Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead
By Sara Gran
Release Date: June 2, 2011
The tattooed, pot-smoking Claire has just arrived in post-Katrina New Orleans, the city she’s avoided since her mentor, Silette’s student Constance Darling, was murdered there. Claire is investigating the disappearance of Vic Willing, a prosecutor known for winning convictions in a homicide- plagued city. Has an angry criminal enacted revenge on Vic? Or did he use the storm as a means to disappear? Claire follows the clues, finding old friends and making new enemies — foremost among them Andray Fairview, a young gang member who just might hold the key to the mystery.
Review: This is a complex story that addresses post-traumatic stress disorder in urban areas and draws an interesting parallel between disaster and war. There is an investigation going on here, but that is secondary to the human depravity, sadness and hopelessness of the post Katrina culture. The mystery is not necessarily in the mystery (case), but in understanding human nature in general. Thematically, every part is expertly crafted, but where the reading becomes difficult (for me) is in the hollow sadness that permeates every character. There is little redeeming qualities presented about New Orleans and by the end I never want to visit the city. The picture portrayed is one of despair, death, chaos, crime and corruption where a great majority drinks or drug themselves to deal. The story is a slow sliding decline (drowning) with sinking lows and no highs (except when it comes to drugs). It is evident that there is no happy ending for anyone, but the despondency can be a bit depressing.
*ARC provided by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt courtesy of Amazon Vine Review