Customer Reviews for

Claire DeWitt and the Bohemian Highway (Claire DeWitt Series #2)

Average Rating 3.5
( 9 )
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  • Posted July 26, 2013

    There's so much goodness in this novel, it's hard to know where

    There's so much goodness in this novel, it's hard to know where to begin. First, as in Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead, this is a novel of obsession. In high school, Claire Dewitt and her friends Kelly and Tracy are transformed by a book on detection by (fictional author) Jacques Silette. Silette's book is far more a metaphysical treatise than a how-to manual; Silette's is a philosophy that forever marks its believers. Silette's students are like shepherding bodhisattvas whose role is to bring not enlightenment but truth to their clients. Claire is monomaniacal in pursuit of the truth, and in the world of this novel (as, I suspect, in the real world), this is a torturous monomania that's at least as savage to the detective as it is to the client.

    Second, this is a hellish love story -- not a "Silly Love Songs" kind of love story, but a "Love Will Tear Us Apart" love story. Claire has long since broken up with musician Paul Casablancas when she finds out from the police that he has been shot to death in his home. The police want Claire involved not for her badass detection skills, but to handle the distraught wife, Lydia, also a musician, also a friend/acquaintance of Claire's. The story of Paul's relationships with these women is heartbreaking.

    Third, this is a novel of subculture: not just the musicians' subculture, but also the drug subculture. Some readers might find Claire's drug use a turnoff, but this is only a modern-day riff on a very old genre trope (think of Philip Marlowe and his bottle of rye). Anyone who thinks Gran is glamorizing drug use must have read this novel half asleep. In any case, Claire's drug use is absolutely true to character. I found it an extremely effective means for showing Claire's internal pain.

    A big part of Bohemian Highway is a flashback to Claire and Tracy's investigation of the missing teenager, Chloe. Gran has a blast turning the YA girl detective genre on its head: young Claire as Nancy Drew, if Nancy were a borderline alcoholic truant. Its connection to the main plot-line? Both relate strongly to the novel's core conflict, which is Claire's destruction or redemption.

    This novel brought me to tears a few times, and choked me up more times than I could count. Maybe that doesn't sound like much fun to some readers, and if you're more into the bonhomie of an Agatha Christie protagonist, Claire may not be your thing. But it's very cool when an author can make me feel that deeply about a character. It really doesn't happen that often, and I think it has some kinship with real magic. Just technique, but awesome technique. So few authors pull it off.

    I've been reading Sara Gran ever since her 2003 novel Come Closer. Dope (2006) was better, and Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead (2012) better still. Clearly, this is an author who is as dedicated to her craft as her newest protagonist is to detection -- each novel has been better than the last. So I guess I shouldn't have been surprised that Ms. Gran's second Claire Dewitt novel affected me so deeply.

    Gran is an author who understands the tropes of the hard-boiled genre well enough to play with and milk those tropes for all they're worth. "Hard-boiled" doesn't begin to describe Claire, by the way. She's more like an egg fried on a hot sidewalk.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2013

    Why is the Barnes & Noble (Nook) version of this book $11.20

    Why is the Barnes & Noble (Nook) version of this book $11.20 and the Kindle version $9.99 on Amazon???????????
    That's a big difference if you buy a lot of books.

    2 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2014

    A very different type of detective novel. Interesting, but rath

    A very different type of detective novel. Interesting, but rather twisted since the detective is constantly overdosing on drugs and strung out as she solves her cases. If you want a new slant on detective novels this is for you.

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    Posted August 22, 2013

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    Posted November 3, 2013

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    Posted July 8, 2014

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    Posted July 30, 2013

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    Posted July 12, 2013

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    Posted January 27, 2014

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