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Eye of the Cricket: A Lew Griffin Mystery Audible – Unabridged

4.3 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Am a regular reader of mysteries. How I'd missed Sallis I don't know. I am pleased to "discover" him and his wonderful characters. He has a fine feel for my favorite city to visit: New Orleans, and gives a sound psychological sense to his characters. Even the minor characters stand out as people I would be interested to know. I took several quotes from the book and introduced them to a class I was teaching on Human Identity. The words just fit right into the context of the class. Now I've read Black Hornet and am waiting for more.
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Format: Paperback
This is the 4th book in the exceptionally dark Lew Griffin series. Before heading between the pages of this series it would really be a good idea to work out how susceptible to depression you are. If you prefer happy, light-hearted mysteries then believe me, this book will not be for you.
EYE OF THE CRICKET is an example of southern noir or, to be more precise, it's New Orleans noir told from the first person perspective. Lew Griffin is a black man who teaches French and English literature in between occasional flurries as the author of several novels. He is also known to be quite adept at finding missing persons and so he moonlights as a sort of private detective. He is a man who seems to care a great deal for others, to the point where he has difficulty saying no to people's requests, often to his own detriment.
It is in his capacity as a teacher that he is approached to act as a private detective by a student who had heard of his ability at finding people and asks Griffin to try to find his half-brother. Griffin immediately agrees to help, no questions asked, a typical response.
What is revealed is that Griffin himself has a son that is missing and the tragic irony is, although he is able to find other people's missing loved ones, he can't seem to find his own son, not even a clue of where he might be.
That is, until a vagrant is brought into a hospital emergency room and the only item in his possession that might identify who he is, is a copy of one of Griffin's books - a book he had inscribed for his son. Suddenly he feels he might have the clue that he needs to continue his search.
Although the storyline seems straightforward enough, it is littered with flashbacks, dreams and memories, all of which managed to keep throwing me completely off balance.
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Format: Paperback
This is the first I've heard of James Sallis, although it turns out the film Drive was based on his novel of the same name. And he's written a sequel called, naturally enough, Driven. I'm guessing the third in the series will be called Driving. Anyway, Cricket is one of seven novels Sallis has written featuring private detective Lew Griffin. Griffin is black, a resident of New Orleans, and in this novel a part-time university prof teaching modern literature and French. Reading between the lines it would seem that Griffin was once more of a full-time private dectective.

Cricket presents the problem of the crime writer who doesn't appear to be all that interested in writing about crime. In this novel Griffin investigates a couple of missing persons cases in a laidback sort of way that involves a lot of eating and drinking in colourful New Orleans eateries while asking questions of obligingly talkative friends and acquaintances. In this way we get an engaging tour of the city, but there isn't really any detection going on. And the final 40 or so pages have Griffin living on the street in order to find his son who disappeared in New York several years previously. The missing son portion the story is poorly developed and makes for a limp, saccharine finale.

Sallis isn't the first crime writer to lose interest in crime. Michael Dibdin's series of mysteries featuring Comissario Aurelio Zen eventually became mood pieces with a bit of crime on the side. American mystery writer K.C. Constantine hit the wall after nine books about Mario Balzic, the Chief of Police of Rocksburg, PA.
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Format: Paperback
James Sallis is a unique writer, his work while listed as "mystery" isn't really mystery, it is difficult to define as his style is quite lyrical, somewhat like James Lee Burke in the way he tells a story poetically. The main plot is really not the mystery, it is the telling of a man's life story. The ups and the downs, the good times and the many, many bad times of Lew Griffin.

Our protagonist is Lew Griffin, a Black man in his early 50's who has had a hard life battling his personal demons and bad luck with people around him. He is similar in a way to Walter Mosley's Easy Rawlins who tells a story within a story. In this case, Griffin leads us off into numerous subplots and stories about his past. James Sallis' books are far darker than Walter Mosley's works (I am a huge fan of Mosley too)

I will admit that James Sallis is not for everyone, I am sure there are many people who would become disinterested by the sidetracking of the main story that occurs and trying to keep up with the characters portrayed but to me, he is absolutely one of the best of the best.

Worth your time in reading him as you will learn something about people.
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