together, hence my surprise and deep curiosity upon finding this book.
The premise of the book is a "ripper" type serial killer is terrorizing a tiny, upstate New York town, committing textbook-perfect crimes that leave no witnesses or clues. Victoria Broome, a semi-famous NYC writer, has returned to the town--her birthplace, which she detests--to write of it. Along with her is a Dr. Ferrera, a psychiatrist of dubious qualifications, who has an interesting theory: the killer is committing their crimes in a fugue state and doesn't know they are the Ripper, therefore anyone in Bloodstone could be the killer.
It sounds like a bit of silly premise, but Pronzini and Malzberg not only make it work, they make it exceptional. The book races along at an incredibly fast pace, ping-ponging back and forth in small snatches between numerous characters, progressing the story in tiny steps in quick succession, dropping numerous hints, red-herrings, leads and developing characters' individual traits and plots (and sub-plots) while we hurdle towards conflict (a few false seeming-endings) and conclusion. It's a truly wild roller-coaster ride of a novel and I loved it. It was a novel that could have easily become bogged down in its own complexity, but never is.
I've learned since buying this that Pronzini and Malzberg collaborated on three more novels after this one. Apart, I am not a tremendous fan of either writer, but if their other collaborative work is similar to this, I am definitely a fan of them working together and I'll definitely have to track down more of it.
THE RUNNING OF BEASTS is very much recommended.