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Claire DeWitt and the Bohemian Highway Hardcover – June 18, 2013


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Tattooed private investigator Dewitt is at it again in this sequel to Gran's Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead. This time, she's determined to get answers about the death of an ex-boyfriend that police think was the result of a botched home invasion. Dewitt knows otherwise, and puts her quirky methods to the test in solving the mystery. While pursuing hints revealed in dreams, taking cocaine, and connecting clues, Dewitt draws closer to the killer and discovers more about herself in the process. Carol Monda narrates with a classic noir delivery, a syrupy tone, and plenty of attitude. With a slightly raspy voice, Monda is provocative in her emphasis and infuses the story with dramatic flair. Dewitt fans will be delighted. A Houghton Mifflin Harcourt hardcover. (June) --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

From Booklist

Drug-taking, tarot-reading San Francisco detective Claire DeWitt (Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead, 2011) is back. The death of guitarist Paul Casablancas, an ex-boyfriend, causes Claire to revisit her murky past and, eventually, to connect Paul’s murder to some of her earlier cases, particularly the disappearance of a teenage friend in New York’s East Village in the 1980s. Paul’s death hits Claire hard, and helping his widow find closure tests her commitment to detective work. Claire continues to rely on her herbalist, her grad-student assistant Claude, and the lama at the Dorje Temple to prop her up (sometimes literally.) Claire is terrific at getting to the bottom of other people’s problems but not so good at dealing with her own. But that’s the peculiar charm of this punky sleuth and her offbeat entourage. --Karen Keefe
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Product Details

  • Series: Claire Dewitt
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; First Edition edition (June 18, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0547429339
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547429335
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (90 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #564,521 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Sara Gran is the author of Saturn's Return to New York (2001), Come Closer (2003), Dope (2006), and the forthcoming Claire DeWitt & The City of the Dead (2011), the first in a series of novels featuring private eye Claire DeWitt. Her work has been published in over a dozen countries and as many languages. Her books have been optioned for film by Miramax, Dimension, and Paramount. Born in Brooklyn in 1971, Ms. Gran lived in New York City until 2004. Since then she has traveled widely and lived throughout the US including Miami and New Orleans. She now resides in the state of California. Before making a living as a writer, Ms. Gran had many jobs, primarily with books, working at Manhattan bookstores like Shakespeare & Co, The Strand, and Housing Works, and selling used & rare books on her own.

Customer Reviews

I did not finish the book.
andiesenji
I thought the book was a bit confusing and tried a bit too hard to be a little bit deep.
Kenneth C. Mahieu
A very good and engrossing read.
R. Koehn

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Diane B. Wilkes VINE VOICE on April 30, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I asked some friends for book recommendations, and Rachel told me about the first Claire DeWitt mystery (CLAIRE DeWITT AND THE CITY OF THE DEAD/CDATCOTD). The next day I saw the second in the series was available on Vine. I take my omens seriously; I selected CLAIRE DeWITT AND THE BOHEMIAN HIGHWAY/CDATBH from Vine and ordered the first book from Amazon.

Claire DeWitt, the world's greatest living detective, also takes her omens seriously. She consults lamas, homeless former detectives who live in the woods, the I Ching and her often drug-addled dreams in order to solve her cases. (She also takes herself seriously--she informs you blithely and repeatedly that she is the world's greatest living detective.) However, the thing she takes most seriously of all is the book DETECTION by Jacques Silette, the greatest detective of all time. Her method of detecting is Silettian--you don't hunt for clues, you invite them to come to you by seeing the things that no one else sees. There is an entire Silettian philosophy that she--and the very few other Silettians in the world--live and work by.

I thought CDATCODT was dark--the story of a murder set in post-Katrina New Orleans--but if I thought the Bohemian Highway was going to be lighter fare, I was deluding myself (or high on cocaine, as the world's greatest living detective seems wont to be in this book). An ex-boyfriend, Paul Casablancas, is dead and she decides that what seems like a robbery gone wrong is a cold-blooded murder. And she decides to solve it, which means she has to face her own feelings for Paul--not her idea of a good time, hence the massive quantities of coke). She also has to mentally revisit/relive her first mystery, which brings her into places so dark I've only glimpsed them in Andrew Vachss novels.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Jaylia3 TOP 1000 REVIEWER on May 1, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The first Claire DeWitt book took place in post-Katrina New Orleans, but here she's back home in the San Francisco area and the case is personal, her musician ex-boyfriend Paul has been murdered. Paul's rich sister thinks his wife is guilty and wants to hire Claire to prove it, but Claire won't take money for this investigation. Truth is an almost holy compulsion for her and she wants to go where the clues lead her.

