When Paul Casablancas, Claire DeWitt’s ex-boyfriend and a popular musician in the Bay Area scene, is found dead in his apartment, his cherished guitars missing, the police are convinced it’s a simple robbery. But Claire knows that nothing is ever simple. With the help of her new assistant, Claude, Claire follows the clues, finding hints to Paul’s fate in her other cases - especially a long-ago missing girl in New York’s gritty East Village and a modern-day miniature-horse theft in Marin.
As visions of the past reveal the secrets of the present, Claire begins to understand the words of the enigmatic French detective Jacques Silette: "The detective won't know what he is capable of until he encounters a mystery that pierces his own heart." And love, in all its forms, is the greatest mystery of all - at least to the world’s greatest P.I.
With a heroine hailed as "a charmer" (New York Times Book Review), from an author who "reminds me why I fell in love with the genre" (Laura Lippman), this is an addictive new adventure for an irresistible detective.
©2013 Sara Gran (P)2013 HighBridge Company
"As written by Gran, Claire is as much mystical seeker as investigator, a disciple of a mysterious master detective whose book, "Détection," has a tendency to appear in strange places at key moments. But Claire is also as hardboiled as they come, and no one could deliver her unconventional first person narration better than Monda, who can be tough, melancholy and tender all at the same time." (Laura Miller, Salon)
“Narrator Carol Monda is terrific in this second Claire DeWitt detective story. Her deep voice manages the detached, no-nonsense affect of Jack Webb in the old "Dragnet" TV series while still making the listener care about Claire…Monda does everything right. Her men sound masculine. Women sound like women. And when she quotes Jacques Silette, Claire's detecting mentor, Monda's French accent is convincing.” (AudioFile)
"In her second outing, tattooed cokehead Claire DeWitt puzzles over the murder of an ex-boyfriend. There's absolutely nothing predictable about either the multilayered investigation—cloaked in references to Indian scriptures, Thomas Merton, and cheesy 1980s TV mysteries—or DeWitt herself, who charms despite her fraying life. A" (Entertainment Weekly)
"The high-stepping, coke-snorting, Zen-loving heroine of Sara Gran's new novel is something of a mess, but she's also the most interesting private eye I've encountered since Stieg Larsson's Lisbeth Salander. . . .She mostly follows her intuition, along with the precepts laid down by the great (and fictional) French detective Jacques Silette, who said things like, 'Solutions wait for you, trembling, pulling you to them, calling your name, even if you cannot hear.'" (Washington Post)
* Hated it! **Endured it, hoping it would redeem itself; *** Okay; **** Great listen! ***** Outstanding! I'll be listening to it again!
I can’t say I’m a big fan of gumshoe novels, but I could spend a lot of time with Claire DeWitt, the “world’s greatest detective” and not afraid to tell you so. Sara Gran breaks the mold and creates a fresh new voice for the Claire DeWitt novels and the Audible versions narrated by Carol Monda are most certainly worth a listen.
If you're not already familiar with Claire DeWitt, I would strongly suggest reading or listening to “Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead” first. I revisited it after finishing “Bohemian Highway” and, not only is it a better story, you have the pleasure of being introduced to Jaques Silette, master detective, and his master treatise “Detection” that guides the work of his Silettian disciples. Silette and his teachings feature heavily in this latest book also.
Bohemian Highway jumps back and forth between two stories, one based in San Francisco, the other in Brooklyn, NY. The NY story centers on Claire’s teen years and recounts how her life and that of her friend Tracy was ruining by stumbling across a copy of Detection. The west-coast thread revolves around the murder of one of Claire’s exes, Paul Casablancas, and her attempts to nail the killer even as she struggles to come to terms with the depth of her feelings for her former lover. Transitions between the two storylines are somewhat disruptive but both are solid, even though the book had a much woollier overall feel than City of the Dead.
Dear Claire already had a serious drug habit in the previous book but in this one she’s routinely snorting enough cocaine to fell a bull elephant. The reader ends up feeling somewhat disgusted by her excesses, but that’s rather the point. Regardless, she’s a compelling character that seeks clues in dreams, charms, and Buddhist teachings, and it’s hard to stop listening once you hit the Play button.
Carol Monda is once again excellent as the voice of Claire and I hope we hear more from all three.
(If you find this review helpful, please click on the button below. Wuff!)
A journalist and a screenwriter for 20 years, now a playwright and a reader. I am an audible activist. I try to "enable" new listeners.
