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“Delicious and addictive.”—Salon.com “Reads . . . as if David Lynch directed a Raymond Chandler novel.”—CNN
“What would you get if that punkish dragon girl Lisbeth Salander met up with Jim Sallis’s Lew Griffin walking the back streets of New Orleans? Or Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone transformed herself into a tattooed magnolia driving a 4x4? Clare DeWitt, that’s what you’d get . . . DeWitt’s mesmerizing character and memorable voice take your breath away.”—New Orleans Times-Picayune This knock-out start to a bracingly original new series features Claire DeWitt, the world’s greatest PI—at least, that's what she calls herself. A one-time teen detective in Brooklyn, she is a follower of the esoteric French detective Jacques Silette, whose mysterious handbook Détection inspired Claire’s unusual practices. Claire also has deep roots in New Orleans, where she was mentored by Silette’s student the brilliant Constance Darling—until Darling was murdered. When a respected DA goes missing she returns to the hurricane-ravaged city to find out why.“The hard-living, wisecracking titular detective bounces around post-Katrina New Orleans trying to track down a missing prosecutor in this auspicious debut of a new mystery series—and the Big Easy is every bit her equal in sass and flavor.”—Elle “Reminds me why I fell in love with the genre.”—Laura Lippman “I love this book!” -- Sue Grafton
About the Author
Sara Gran's previous novels include Come Closer, a psychological thriller hailed as "hypnotic, disturbing . . . genuinely scary" (Bret Easton Ellis), and Dope ("highly recommended," Lee Child). A former bookseller and native of Brooklyn who lived in New Orleans during Katrina, she now lives in northern California.
Read an Excerpt
1"It’s my uncle," the man said on the phone. "He’s lost. We lost him in the storm.""Lost?" I said. "You mean, he drowned?""No," the man said, distressed. "Lost. I mean, yeah, he probably drowned. Probably dead. I haven’t heard from him or anything. I can’t imagine how he could still be alive.""So what’s the mystery?" I said.A crow flew overhead as we talked. I was in Northern California, near Santa Rosa. I sat at a picnic table by a clump of redwoods. A blue jay squawked nearby. Crows used to be bad omens, but now they were so common that it was hard to say.Omens change. Signs shifts. Nothing is permanent.That night I dreamed I was back in New Orleans. I hadn’t been there in ten years. But now, in my dream, it was during the flood. I sat on a rooftop in the cool, dark night. Moonlight reflected off the water around me. It was quiet. Everyone was gone.Across the street a man sat on another rooftop in a straight-backed chair. The man flickered in and out of focus like an old piece of film, burned through in spots from light. He was fifty or sixty, white, pale, just on this side of short, with salt-and-pepper hair and bushy eyebrows. He wore a three-piece black suit with a high collar and a black tie. He scowled.The man looked at me sternly."If I told you the truth plainly," the man said, "you would not understand." His voice was scratchy and warped, like an old record. But I could still make out the tinge of a French accent. "If life gave you answers outright, they would be meaningless. Each detective must take her clues and solve her mysteries for herself. No one can solve your mystery for you; a book cannot tell you the way."Now I recognized the man; it was, of course, Jacques Silette, the great French detective. The words were from his one and only book, Détection.I looked around and in the black night I saw a light shimmering in the distance. As the light got closer I saw that it was a rowboat with a lantern attached to the bow.I thought it had come to rescue us. But it was empty."No one will save you," Silette said from his rooftop. "No one will come. You are alone in your search; no friend, no lover, no God from above will come to your aid. Your mysteries are yours alone."Silette faded in and out, flickering in the moonlight."All I can do is leave you clues," he said. "And hope that you will not only solve your mysteries, but choose carefully the clues you leave behind. Make your choices wisely, ma’moiselle. The mysteries you leave will last for lifetimes after you are gone."Remember: you are the only hope for those that come after you."I woke up coughing, spitting water out of my mouth.That morning I talked to my doctor about the dream. Then I called the man back. I took the case.
What People are Saying About This
“Terrific. I love this book! Absolutely love it. This is the first fresh literary voice I've heard in years. Sara Gran recombines all the elements of good, solid story-telling and lifts something original from a well-loved form.”