Dope [NOOK Book]

Overview

From the author of Come Closer comes the most highly acclaimed-and unusual-thriller of the year. Josephine, a former addict, is offered a thousand dollars to find a suburban couple's missing daughter. But the search will take her into the dark underbelly of New York she thought she'd escaped-and a web of deceit that threatens to destroy her.


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Dope

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Overview

From the author of Come Closer comes the most highly acclaimed-and unusual-thriller of the year. Josephine, a former addict, is offered a thousand dollars to find a suburban couple's missing daughter. But the search will take her into the dark underbelly of New York she thought she'd escaped-and a web of deceit that threatens to destroy her.


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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Brutally realistic, unrelenting, explosive, and as utterly addictive as its title implies; Sara Gran's Dope -- a heartrending portrait of a recovering heroin junkie trying to find meaning in her life on the streets of 1950s New York City -- is one of those of those exceedingly rare literary gems that offer the reader complete immersion into another reality, in this case the seedy, drug-infested underbelly of NYC complete with hustlers, junkies, and hookers.

Josephine Flannigan's nightmarish existence finally has a glimmer of hope. After a poverty-stricken childhood in Hell's Kitchen (where, because of her drug-addicted mother's neglect, she had to practically raise her little sister herself) and decades of doing hard-core drugs and committing petty crimes, Josephine has been clean for almost two years -- and when she is approached by a wealthy couple from Westchester to help find their heroin-addicted daughter for $1,000 in cash, she immediately agrees. Josephine's search for the wayward socialite and her pimp boyfriend, however, leads her right back to people and places she never wanted to revisit -- for good reason…

Equal parts Stephen Crane's Maggie: A Girl of the Streets and Irvine Welsh's Trainspotting, this dark and disturbing noir mystery will have readers in a state of emotional turmoil until the very last page, where, in the novel's brilliantly understated final sentence, the author's message is conveyed with all the force of a sledgehammer blow between the eyes. Like the scarred-over track marks on a recovering heroin addict's skin, Gran's Dope will stay with readers long after they've finished this haunting and powerfully moving novel. Paul Goat Allen
Bruce DeSilva
"An astonishing novel, one that deserves a place of honor next to Hammett, Thompson and Chandler...one of the meanest, grittiest hard-boiled crime stories of ever written - and the first great noir novel from the mind of a woman."
Associated Press
Marilyn Stasio
"Gran treats us to a grim but oddly elegiac tour of the good-old, bad-old days."
New York Times Book Review
Publishers Weekly
After her well-received horror tale Come Closer, you can't blame Gran for trying her hand at a 1950s noir, but her turns on stripped-down conventions are less sharp this time out. Gran's heroine, Josephine "Joe" Flannigan, is a former heroin addict and hooker who has recast herself as a petty thief and con. Working her home turf, New York City's Hell's Kitchen, she is taken up by a mysterious well-to-do couple offering her $1,000 up front and another $1,000 on delivery to find their addict daughter, expelled from Barnard and lost to the streets. The reader never actually sees Joe do any thieving or conning, because she's got that $1,000 to ride on. Instead, Joe's search for the missing coed takes her on a clich -ridden tour of the bare apartments and public parks frequented by the junkies who used to be her friends. (And it's the '50s, so teenagers listen to 45s, and black Chevrolets are still cool.) Joe's troubled relationship with little sister Shelley is a very engaging conflict, but Gran doesn't bring them together often enough. It never occurs to Joe that she may be being conned herself, and her hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold routine wears thin, but she's easy to root for. (Feb.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Gran's third novel, as original and compelling as her first two (Saturn's Return to New York, 2001, etc.), is of an ex-junkie grifter, now hired to find a missing college girl in 1950 Manhattan. Josephine Flannigan is lucky to have made it to her 30s. Raised rough in Hell's Kitchen, she never expected much from life. She has scraped by, pulling small cons, shoplifting, whoring when times were particularly bad-just about anything to get enough for her next fix. Clean for the past two years, Joe cashes in the occasional ring from Tiffany to pay for her furnished room and lunch at the automat. Now a $2,000 proposition comes along-a wealthy Westchester couple is looking for their daughter, a former Barnard student, now a junkie-and who better than Joe to search every shooting gallery and dance hall likely to house a pretty young girl. They give Joe a picture of their Nadine standing with a mystery man (who turns out to be Jerry McFall, a dealer and pimp), and Joe is on the case, an unlikely though effective gumshoe. Joe begins to gather leads, touring New York's sleaziest spots, reconnecting with old friends, lifelong junkies and hustlers. She also bumps into her kid sister, Shelley, now a rising TV star. Shelley's cleaned herself up and put the past behind her, including Joe, who admits she did a lousy job as surrogate mother, putting too much junk into her arm and not enough food on Shelley's dinner plate. Her leads pay off, but no sooner does Joe find McFall than he's murdered, and the cops haul Joe in as their #1 suspect, and for good reason. Joe's been framed, the victim of a dangerous con (the Westchester couple were actors) to find McFall, and now Joe needs to uncover who set her upbefore the police book her for murder. A gripping mystery, but Gran's real success is in recreating 1950s New York-the petty cons, the taxi dancers, the dank hotel rooms-a mosaic of everything sad and ugly about addiction. Burroughs meets Hammett in this gritty, at times tragic, noir.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781440684760
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 2/6/2007
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 109,751
  • File size: 188 KB

