Thursday, March 6, 2014

Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead by Sara Gran

The other book I finished on National Read Across America Day was the total opposite of Fannie Flagg's The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion (here).

Claire DeWitt  is the creation of Sara Gran and debuts in Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead. Claire is, by her own admission, 'the world's greatest private eye'. 

She is called from her current home in San Francisco and travels to New Orleans - not too many months after Katrina - to investigate the disappearance of assistant district attorney Vic Willing. The man's nephew hires Claire and is impatient with her ways of detecting which include throwing the coins of the I Ching, interpreting dreams, going undercover with the homeless, buying a handgun off of a young black man hanging out on the street corner, and consulting the convoluted and mystical book Detection written by (fictional) French investigator Jacques Silette.

In addition to investigating a rather baffling and nasty crime, the book paints a grim portrait of what the city and its citizens suffered during Katrina. Not a pretty sight.

Dark. Dark. Dark. 

Claire is not someone you would invite to a family Sunday dinner for fear she would show up with a hangover, a gun in her purse, and a joint in her jacket pocket. 

But she gets the job done. I am still trying to figure out if I like her or not. I read this as an e-book from the library and then I downloaded the second mystery, Claire DeWitt and the Bohemian Road. I returned it before reading it. I just wasn't quite yet ready for another dose of the darkness of Claire's world. 

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