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Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead (2011)

by Sara Gran

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Claire DeWitt (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
7828121,812 (3.54)1 / 85
Augmenting her brilliant deductive skills with dream analysis, marijuana, and the written work of a mysterious French detective, private investigator Claire DeWitt reluctantly returns to post-Katrina New Orleans to solve the disappearance of an unpopular prosecutor.
  1. 00
    In the Woods by Tana French (sturlington)
  2. 00
    New Orleans Beat (Skip Langdon Novels) by Julie Smith (JuliaMaria)
    JuliaMaria: Zwei sehr verschiedene Krimis, die jeweils in New Orleans spielen.

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» See also 85 mentions

English (80)  German (1)  All languages (81)
Showing 1-5 of 80 (next | show all)
Four and a half stars for the first half. Maybe 3.7 for the second half. I love the cover art too. The uncertainties got a little too certain in the second half. Considering all the meta genre touches in this book, now I'm wondering whether that's a commentary on what we want from mystery novels. ( )
  Je9 | Aug 10, 2021 |
This became quite good, but it didn't start out that way, so it's getting a 4.

Claire DeWitt is a very good, likable character. She is not howerver a normal detective. She's a mystical bullshit detective, and unfortunately I did not realize that going in. The book gets a bit annoying in its repetition that New Orleans is not a place for happy endings, and likewise this book is not a place for standard mystery/detection if that's what you're looking for. On the other hand, I thought the ending was just fine, so it's all a matter of opinion I guess.

One of the blurbs for this book suggests it's like Raymond Chandler directed by David Lynch. I thought it was more along the lines of an episode of the Rockford Files written by Carlos Castaneda. I read some of that Edgar Cacye, Carlos Castaneda type BS when I was a kid and frankly I'm not interested. I was pretty meh on this book for the first half or so. Not until somewhere between the half-way and two-thirds mark did I start to get very invested in the story.

Post-Katrina New Orleans is a huge factor in Claire's case, and that portrayal is it least as important as Claire in appreciating this book. Also there's birds. :)

Claire's mystery, (her missing childhood friend) overwhelms her current case at times and I'm a bit surprised a solution to that wasn't tied in here.

In the end I was quite happy with it and have picked up the sequel. ( )
  WeaselBox | May 16, 2021 |
This was a strange wander around NOLA post-Katrina. And unraveling of the mystery was more complicated than it initially appeared. ( )
  KittyCunningham | May 5, 2021 |
I am struggling on how to rate this book. It has all the elements of the average mystery book: a hard core detective with struggles of her own, a dislikeable victim that might have deserved his ending, and a parade of small interesting characters that give the book its true colour. The biggest selling premises of this series, however, is that Claire DeWitt, the main detective, uses unconventional methods: she consults the IChing, pay attention to omens, and “senses” dangers. The thing is, it got a bit old very fast into the narrative.

What I really like about this book was the characterization of New Orleans after Katrina. An already impoverished community with chronic problems of violence, racial tensions and corruption, now dealing with massive infrastructure breakdown and a population suffering from post-traumatic disorder. I think that this is where Sara Gran’ writing shone.

I am certain that I will read the sequel (I get this craving for a mystery book once in a while), and I am curious about the evolution of Claire DeWitt as a character. I hope that Gran drops the cheesy bits about the French detective, maybe lose his philosophical mambo jumble of a book somewhere to never again recover it, and instead let Claire take us into a more “noir” experience. I am sure she can do it!

I should make a final disclaimer, I heard this in audio, and maybe my dislike of the French passages is because of the narrator’s fake French accent. The narrator – I cannot think of her name now and I cannot be bothered to look – also makes the mistake of giving Claire a deeper voice, I assume to impress on the listener how tough she is, but then the male characters all seem too feminine by comparison.

3.5 stars really…
( )
  RosanaDR | Apr 15, 2021 |
I gave this book a second try, didn’t get it the first time, and am glad I did. Claire DeWitt is not your typical detective. Cynical and dark, carrying deep scars, and devoted to the rather obtuse writings of detective Jacques Silette, she takes a missing persons case in New Orleans. Vick Willett hasn’t been seen since the storm, and Claire knows it will end with a body. The tone, very hard-boiled with a big dash of mysticism, is unique, and Claire, though not always likable (something I really liked about her) nevertheless pulls you with her. I like how the author took the often nihilistic tone of hard-boiled works and gave us a woman’s view of it. No pretty, but always compelling. ( )
  Colleen5096 | Oct 29, 2020 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gran, Saraprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Monda, CarolReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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"It's my Uncle."
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Augmenting her brilliant deductive skills with dream analysis, marijuana, and the written work of a mysterious French detective, private investigator Claire DeWitt reluctantly returns to post-Katrina New Orleans to solve the disappearance of an unpopular prosecutor.

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