When Claire DeWitt gets a call from the local police to tell her her old boyfriend, Paul, has been murdered she knows – whether anyone asks her or not – she needs to find out who killed him and why. How she goes about figuring it all out had me hooked from pretty much the first page and, along the way, I fell a little bit in love with Claire.
In a way, this book reminded me of James Sallis, who I’m also reading this week. The crime is there to solve, along with others like The Case of the Missing Miniature Horses (yes, you read that right). But this isn’t so much about the murder as it is about Claire, who is just a little dysfunctional (she has quite a liking for drink, drugs, random sex, with a bit of random theft thrown in for good measure).
Paul’s death sends her into a destructive spiral, bringing back memories of her best friend Tracy, who went missing as a teenager, how she became a detective and a million other things in her life that aren’t quite right. All these present in a complex character, one who works on instinct rather than a systematic search for clues and has a slightly new-age philosophy. Threaded throughout is a strange and wonderfully off-the-wall cast of characters – most of whom are also often high, drunk and tattooed.
This all gives the book a great pace and a lot of humour (albeit dark). It is well written and very clever. There was so much in it I haven’t read before, so many characters that stuck in my mind, especially Claire. I can’t wait to read more. Loved it (if you haven’t already guessed).