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273 pages, Hardcover
First published May 24, 2011
"The client already knows the solution to his mystery. But he doesn't want to know. He doesn't hire a detective to solve his mystery. He hires a detective to prove that his mystery can't be solved."
The client already knows the solution to his mystery. But he doesn't want to know. He doesn't hire a detective to solve his mystery. He hires a detective to prove that his mystery can't be solved.4. Mystery: I don't read a lot of "mysteries" where there is a genuine, bona fide puzzle to be solved. I'm not a clue junkie hoarding each item the author throws down in an effort to beat him or her to the big reveal. Here, I really felt compelled to sit up straight and pay attention. It didn't take very long before I became incredibly invested in Claire's investigation and its outcome, no mere detached observer but something akin to an actual participant.
5. Now invent your detective.Yes! Those patterns are awfully damned noticeable! And as lame as the one-legged detective invented by J.K. Rowling in her failed detective book. (Other examples abound; hearing-impaired detectives, detectives with Aspberger's, P.I.'s who speak in a funny accent etc.) The problem is that 'quirky' does not automatically mean 'interesting'. It just means the author read the same manual as everybody else.
You can be entirely original about this, but you will notice some patterns in the most famous detectives of fiction: the most well-known have some ‘defect’ in their make-up, something which sets them apart.
I remembered what he used to smell like, woodsy and sweaty. I rolled over on the bed to the spot where he'd been.
He didn't smell like that anymore. Now he smelled like pot and plaster dust and smoke and mold. Like sadness. Like New Orleans.
I concentrated on the goats. They were good company. They overlooked most of my personality defects and failures, my withdrawal of food from the fatties, and my inability to speak goat.
In a world glutted with formulaic genre fiction, how often does one come across a book where it's impossible to guess what's going to happen next? I totally enjoyed hanging out with Claire DeWitt and fervently hope this is the beginning of a series.