His fourth book in the Lew Griffin series proves once again that James Sallis is one of the most death-defying writers working in the mystery genre. Readers who have the persistence to untangle a twisted time line and go with the peculiar flow of Sallis's unique prose will find many rewards. Griffin, a New Orleans-based, 50-ish African American novelist, teacher, and occasional detective, dots his twisting tale with dozens of references to the act of writing, plus verbal samplings of everyone from James Joyce to Emily Dickinson. Griffin is obsessed with searches for missing children: a 15-year-old boy named Delany who has dropped into a dangerous world of drugs; the somewhat older son of Griffin's best friend, who also seems determined to destroy himself; and David, Griffin's own, long-gone son. Looking for a connection to David, Griffin abandons his hard-won sobriety and sets out on a drunken quest through some of New Orleans's seediest sectors. There's not much mystery in this long section, but it leads to an ending that will have you on the edge of your seat. Previous books in the Griffin series available in paperback include Black Hornet
From Library Journal
Series protagonist Lewis Griffin (see Black Hornet, LJ 9/1/94), fiftyish writer, part-time college instructor, and sometimes sleuth in New Orleans, searches for a client's missing son. He also hunts for a briefly hospitalized man who claims to be Lewis (though without the writer's block). Neighbors, meanwhile, ask him to look out for the teenagers who have been terrorizing the area. After stumbling across several murder victims, Lewis wonders about his own long-lost son as well. The author's quiet skill shines forth in the vibrant surroundings, literate prose, and skillful and diverse characterizations. Highly recommended.
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