Claire DeWitt, who calls herself the “world’s greatest PI,” is reluctant to return to New Orleans. There’s history there, but DeWitt has a foretelling dream and agrees to take on the case of a New Orleans District Attorney, missing since the first week after Hurricane Katrina.
DeWitt is not your typical private investigator. She’s covered in tattoos, haunted by the disappearance of a teenage friend, a devoted follower of Jacques Silette whose mysterious book on detective work has changed her life and rocked by the murder of her mentor, Constance Darling. Claire also relies on dreams, signs, omens and unseen clues to point her in the right direction.
And so “Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead” begins the new series by Sara Gran, with the unlikely heroine at the helm scouring the streets of New Orleans in January of 2007, when violence reigned and residents struggled to rebuild. The darkness permeating Claire’s psyche mirrors that of her environment, providing great fodder for an opening, and involves a varied set of characters, from damaged young foster kids and their struggle to survive to depressed police detectives.
In the shadows lies the mysteries of Claire’s teenage friend, never found, along with the strange disappearance of Silette’s daughter. Claire has also experience times of mental instability and is fond of drugs and alcohol, adding more to the book’s angst but leaving enough unsaid to keep us waiting for the next tale.
It’s an intriguing mystery with two more books planned, although Claire’s visit to the Big Uneasy is relegated to the first book — at least for now.