Claire's methods are the same as before. She follows every clue, no matter how inconsequential or obscure, to its endpoint. Her deliberations are guided by dreams, Eastern philosophies, the precepts of French detective Jacques Silette, and large quantities of cocaine, mind altering prescription drugs and alcohol.

Claire's current case has connections with one from her teenage years in New York when she and her friend Tracy searched for a missing girl, and those older events are interspersed with her present day investigations. Then and now Claire's methods are definitely not standard procedure, and she's not above lying or stealing drugs from friends. It's a dark, rich narrative, with an unsettling but compelling voice and layers of stories within stories that I find hard to turn away from.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By IRG VINE VOICE on July 2, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Let's be clear: This book is NOT for everyone. If you don't like dark, damaged heroines (who are constantly doing--and stealing--drugs and having a lot of the storyline devoted to detailing the where and when of that drugging) and mystical plot lines with obscure and sometimes contradictory plot developments, it is NOT for you. And if you're not a fan of stories that weave back and forth in time, and allude to all sorts of cases you've never heard of and some undeveloped characters who appear out of nowhere, you'll find yourself more than a little baffled. But if you're willing to go with the flow and not question logic or reason and maybe get into the Zen mode of a lot of the book's passages, you may find yourself intrigued by this character and her journey to solve cases.

Given how much I disliked the main character, the detective (Is she really a licensed PI? Hard to believe.) Claire DeWitt, I was amazed that I not only finished the book but that I also couldn't put it down--and am now awaiting the next book by this author in this series. Some of this ambivalence comes from not learning all that much about the main character in her present life (I have no idea how old she is or even what she looks like, other than having tats--odd bits missing from this book. All we learn is that her preferred drug is cocaine and that she downs whatever prescription drugs she can find/steal.)

Claire is dark and damaged and not exactly a responsible adult (Think an Americanized, toned-down Lizbeth Salander without Salander's tech skills and with a huge drug habit. I would disagree that she in any way resembles Izzie Spellman of the Spellman book series. Izzie has her issues, especially with her family and boyfriends, but they are so much more benign than Claire's stuff.).
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Lynne E. TOP 100 REVIEWER on August 14, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Claire DeWitt is a Silettian "detective"--a detective so completely dedicated to uncovering the truth (the always unpopular, always abhorrent truth) that she solves mysteries when all others have failed to solve them. Her method is taken from DÉTECTION, a book by the once-revered-and-respected-French-master-detective Jacques Silette. His book is misunderstood by most, and its publication caused him to be written off as a crackpot. But Claire read the book, understood it, and became a detective (which ruined her life).

Claire is the quintessential "intuitive" detective. She solves mysteries with Clues, not facts. A Clue can be anything from a poker chip lodged in a couch to a tow truck driver's feelings upon entering an abandoned car--but only a true Silettian detective like Claire can spot a genuine Clue when it presents itself.

A book with such a wacky detective should be fun to read, but Claire isn't much fun, and the reader is completely excluded from the mystery-solving. Claire sleeps around, steals prescription drugs from friends' medicine cabinets, and does many, many lines of cocaine while detecting (to focus her thoughts). Perhaps Claire should be excused because the mystery she is solving is the murder of her former love, but she's hard to warm up to. As for the mystery-solving, the reader can't participate, because only a Silettian detective like Claire can discover the actual Clues.

Solving the murder mystery takes Claire on a name-dropping tour of the San Francisco Bay Area (e.g., a coffee shop on Valencia in San Francisco, a coffee shop on Solano in Albany, a cabin in the Redwoods near the Bohemian Grove, a restaurant in Concord, a miniature horse farm in Marin County, etc.).
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