Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Moth (Lew Griffin, #2)” as Want to Read:
Moth (Lew Griffin, #2)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Moth

(Lew Griffin #2)

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  371 ratings  ·  37 reviews

Lew Griffin has quit the detective business and withdrawn to the safety of his old home in New Orleans' Garden District, where he copes with his past by transforming it into fiction. Following the death of a close friend, he returns to the streets not only the urban ones he has conquered but also those of the rural South that he escaped long ago to search for the runaway d

...more
Paperback, 210 pages
Published August 1st 1995 by Avon Books (first published 1993)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Moth, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Moth

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.91  · 
Rating details
 ·  371 ratings  ·  37 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Richard
While the first book in James Sallis's Lew Griffin series, The Long-Legged Fly, was essentially a compilation of stories during different decades in Lew's life, the second, Moth, focuses on the time immediately following the events at the end of the 1990 section of that first book (literally picking up right where the last line in Fly left off). Lew has realized that he's too old to be running the streets now and has quit as a private detective and is now a successful mystery author and college ...more
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Feb 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015

Lew Griffin is back, pulled back into the game of finding missing persons and getting his heart broken all over again, just when he thought he had settled down into a more tranquil lifestyle:

- I need a detective, Lew. A good one.
- I don't do that anymore. Hell, I never did it very much. I sat in bars and drank, and eventually guys I was looking for would stumble by and trip on my feet. I'm a teacher now.
- And a writer.
- Yeah, well, that too. Once you've lost your pride, it gets easier, you k
...more
Josh
The Lew Griffin books are character driven stories which put depth and meaning ahead of the criminal element. In Moth, Griffin, less the private detective, more the acclaimed author and educator is pulled back into the seedy underworld of the lone wolf detective business when his former flame, Verne passes away leaving behind a daughter Lew knew nothing of.

The daughter isn’t Lew’s but it doesn’t stop him searching for her as if she was. Along the way he discovers her drug addiction and deep div
...more
Toby
Jan 14, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: black-as-night
“The things we do pile up on us, weigh us down. Or hold us in place, at very least.”

There are series characters that are put through the wringer mentally and physically specifically to titillate the reader, Lew Griffin is not one of them. When James Sallis decides to have Lew go in to the dark places of the soul with the distinct possibility that he will not emerge unharmed it is written with such skill, heart and precision that it represents the natural progression for the character, and when G
...more
Karl
Jun 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Re-Reading this book. First read in 1993.

“Moth” by James Sallis is the second in his series featuring black Louisiana P.I. Lew Griffin. Since it has been over thirty years since I read the book the first time this intriguing book that contains no murders and little suspense has raised in stature since the first read.

As we catch up with Lew, he has given up his P.I. ventures, become a professor of literature, become a well know author of mystery books and drastically reduced his drinking. As fate
...more
Adam
Mar 16, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: noir
James Sallis’s Lew Griffin books are enigmatic and move at their own peculiar logic. Sometimes poetic, sometimes willing to linger on an exquisite slice of slice, at points terrifying and existential(lots of disappearances and eerie phone calls), and always filled with literary references(Queneau, Bernhard, Robbe-Grillet, Beckett, Chester Himes). Where Le Carre and Greene get accused of writing “spy novels” as opposed to thrillers these books could be accused of being “detective novels”, as they ...more
Johnny
May 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dark and beautiful. While I can name a number of writers that bring a literary quality to the crime/mystery genres, Sallis is one of the only writers that comes to mind that writes literary hard-boiled stories.

It takes a confident hand to reference Queneau in a hard-boiled crime novel, but to also incorporate influences of his approach to structure is truly remarkable.

Tragic and violent, but consistently filled with beauty and truth.
Paul
Oct 22, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Readers of Hard-Boiled, Contemporary Noir.
Second in the 'Lew Griffin series' & another deeply satisfying read.

Sallis writes eloquently & elegantly & passes these qualities on to his deeply conflicted & equally eloquent Lew Griffin.
Lew concedes, at one point in this narrative, that he "has a hole in his psyche", he is unlikely ever to fill, no matter the amount of alcohol he consumes or the number of lost causes he pursues, in his attempts to fill it. This "hole" having grown past the point of being filled & in fact
...more
Leah
Jul 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: detective, noir
It's been a while since I read the first Lew Griffin book, enough time for me to have forgotten the smooth, unassuming style that Sallis slips on his stories like a smoking jacket.

