Thursday, December 17, 2009

Sara Gran: Dope

What. A. Find. Stumbled across it, and borrowed it thanks to the endorsements on the back cover. Kate Atkinson says that it's "a perfect noir pastiche but with a life and character all its own." Lee Child says that "If Raymond Chandler knew then what we know now, he might have written a book like this. Highly recommended." Someone called Robert Rayner says it's "A thrilling, heartbreaking journey through the heroin underbelly of 1950s New York. I was more than hooked. I was blown away." And Robert B Parker (whoever he is) says that it's "Tight and polished and exquisitely crafted."

All these statements are true. It's a really intelligent and moving little novel, about a former heroin addict and small-time criminal who thinks she's gotten her big break when she's hired to find a rich man's daughter. The daughter has become a "dope fiend" and since Josephine Flannigan knows the world of the dope fiends she has been suggested as the best detective. While Joe starts digging she discovers that the job isn't as clearcut as she'd thought, and that the past will always catch up with you. It's definitely noir, but with an edge that makes it anything but parody, it's beautifully sad and heartbreakingly dirty. Loved it. I'm definitely reading Sara Gran's other books - and on her website you can read the first two chapters of Dope if you want to see how good it is.

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