The Infinite Blacktop
The “delicious and addictive” (Salon) Claire DeWitt series returns with a thrilling noir mystery that follows three separate narratives starring the self-proclaimed “world’s greatest detective.” As Lauren Beukes, author of The Shining Girls raves, these novels are “cryptic, dreamy, funny and gritty as hell…Claire DeWitt is an unreliable detective unlike any other.”Claire DeWitt, the hard-living and tough-talking private investigator, has always been something of a detective. As a young girl growing up in Brooklyn, Claire and her two best friends, Tracy and Kelly, fell under the spell of the book Detection by legendary French detective Jacques Silette. The three solved many cases together and were inseparable—until the day Tracy vanished without a trace. That is still the only case Claire ever failed to solve.Later, in her twenties, Claire is in Los Angeles trying to get her PI license by taking on a cold case that has stumped the LAPD. She hunts for the real story behind the death of a washed-up painter ten years earlier, whose successful and widely admired artist girlfriend had died a few months before him.Today, Claire is on her way to Las Vegas from San Francisco when she’s almost killed by a homicidal driver. In a haze of drugs and injuries, she struggles off the scene, determined to find her would-be killer’s identity—but the list of people who would be happy to see her dead is not a short one.As these three narratives converge, some mysteries are solved and others continue to haunt. But Claire, battered and bruised, continues her search for the answer to the biggest mystery of all: what is the purpose of our lives, and how can anyone survive in a world so clearly designed to break our hearts again and again?

The Infinite Blacktop Details

TitleThe Infinite Blacktop
Author
ReleaseSep 18th, 2018
PublisherAtria Books
ISBN-139781501165719
Rating
GenreMystery, Fiction

The Infinite Blacktop Review

  • Carol.
    January 1, 1970
    Five million stars.But wait, if I rate this book that high, what does that make Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead? Fucking awesome, of course, but I rated that five stars as well. Yet these were two very different, powerful reads. Since we parted ways with Claire way back in 2013 in Claire DeWitt and the Bohemian Highway, Sara Gran started writing for Southland, apparently as one of the main writers in 2012 and 13. Claire left a very significant mystery unsolved, and so I scouted everywhere Five million stars.But wait, if I rate this book that high, what does that make Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead? Fucking awesome, of course, but I rated that five stars as well. Yet these were two very different, powerful reads. Since we parted ways with Claire way back in 2013 in Claire DeWitt and the Bohemian Highway, Sara Gran started writing for Southland, apparently as one of the main writers in 2012 and 13. Claire left a very significant mystery unsolved, and so I scouted everywhere for signs of Gran's activity. But is she John Scalzi? No. She, like Claire, doesn't appear to care if anyone knows who she is."San Fransisco didn't throw open her arms and welcome me to her bosom. No place ever had. But the only unhappy residents whose opinions I had to care about were the police."She was on some social media for a while, then briefly, Twitter, and then she dropped off the face of the earth as far as the internet knew. She lost her domain name, apparently, and started a new site, but much like the first, updated it about once a year. I began to despair that much like Claire, Gran had immersed herself in drugs and mystery, and for the first time in my life, began to fret about an author. There is too much complication in Claire to be anything but semi-autobiographal, I thought.And then rumors started to leak in early 2018 about a new Claire book. I wrote it down, forgot about it, and when it finally hit NetGalley, Dan was kind enough to let me know.Oh, the book? The book is, quite possibly, the I-Ching, a bound Tarot deck, an astrological guide, or a fortune cookie. Much like City of the Dead, it spoke to me in complex ways that seemed to contain life lessons. I was coming home from a ten-day vacation and had a lot to process. As always, Claire seemed to speak to my soul, but this time, we were both older, both more mature. Claire was fighting bitterness and despair, but she's always done that."But age isn't just time passing. It's time breaking you--your will, your heart, your beliefs. Richter's breaks were written in the deep wrinkles in his skin, in his tired posture, in his large, sagging hands."In this book, Claire is solving the mystery of who is trying to kill her. We also go back in time to follow the case that was supposed to complete her California P.I. license application, and discover the true mystery. Through all of this, much like the prior two books, she's thinking about her two best friends from childhood who are part of her own significant mystery. It is all integrated together quite well, and the mysteries end up being rather intriguing. I'll note that this is absolutely not the place to pick up the mysteries of Claire Dewitt; start with Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead. While each larger story stands alone, Claire's personal mystery plays a role that is best appreciated through the backstory."People wanted to tell you the truth. They just didn't want it to be true, and they didn't know they wanted to tell it."As always, I highlighted about ten percent of the book, but we'll all have to wait until I get my hands on a hardcover copy to share. I will note that Gran has some very dry humor regarding Los Angeles, is a keen observer of human nature, and has a lot of hard-won wisdom.Many, many, many thanks to Dan for the heads-up, and to Netgalley and Atria books for an ARC e-book. The quotes are subject to change in the final book, but I think they give a good flavor of Gran's writing.btw, links to a couple of Gran sites from my Wordpress review: https://clsiewert.wordpress.com/2018/...