Lew is deep. He has lived several lives, and they have shaped him, but the core of all his stories is the people. I suppose no detective would last long in their job if they weren't good at reading people, but Lew is good at his (ex) job because he also doesn't judge them. That, and his reputation often precedes him.

T
...more
Tyler Collison
Nov 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Unfortunately I had to begin my foray into the Lew Griffin series with No. 2, since No. 1 seems to be some sort of relic with online booksellers.

Well, it didn't really hinder my read too much. Though some of the characters (mostly old loves) are referenced by Griffin, it's possible to put together a picture based on his somewhat vague memories. I almost sort of like them being rather faceless, like they're ghosts that haunt him in a good way, but I digress.

Moth is excellent because it wasn't at
...more
Rob Kitchin
Oct 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Moth is the second book in the Lew Griffin series set in New Orleans. In this outing Griffin comes out of retirement as a private detective to track down the missing daughter of an old flame who has recently died. His journey threads him through the underbelly of the city and out into rural Louisiana. There are three real strengths to Moth. The first is the central character of Griffin, who is cloaked in a world weariness, worn down by years of operating as a PI and dealing with oppressors and v ...more
Enrico Tassinari
Jan 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jazz. No melody, no refrain, no humming after. That's Sallis. The kaleidoscope of a life, images, smells, sounds, poetry. There's no plot, like in Jazz. You can't remember a note, a word, but once you have finished it, you feel fulfilled. In five years I won't remeber the story (what story?) or the names, but I will remember that Lew Griffin lived in New Orleans, that he drank too much and that I loved the words telling his life.
Kiwi Carlisle
May 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
For some reason I can't stand novels that blend literary fiction with SF. That doesn't seem to hold as true for mysteries with a strong literary bent, or perhaps it's only this one. Despite its ample quotes from French authors and philosophers, Yeats and Faulkner, this novel feels like a nostalgic slice of life. Could it be the note-perfect New Orleans setting? The mildly seedy, vaguely irrelevant University frame? I don't know, but elements that would annoy me elsewhere seem felicitous here.
Brucie
Jul 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Completely satisfying old-school detective story. Griffin cannot hold back from helping out, using his fists and dogged determination and a touch of romance to solve people problems. Engaging writing and intriguing locations.
Theodore Kinni
Aug 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The second installment is less episodic, but our man in NOLA still stumbles over crime the way most of us trip over cracks in the sidewalk. He tries to make things better, but mostly just ends up where he started. One of the great noir series.
Kathleen Hagen
Moth, by James Sallis. B. 2nd Lew Griffin mystery
Cassette book borrowed from the Library for the Blind.
I read this one for my book group, but I fear they may not like this book unless they have read the first in the series, The Long-Legged Fly. This is one of those series that you may well want to read in order.

At the end of the first book, Lew Griffin, who had once been a cop, had written a thriller while recuperating, and discovered that he had a talent for writing thrillers. By now he is a su
...more
Roybot
Dec 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lew Griffin, retired and living the quiet life of an author/adjunct at the local college, is pulled back into the life he thought he'd left when a former flame passes away, and Lew learns that her daughter--who he never knew existed--might be in trouble.

As with the other Lew Griffin stories I've read, the real story here isn't the mystery or case he's working on, it's the personal lives of the people he's interacting with and, most importantly, with Lew himself. The whole story is told from his
...more
V.R. Barkowski
Aug 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-mystery
MOTH by James Sallis is the second in his series featuring former New Orleans PI, now university instructor and author, Lew Griffin. Not sure what to say about MOTH other than to repeat what I said last month about Sallis’s THE LONG-LEGGED FLY. Sallis is a poet. His mastery of language matched with an ability to create living breathing flawed characters on the page is awe inspiring. This novel is part crime, part literary fiction. If you believe references to Proust, Queneau and Robbe-Grillet ha ...more
Patty
It has been almost two years since I listened to The Long-Legged Fly. When I had listened to that novel, I was not sure what the next volume would be. Moth is more straight-forward than the first book. Lew Griffin seems, at the beginning of the story, to be in a better place.