Meet the Author

Sara Gran grew up in Brooklyn and graduated from Tufts University with a B.A. in cultural anthropology in 1993. Her first novel, Saturn’s Return to New York, was published in 2001, and is being currently being developed into a film by Domenica Cameron-Scorcese. Her second novel, Come Closer, was published in 2003 to overwhelming critical favor. Praised by Bret Easton Ellis as “one of the most precise and graceful pieces of fiction I’ve read in a long time,” it has since been published in eight other countries and has been optioned by The Weinstein Company/ Dimension Films.

Her short stories have appeared in Atlantic Unbound the online home of the Atlantic Monthly, Small Spiral Notebook, Haypenny, and the Land-Grant College Review.



Before making a living as a writer, Ms. Gran worked as a bookseller in New York City. In 2004, she moved to New Orleans; her building, constructed in the 1800s, was among the few not damaged or flooded by Hurricane Katrina. She is currently at work on her fourth novel, set in New Orleans.


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Interviews & Essays

Ransom Notes Interview with Sara GranPaul Goat Allen: Sara, first off, congratulations on a breathtaking novel. I was absolutely blown away by the story's overwhelming sense of realism. As a 30-something author, what was the inspiration behind writing a novel set in the 1950s that revolved around a recovering heroin addict? Sara Gran: Thank you! I had long wanted to write a book that took place in the same world as the great noir books and movies of that era, but more specifically a world that was inhabited by real people, complicated and strange as they are. Once I began, and the character was there, everything followed from that. It wasn't a conscious decision to write about, say, heroin -- the addiction aspect of it was a natural extension of the character's personality. The same with the setting, the place, and the time. PGA: What kind of research goes into writing a novel like this? SG: I read old dictionaries of slang, old and new books about cons and con artists, and of course a lot of books about drugs and a lot of mystery novels. I bought dozens of pulp paperbacks on eBay. I read everything I could find about heroin use in that era, which wasn't much. It wasn't well publicized then, although it certainly existed. Fortunately, The New York Times had reported on the influx of heroin in 1950, so a few short articles from the Times were a major source. Some things I was never able to uncover to my satisfaction, and I just had to guess at. This isn't a well-documented area of history. PGA: Josephine Flannigan is such a complex, tragic figure. Is she based on or inspired by any literary characters that you've come across in your reading? SG: No, not really. She was one of those characters that just comes to you fully developed. I just started writing one day, and there the character was. PGA: Can you talk a little bit about the novel's conclusion? I've always loved books that leave readers reeling, either from surprise or shock or both. The conclusion of Dope was just brilliant -- honestly, one of the most memorable endings I've ever come across. Did you have this exact conclusion in mind as you were writing Dope? SG: To answer your question: yes and no. One thing that was hard about writing a mystery for me was getting all my facts in order. I can't stand it when I read a mystery and some little aspect of the mystery, some clue or issue of timing, doesn't work out. Getting all the little facts perfectly in order was a hard and sometimes boring job -- so although I had the idea for the ending in place from the very start, the exact circumstances of it had to be changed again and again as more loose ends generated themselves and had to be tied up. PGA: Booksellers and book reviewers often describe novels by comparing them to other works and/or authors, sometimes with highly unusual amalgams -- he's a blend of Raymond Chandler and Bram Stoker, she's equal parts Stephen King and Sue Grafton, etc. If you had to describe Dope this way, what novels and/or authors would you use? I've heard it called a blend of Patricia Highsmith and William S. Burroughs… SG: Well, gee, that's a tough one to beat, and I'll gladly take it. Someone -- I think my publisher -- said Chandler and Burroughs, which is equally flattering. You know, it's fun to come up with these things: Muriel Spark meets Rex Stout. The love child of Christiane F. and Dragnet. The unholy bastard offspring of Chinatown and Sunset Boulevard. I could go on forever, although I'm not sure how relevant any of these are. PGA: Those were great -- and all fitting. Thanks again, Sara, for taking the time to answer these questions for Barnes & Noble.com -- and, again, congratulations on an amazing novel. I loved it! SG: Thank you, Paul! If anyone else likes it half as much, I'll be happy.