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  • Dan Schwent
    January 1, 1970
    Who tried to kill Claire DeWitt in a hit and run? That's what Claire wants to find out but will there be anything left of her when she finds her would-be killer?A funny thing happened a few days ago. I was driving to work, pondering when/if a new Claire DeWitt book would be coming out, only to find there was a Goodreads giveaway for the newest one AND it was up on Netgalley. Naturally, I was all over it.Fresh from the events of Claire DeWitt and the Bohemian Highway, Claire DeWitt goes through t Who tried to kill Claire DeWitt in a hit and run? That's what Claire wants to find out but will there be anything left of her when she finds her would-be killer?A funny thing happened a few days ago. I was driving to work, pondering when/if a new Claire DeWitt book would be coming out, only to find there was a Goodreads giveaway for the newest one AND it was up on Netgalley. Naturally, I was all over it.Fresh from the events of Claire DeWitt and the Bohemian Highway, Claire DeWitt goes through the meat grinder yet again, subsisting on stolen drugs, grit, and shear stubbornness to find the man who tried to kill her. Claire is still Claire, the drug-doing, alcohol-drinking, ass-kicking, lying, detecting machine she's always been. She's a glorious melding of old-school locked room cozy detective heroines with the damaged goods detectives of noir fiction. The Infinite Blacktop is another one of her grand, quirky, funny, broken cases.The book is told in three threads: one with Claire and her two teenage detective friends, Kelly and Tracy, one with Claire trying to earn her PI license while piecing together the events surrounding an artist's death, and the final one, Claire's search for the man who tried to run her down. Each thread is pretty bad ass and does a great job illustrating the journey of Claire DeWitt.The artist thread was narrowly my favorite, showing how Claire got her IP license but also showing some vulnerability from her that she doesn't show anymore. The present day thread, with Claire barely hanging on, was nearly as interesting as the artist thread but I just wanted someone to tell Claire to slow down and maybe sleep for ten hours. Although, the world's greatest detective never slows down when she's on a case...This book answers a lot of lingering questions from the two previous books, namely what happened to Tracy, why hasn't anyone else ever read the Cynthia Silverton books, and who left the copy of Detection, Silette's book, in the unused wing of the DeWitt home all those years ago. It was pretty satisfying conclusion to the previous two books, although I hope it isn't the last we've seen of Claire DeWitt.I don't really know what else to say without spoiling things. Claire's Dirk Gently approach to detection is as great as it ever was. Much like the previous two books, this one was a darkly humorous, quirky, gritty train wreck.As per the last two books, Claire just barely holds everything together while searching for her quarry, going on an odyssey of substance abuse and self-discovery while proving why she is the best detective in the world. I fucking loved it. If this is the last Claire DeWitt book, it's a hell of a high note to go out on. Five out of five stars.