Once again, Sallis held my interest in several ways. He starts by creating Lew Griffin who is a fascinating man. Griffin's head holds some interesting information. Then Sallis adds a good story with well-drawn characters. Fi
...more
Charles Kerns
Literary references, some obscure, coupled with ignorant, street-wise violence feel like a literary illusion, not a live story to me. But the street-by-street knowledge of New Orleans and southern back roads scenes fight to make the book real. Characters on crack and dead babies and drunks trying to be human also help, but make the mood dark enough to wonder why they want to stay alive. And Sallis drops his medical knowledge here and there just to make sure it stays depressing.

This is noir, aft
...more
Andrew
Jan 21, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The second Lew Griffin book was a little more satisfying than the first. Whereas The Long legged fly was very disjointed and had very little in the way of a thread other than as a picture of Griffin who is an interesting character, Moth sees him searching for the lost daughter of an old friend who has recently died. Griffin is a highly literate and intellectual tough guy who's violent side usually takes centre stage when dealing with any problem. A short book I enjoyed the read and he is a chara ...more
miteypen
This is the first book I've read in James Sallis' Lew Griffin series.(I couldn't find The Long Legged Fly in the library.) It was an odd mix of detective and literary fiction. I enjoyed Sallis' style in Cypress Grove and Cripple Creek, which are about a different character. But I think I'm going to have to read more of this series before I really get into the character. There really wasn't much of a mystery and the ending was kind of flat, but there's no denying that Sallis is a great writer.
Charles
Jul 18, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of James Sallis's Lew Griffin mysteries. Griffin is a black detective in New Orleans and is one of the most original hard boiled characters in the mystery/noir field. Griffin is a flawed character but with a lot of sympathetic elements. These are, to some extent, literary mysteries, and are as much of an exploration of character and setting as they are mystery. I highly recommend them. My favorite mystery series, next to the Travis McGee series.
Maggie
This book was confusing to me - the plot started one way, veered in a different direction for a while and made it's way back to the main plot, mostly wrapped up that main plot, started a secondary plot, and then didn't really resolve plot number two while going back and making things frustrating with plot number one.

If you're confused, don't worry, because I am too.
Jim
Sep 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
A much better novel than his first (but still good) effort in the Lew Griffin series, that helps really fill in details of who the main character is, while still following him on a detective-like quest. There is enough here to satisfy the traditional noir lovers, but it is also deeper in many ways, introspective, literary. I very much enjoyed it and look forward to his next one.
Chris
Jul 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant writing like poetry and social commentary posing as a mystery. Griffin is a disarming character. After reading this, I had to find the rest of the Lew Griffin mysteries. How could Sallis fly so far under the radar? Don't miss this amazing author.
Mary
Feb 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another good book from James Sallis. His writing is unique, even poetic at times. Love the characters, his friend at Homiside, his on and off girlfriend, and even his dead girlfriend, who is still a big part of his life, as, in this book, he goes looking for her lost daughter.
Christopher Patrick
One of the best books I have read recently. I bought the rest of the books in the series based on reading this one. Also, I am reading them all out of order.
Michael
Dec 29, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
More philosophy than mystery. Very compelling. Hard to put down.
Maddy
May 21, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2007-reads
RATING: 3.75
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Blue Lonesome
  • Bordersnakes
  • How the Dead Live
  • The Coldest Mile (Cold, #2)
  • The Ones You Do
  • Calibre (Inspector Brant, #6)
  • The Prone Gunman
  • Mixed Blood (Cape Town #1)
  • Shame the Devil
  • Box Nine
  • Solomon's Vineyard
  • Death Goes on Retreat (Sister Mary Helen, #6)
  • Gator Bait
  • The Black Curtain
See similar books…
277 followers
James Sallis (born 21 December 1944 in Helena, Arkansas) is an American crime writer, poet and musician, best known for his series of novels featuring the character Lew Griffin and set in New Orleans, and for his 2005 novel Drive, which was adapted into a 2011 film of the same name.

Other books in the series

Lew Griffin (6 books)
  • The Long-Legged Fly (Lew Griffin, #1)
  • Black Hornet (Lew Griffin, #3)
  • Eye of the Cricket (Lew Griffin, #4)
  • Bluebottle (Lew Griffin, #5)
  • Ghost of a Flea (Lew Griffin, #6)
“My mother by then had already begun her own decline, her own transformation, hardening into a bitter rind of a woman who pushed through the stations of her day as though each moment were unpleasant duty; as though the currencies of joy had become so inflated they could no longer purchase anything of worth.” 5 likes
“The things we do pile up on us, weigh us down. Or hold us in place, at very least.” 3 likes
More quotes…