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 37 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(15)

4 Star

(8)

3 Star

(11)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(0)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 37 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 27, 2012

    Wonderful book

    I was so impressed with the writing of this. James M. Cain brought back to life in female form. Slick, tight, smart,tough. Highly recommended.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2014

    Random &star

    Yolo!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2014

    Dink

    * walks in*

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2014

    Shaun

    Why does she feel suicidel cus i do

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2014

    Austin

    Hey guys

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2014

    Sam

    "I like know like right!!! Like totes like #BFFs!!! Like OMG like this is like awesome like yeah!!!"

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2014

    Analise

    Holds her tears back and says...okay

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2014

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2014

    Gemma

    Sighs

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2014

    Jesse

    Ringing phone. Gotta take this.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2014

    Lil

    ;-; rawr im a vampire

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2014

    Fire

    Im bored

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2013

    It was

    Pretty good an ironic twist nice setup should get .ade into a movie if did *****

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2012

    Easy, Quick Read

    This book kept me interested, but I never felt immersed in NYC or the time period that it took place. It's a good quick read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2009

    An Ironic Drug

    Drugs, Sex, and Murder contributes to this great story. Great descriptive imagery and top notch storyline. A superb mystery and also a must read. Two thumbs up. A great representation of irony. An ex-drug addict gets hired to search for a young college girl but an ironic twist turns the story into a must read. I believe it is a great book that every age level will enjoy. As you read you will enjoy each scene, each character's point of view as if it were a five star movie.

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  • Posted February 16, 2009

    holds your attention

    A quick read that held my attention. I like this retro type of book. I don't think it is giving away the ending to say it was not what I expected and not what I would have written. I guess a surprise ending is not a bad thing in most cases. Otherwise the characters were believable and interesting.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2008

    Really good!

    Loved this book, definitely a must read!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 18, 2008

    Jaw Dropping

    Best book I've read in a while. This Novel is one i recommend if you like shockingly twisted stories.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 12, 2008

    You won't put this one down

    I thoroughly enjoyed this one.This story captured me from page 1. This story is real and alive. I loved the ending- what an unsuspected turn of events.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2008

    READER

    OMG, a great page turner. Read in a couple of days. Total shock at teh end. Just AMAZING!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 37 Customer Reviews

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