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  • Melissa
    January 1, 1970
    Netgalley gave me a copy for review and this was one of the best books I've read all year. Thank you Netgalley!Claire DeWitt is the standard, she is the beginning and also the end of my love of this genre, Claire DeWitt is the queen of my heart, Claire DeWitt is the one. Claire DeWitt is the best detective in the world. This book is rich and heartbreaking and I loved every minute of it. Gran’s dialog is as exquisite as it has ever been and her descriptions are so damn spot-on that reading them w Netgalley gave me a copy for review and this was one of the best books I've read all year. Thank you Netgalley!Claire DeWitt is the standard, she is the beginning and also the end of my love of this genre, Claire DeWitt is the queen of my heart, Claire DeWitt is the one. Claire DeWitt is the best detective in the world. This book is rich and heartbreaking and I loved every minute of it. Gran’s dialog is as exquisite as it has ever been and her descriptions are so damn spot-on that reading them was a genuine thrill - feel truly lucky that I can’t quote from my review copy, because if I started I would be unable to stop. One of the best books that Sara Gran has ever written, and if it's the last of a trilogy, I can accept it with only a moderately heavy heart.
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  • Joseph
    January 1, 1970
    Not being a regular reader of mysteries I picked up The Infinite Blacktop after reading a review for the book. No one beats Claire DeWitt she is the world's greatest detective (self-proclaimed). Her world is filled with cases like the Case of the Wilted Rose and the Case of the Emerald Peacock. It seems like a grown-up Nacy Drew world. Well, Nacy Drew who dated Cid Vicous. The book is a mix of gritty reality and childhood detective heroes.
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  • Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)
    January 1, 1970
    "Experience was just a long, infinite, blacktop of things you'd regret not enjoying later." *The world's most experienced (and self-proclaimed) greatest private investigator is back right where we left off at the cliffhanger ending of book two (Claire DeWitt and the Bohemian Highway).Leaving the scene of the car accident in Oakland, Claire is headed to Las Vegas.  She was originally headed there in search of a friend but now she's searching for the driver of the Lincoln that ran her off the road "Experience was just a long, infinite, blacktop of things you'd regret not enjoying later." *The world's most experienced (and self-proclaimed) greatest private investigator is back right where we left off at the cliffhanger ending of book two (Claire DeWitt and the Bohemian Highway).Leaving the scene of the car accident in Oakland, Claire is headed to Las Vegas.  She was originally headed there in search of a friend but now she's searching for the driver of the Lincoln that ran her off the road and the press that printed the Cynthia Silverton mysteries she read in her youth.Each novel in this series has given us important flashbacks to cases she has worked in the past that somehow relate to a present situation, most importantly the disappearance of her best friend Tracy when they were teenage detectives in Brooklyn reading Cynthia Silverton from a bookmobile in their neighborhood.  Claire recently learned that the books were a very limited run printed in Vegas in the 1980's and copies are extremely rare.While searching for the Lincoln driver and the printing press, she looks back on her first case in Los Angeles while applying for her PI license.  The cold case involved the mysterious death of a highly regarded painter in a car accident not long after his girlfriend, another successful artist, also died in a tragic car accident.Tracy's disappearance, the cold case, and the present converge as Claire searches for answers in her trademark mystic drug induced haze where nothing is coincidence, only fate.The Infinite Blacktop is another stellar book in Gran's modern gritty/noir detective series!  I love that each novel is a mystery within a mystery and everything is somehow linked.  Claire always solves her current case with guidance from a previous case and is fueled by the haunting memories of the only case she can't seem to solve.  We're given more clues with each book and this novel has us headed down a rabbit hole with all the new information we have on the Cynthia Silverton mysteries and the disappearance of Tracy.Fingers crossed Gran doesn't make us wait another five years for a new Claire DeWitt mystery because this has quickly become my favorite modern detective series and I need more answers!!Many thanks to Atria Books and NetGalley for providing an ARC in exchange for my honest review.  The Infinite Blacktop is scheduled for release on September 18, 2018.*The quote included was taken from an advanced readers copy and is subject to change upon publication.For more full reviews, visit www.rootsandreads.wordpress.com
