Read: Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead by Sara Gran, 2011, 9780547428499.
I got sucked into reading this and that other Gran book by reading Gran's and Abbott, Jr.'s blog. I write sucked not suckered because this book is well, well above average. Not only that, Gran writes on some topics - mystical type stuff - that usually causes me to never touch a book let alone read it. As always, spoilers await.
DeWitt is the world's greatest detective (she says). About 40 years old, working out of San Francisco, and former protege of the famed New Orleans detective Constance Darling. DeWitt is back in New Orleans taking the case of a man still missing after Katrina.
DeWitt is a follower of the famous French detective Jacques Silette whose famed and frustrating book on detection, Detection, had been memorized by DeWitt. DeWitt is not conventional personally or conventionally. She spent time in what she says was not a mental hospital. She has been in shootings (a mysterious aside). She drinks and takes drugs. She follows omens. She follows Silette's theory of detection that is philosophical, not practical.
DeWitt is a bit of a mess. You learn she had crap parents who barely raised her in Brooklyn. She and her two best pals used to booze-and-dope-it around New York. One of her two best friends disappeared and was never found; DeWitt is haunted by that. DeWitt is trying to find a missing uncle, a District Attorney in New Orleans.
DeWitt sleuths. DeWitt questions the nephew. DeWitt searches the man's apartment. DeWitt meets local 18-year-old thugs. DeWitt suspects a thug, Andray. DeWitt does drugs. DeWitt remembers Constance and her murder in New Orleans. DewWitt works with another past protege of Constance.
DeWitt is threatened. DeWitt finds Missing DA was a serial pedophile. DeWitt buys a .38. DeWitt is clonked on the head. DeWitt figures out the killer. Killer is best pal of Andray. Andray set up clues and traps to muddy killer's identity DeWitt arranges for murderer to get federal custody and super-lawyer from New York.
1. As usual with a great mystery novel the mystery is not that important to me. The characters and how they live, think, and act are the most important.
2. Is Gran the one who does those Funny of Die clips that Abbott. Hr. links to? I cannot recall and will not bother to look. If so, Gran also writes for Southland on television I missed almost all of Season Four and put the DVD on hold at work. UPDATE: Thanks to Abbot, Sr. for commenting below that Alison Quinn is the video maker and TV writer.
3. Claire cared for goats while at the mental retreat. Same as Ellroy's Dwight Holly in Blood's A Rover.
4. Unconventional with all the mysticism but still a mystery. Still a search for a solution.
5. A tenet of Silette and DeWitt is that clients do not want the truth. Sometimes clients cannot accept the solution.
6. There were some good lines in here. Read it yourself to find them because I did not keep track.