Sara Gran is my new fave detective author. Claire DeWitt seems to have grown up on hard-boiled dicks & Gran has invented the perfect "best friend" to share insights and prod action: an old French how-to detective book. Carol Monda is a superb reader--just a great combo. I loved Claire D-W & the City of the Dead. This one is great too. We need more, more more!
The second Claire DeWitt book is as quirky as entertaining as the first; Sara Gran has managed to create a unique and offbeat female detective who so far drags you along on her cases because she's odd, intuitive, empathetic, a hot mess, and uses drugs and palm readings as often as she uses detective work, without involving us in an extensive backstory of past cases and subplots running through multiple books. Though there are recurring characters and references to Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead, so this series may face the danger other detective series have succumbed to, of becoming less about the detective work and the cases and more about the ever-growing circle of friends and associates that make up the main character's supporting cast.
Claire DeWitt was taught by Constance Darling, the "world's greatest detective," who was a student of the famous detective Jacques Silette, the French "father of detective work." Gran has already created her own little mythos here in an onstensibly mundane detective series. In the second book of Claire's adventures, she is back home in San Francisco, when an ex-lover is killed. Claire, naturally, is put on the case. The wife is the most obvious suspect, of course, but solving her ex's murder is really the least interesting thing about this book - when all is revealed, it's the journey we remember.
We learn more about Claire's adolescence, as the book alternates between her current case and one of her first, back when she and one of her teenage friends were aspiring "girl detectives" and set out to find a missing friend in New York City. This turns out to be loosely tied to her current case, but mostly it's a deeper delve into what makes Claire so messed up. Our protagonist unashamedly snorts lines of coke before interviewing people, passes out in bathrooms after one-night stands, has visions which are probably just hallucinations, and considers signs and omens to be clues. Yet she dispenses a sort of gritty worldly wisdom wrapped in New Age trappings, and always reminds us that what she is looking for is not justice, but truth, the thing her clients usually don't actually want.
Definitely one of my series to follow; Claire DeWitt is a strange bird and I hope she has more trips ahead of her.
The performance by Carol Monda is near-perfect, giving Claire a hoarse, earthy personality that fits her, while also carrying off the Brooklyn accents in the flashback chapters.
I don't know why I like the Claire DeWitt stories. This is a "Mystery" to me.There's unending over-the-top raunchy language, a drug culture foreign to me that nearly kills Claire, yet I'd immediately buy the next book (hopefully there will be a next one). Maybe it's just that I love Claire and her crazy profession and tough life. There must be a part of me drawn to the darkness of this story meaning "there but for fortune go you or I".
I love the names Claire chooses for her case files and how this book has not forgotten the characters from New Orleans, the case of the Green Parrot. I also like the quotes from the book that brought Claire and her two friends into detective work. The case from Claire's past and her present case are woven together skillfully.
I've only heard her read Sara's first book. I don't think anyone else could read Sara Gran's characters. Carol's rather rough and gravelly voice fits my idea of who Claire is, and the profanity sounds so natural. Not everyone could do that. I am amazed at how well Carol changes character voices. I have no problem following and believing in them.
Yes. I didn't want it to end.
Please another book. We're left hanging as to Claire's fate.
Boring. Silly whine of a drug addict.
Less drugs more action.
The story is boring and depressing.
"I took a bump of cocaine" "I took two bumps of cocaine" "I found a bottle of percocet in his medicine cabinet, took two, and then pocketed the bottle." "I did a line." Etc. etc. The endless drug use of Claire DeWitt begins to be laughable. And Claire can't seem to say anything without qualifying it. "Maybe it was even the truth; I don't know; I was too f**ked up to care. I took a bump of cocaine." Okay, I'm not actually quoting the book, but the character of Claire DeWitt which starts out as intriguing ultimately becomes very boring and repetitive. It reads more like a send-up of noir crime novels than an addition to the genre. I was looking forward to this book based on a good review on NPR but I was finally very disappointed. That said, the narrator, Carol Monda, does a very good job of providing Claire with a voice as she goes from one cocaine "bump" to another, although the other characters tend to sound somewhat alike.
Not necessarily but I probably won't read or listen to the other Claire DeWitt book and any subsequent CDeW books.
Claire herself whose gravelly "I'm just barely hanging on here" voice was well represented by Monda.
Disappointment began to set in about halfway through the book, but by the end every time another "bump" of cocaine was referred to, it began to be humorous.
Sara Gran is not going to give the Scandinavian writers of dark crime fiction any competition at this rate.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.