Despite her almost-psychic abilities of deduction, hard-drinking Claire is a spiritual heir of Philip Marlowe and other loners solving cold-hearted crimes in warm climates ... Sara Gran (Dope) wrote urban noir before turning to mystery, and her descriptions of dead-eyed teen drug dealers in matching white tanks and baggy jeans have the precision of HBO's The Wire.
As the plot twists, you feel like Claire is always one step ahead, understanding each clue’s depth before you can put the pieces together. The mystery of Vic Willing’s disappearance pulls you in, but Gran’s enticing characters will keep you hooked. This is a page-turner with an unexpected ending that will leave readers wondering what is just around the corner for Claire DeWitt and her unlikely crew of accomplices.
But as intriguing as the plot may be, this is mainly a powerfully character-driven story ... And that entire backstory is what makes the book truly special. Through a series of flashbacks the reader learns about Claire and her amazing cast of characters ... Silette, Kelly, Tracy, Constance, Claire herself, and others come bursting alive from the pages, as the book explodes with mystical wisdom and insight (some readers might disagree) as well as irresistible possibilities for sequels ... Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead is a highly original, refreshing, sometimes humorous, often ironic mystery, with an intriguing and involved plot and even more fascinating backstories and future possibilities
I like detective stories, and I like weird. So I thought I would like this weird detective story – and until about its halfway point, I did ... Her methods are unusual, including consulting the I Ching, analysing her dreams and reading the book Detection by her hero, Jacques Sillette... All of which was fun at first, but the portentous tone palled on me and I began to want DeWitt's investigation to fail.
...Sara Gran's first book of a new series is one of the most original I've read ... Gran's story is as deep as the waters that engulfed the city. In a clever move, she's inserted a book within the book, that being fictional French detective Jacques Silette's handbook Détection, a talisman that flows like a lifeline through the story and whose philosophy of patience and observation guides Claire in her quest ... The people of New Orleans were largely abandoned after the hurricane. Gran gives a spellbinding account of what that felt like.
In this captivating first in a projected series from Gran (Dope), PI Claire DeWitt comes to New Orleans to help a client, Leon Salvatore, find his ADA uncle, Vic Willing, who went missing at the time of Hurricane Katrina ... Claire is soon sucked into the underbelly of a city gasping for air. The haunting atmosphere of post-Katrina New Orleans lingers long after the revelation of Vic's fate.
Through it all, every clue, every meeting, every dream keeps throwing Claire back into her own past, which turns out to be much more interesting than the present-day case ... Gran (Dope, 2006, etc.) provides an adequate mystery, a comically self-important detective and a searing portrait of post-Katrina New Orleans.