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Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead Paperback – Bargain Price, May 1, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; Reprint edition (May 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0547747616
  • ASIN: B009F721KG
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (190 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,098,527 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Just when I begin to despair that the PI novel has worn out its welcome, a writer with a fresh take reminds me why I fell in love with the genre. Sara Gran has long specialized in shaking up and revitalizing other corners of the genre world, so it’s no surprise that she performs this same magic in Claire DeWitt.." --Laura Lippman
 
“The book is beautifully written in a tight, quirky style that distinguishes Gran as one of the more original writers working today. -- Bruce DeSilva, Associated Press

“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
 
“One of the genre’s most original characters in years, reads . . . as if David Lynch directed a Raymond Chandler novel." -- CNN

"Delicious and addictive." -- Salon.com

"The title character is the summer's most original new detective: part Lisbeth Salander, part Veronica Mars."--Hollywood Reporter
 
"With Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead, Gran elevates the detective story as literature and brings together a sophisticated mystery, a witty, antagonistic private eye, and a city she knows too well." - The Atlantic Monthly
 
"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." --Sue Grafton
 
"Critics are already labeling this one - the first of a projected series - a book 'not to be missed.' "--Christian Science Monitor
"Claire is a charmer."- New York Times Book Review

"The first in a quirky, smart mystery series." -- Daily Candy

"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 tranformed herself into a tattooed magnolia driving a 4x4? Claire DeWitt . . . .DeWitt's mesmerizing character and memorable voice take your breath away." -- New Orleans Times-Picayune

"Not your mother's girl detective, Claire DeWitt is a cool blend of Nancy Drew and Sid Vicious.  With Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead, Sara Gran has pulled the traditional female sleuth into the twenty-first century with a novel that's smart and hip, dark and funny.." - Alafair Burke, author of LONG GONE

"This is not just a mystery novel but also a novel about mysteries; Claire DeWitt is a detective less by choice than by calling. With City of the Dead, Sara Gran has written something truly splendid and unique, and if we’re all very lucky, there will be more." -- Craig Clevenger, author of The Contortionists Handbook

"This is not to be missed -- Claire is a moody, hip, and meticulous investigator. Gran (Dope; Come Closer) builds an addictive sense of anticipation with a fantastical frame. Alternately gritty and dreamy, this would appeal to those who liked Colson Whitehead's The Intuitionist and readers of Charlie Huston (e.g., The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death). Highly recommended." --Library Journal  (starred)

"Captivating."--Publishers Weekly (starred)
 

About the Author

SARA GRAN is the author of several critically acclaimed novels, including Come Closer, hailed as "hypnotic, disturbing . . . Genuinely scary" (Bret Easton Ellis), Dope, and Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead. A former bookseller and native of Brooklyn, she now lives in Northern California.


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 read the book in one day, couldn't put it down.
Sandra Jackson-Opoku
The story was engaging, the characters well developed and interesting.
Michael Stearney
Too much repetition, rather slow getting on with the plot.
Sal

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

63 of 66 people found the following review helpful By Malfoyfan VINE VOICE on April 29, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Claire DeWitt and the City of The Dead by Sara Gran tells the story of private detective Claire DeWitt's investigation of the death of ADA Vic Willing in post-Katrina New Orleans. Willing's nephew Leon hires Claire ("...people said you were the best.") when his uncle disappears without a trace after the storm. Leon's own search has yielded little, so he asks Claire to take on the case even though she warns him he may not like what she finds.

Claire, originally from Brooklyn, hasn't been back to New Orleans since the death of her mentor Constance Darling several years ago. Although she lacks Constance's wide net of contacts in the city, Claire is both well-trained and a natural detective, relying on her instincts, dreams, omens, the I-Ching, herbal substances, and a book called Detection by a famous and mysterious French detective called Jacques Silette, which is frequently referred to in the novel (the quotes from and references to Silette are one of the things I especially enjoyed about the book). Claire meets up with old acquaintances and makes new ones during her investigation, which indeed reveals more about Leon's uncle than he cares to know. Claire sticks with the frustrating case even when her life is in danger.

The novel is full of vivid characters and presents a depressing yet fascinating portrait of after-the-storm New Orleans. Even the minor characters, such as a homeless woman in a park, are memorable. Gran has a knack for description both of people and places. Her story moves along at a good pace. I liked both the procedural details and the less conventional methods Claire employs to figure out what happened to Vic. Claire is both brilliant and self-destructive; you marvel at her and want to slap her at the same time.
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Miz Ellen VINE VOICE on May 15, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
What happened to Vic Willing of New Orleans in the days after Katrina? His nephew, Leon, has fallen heir to Vic's fortune and the rich contents of the apartment on Bourbon Street that never got flooded. He last saw his uncle months before the storm and called him with an offer to help evacuate. Now he's willing to spend some of the money just to know what happened to his uncle, a man he barely knew.

A homeless man saw Vic alive in the days after Katrina. It's known he survived the storm. So what happened? Claire DeWitt is called in on the case and isn't that happy about it. After all there are missing people in her life, too.

Since Vic was the one Assistant District Attorney in New Orleans who wasn't corrupt, the easiest solution to the mystery is that someone took the opportunity to get revenge.

But Claire guided by her own instincts and by an obscure how-to manual on detection rejects the easy solutions.

This novel is both a mystery and a rumination on the mysteries of life--it can drive a reader crazy to watch Claire, boozed up and stoned most of the time, stumble through the ruined wards and lawless streets in apparently aimless fashion, making mistakes, jumping to conclusions and running smack into blind alleys. Every setback is an excuse for quoting from Claire's Bible, the 1959 edition of Jacques Silette's Detection. This book is full of mystic observations on the life of the detective that after a time grates on the reader as pretentious claptrap.

Claire herself is like a Nancy Drew, twenty years older and stoned...or a female Sherlock Holmes, making deductions that are absolutely brilliant...or off-base. The setting of New Orleans, storm-ravaged and irrevocably changed by the reconstruction is breathtaking and heartbreaking.
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51 of 57 people found the following review helpful By David Cady VINE VOICE on June 4, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Claire DeWitt is The World's Greatest Private Eye. How do I know? Because she and Sara Gran tell me so. Unfortunately, nothing else DeWitt does or that Gran has written about her in this muddled, meandering mystery supports such a grandiose claim. As a character, DeWitt certainly has potential: she's a tough, tattooed PI who uses her drug-induced dreams to lead her towards clarity and insight where her cases are concerned. But is she more than a jumble of characteristics and neuroses? Is she an actual person I care about or would want to follow through a new mystery series? Not at the moment. She's far too self-involved and smug. Being a private eye "will bleed you dry," she tells us at the end of her tale. "No one ever says, Hey, maybe the PI needs a break. Hey let's buy the PI a drink. No thank-you cards, no flowers, no singing telegrams, and half the time you don't even get paid." Can you imagine Kinsey Milhone or Tess Monaghan sharing (or even feeling) such self-pity? At least if they did it would be with some humor; perhaps a wink to say "Okay, just kidding." Because DeWitt's done nothing prior to engender our respect or good will, in her mouth it comes across as dead serious whining.

What author Sara Gran does well is paint a picture of the blighted nightmare that post-Katrina New Orleans has become. We get a chillingly detailed vision of the hopelessness, indifference and rage with which the underclass wakes up every day. Atmospherically, the book is on very solid ground.
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