Sunday, April 02, 2006

31. "Dope" ~ Sara Gran

I've never been a fan of noir-style thrillers. Until now.

Gran creates a female character, Joe, who doesn't delve into the underbelly of New York City but wallows in it. Hired by concerned parents, she plays private dick (private chick? - too much) and visits her old haunts on the seedy side of drug use and abuse in search of a missing college girl.

Two years clean, Joe struggles to avoid the desire to use. The details of preparing heroin for injection - the crinkle of the paper, the clink of the spoon - explain more than her occasional glance or swallow.

The dialogue is snappy-fresh, like a peppermint stick. Whodunit? I'm not telling, but I applaud Gran's unique and shocking ending. It's hard to surprise a mystery/thriller writer. She succeeded.

4.5 out of 5.0 Bad Habits.

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