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  • ABCme
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you Netgalley an Atria Books for the ARC.I have to admit, first thing that attracted me to this book was the gorgious cover. Just look at it!And sure enough, once in, the story takes off at full speed.PI Claire gets hit by a car and escapes the ambulance, determined to investigate who did this to her and why.I like the format of having to solve three mysteries to get there, all of them being cleverly entwined.In 1986 Claire and her friends Tracy and Kelly spend their time as teenage PI's, Thank you Netgalley an Atria Books for the ARC.I have to admit, first thing that attracted me to this book was the gorgious cover. Just look at it!And sure enough, once in, the story takes off at full speed.PI Claire gets hit by a car and escapes the ambulance, determined to investigate who did this to her and why.I like the format of having to solve three mysteries to get there, all of them being cleverly entwined.In 1986 Claire and her friends Tracy and Kelly spend their time as teenage PI's, until Tracy goes missing. In 1999 Claire is putting in the hours working on a cold case of a murder in the art world, to get her official PI license from the CBSIS.In 2011 we follow Claire's life on the road in search of whoever crashed into her in traffic and got away with it.While moving between the cases, connections are becoming clearer, but results don't reveal themselves until the very end. By then I'm on the edge of my seat.Fast writing, streetwise language, intrigue and excitement are combined with deep thoughts on being alone, being invisible, belonging and survival.Fun descriptions of hallucinations when sleepdeprived.This well crafted story is different, going back to the bare basics of who we really are.In the end it's all about the truth, leaving no stone unturned.
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  • Kasa Cotugno
    January 1, 1970
    Claire DeWitt is back, sharp and self deprecating, she breezes through experiences that would flatten anyone of lesser strength. Even when trying to solve mysteries on no sleep while chemically impaired, she prevails. Her story opens on the mean streets of Oakland, and I must admit partiality to seeking out books that feature my home town for its setting. Someone has tried to mow her down in a vintage Lincoln, and that's just one of the puzzles she tries to unravel. Still in the background is th Claire DeWitt is back, sharp and self deprecating, she breezes through experiences that would flatten anyone of lesser strength. Even when trying to solve mysteries on no sleep while chemically impaired, she prevails. Her story opens on the mean streets of Oakland, and I must admit partiality to seeking out books that feature my home town for its setting. Someone has tried to mow her down in a vintage Lincoln, and that's just one of the puzzles she tries to unravel. Still in the background is the disappearance of her best friend in 1987, but also included is the full fledged 1999 Mystery of CBSIS in which she unravels a cold case in order to attain requisite hours to earn her PI license in California. In her reminisces, she recalls some of her successes as the "best detective in the world," with names that sound like updated Nancy Drew titles ("The Happy Burger Murder Case," "The Case of the Melancholy Bibliophile"). But she also reflects on the deeper traumas of loss, of identity, and the search for peaceful happiness. Five years ago, I was alerted to Sara Gran's Claire DeWitt series, and read the first two novels over the space of 3 days. Admittedly, I read Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead audibly, but the fact that the reader was Melissa Leo gave the lead character an indelible identity. When reviewing the Bohemian Highway, I made two observations - dismay that Gran only intended to write 4 in this series, and that I was anxious for the next book to surface. It was worth the wait. I can only hope that she changes her mind and continues with the series.Many thanks to Atria Books for the early ARC of this.
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  • Ian
    January 1, 1970
    I'm a huge Claire Dewitt fan. My favorite fictional detectives in order are Dewitt, Dirk Gently, Lionel Essrog (Motherless Brooklyn), Hank Palace (Last Policeman), Conrad Metcalf (Gun with Ocassional Music). This was the novel that I thought would answer all the questions about some of the mysteries of Claire's life. It uses narratives in 3 different time periods and does it well. You may not get the answers you want or all of them, but you will leave this book with a greater appreciation for Sa I'm a huge Claire Dewitt fan. My favorite fictional detectives in order are Dewitt, Dirk Gently, Lionel Essrog (Motherless Brooklyn), Hank Palace (Last Policeman), Conrad Metcalf (Gun with Ocassional Music). This was the novel that I thought would answer all the questions about some of the mysteries of Claire's life. It uses narratives in 3 different time periods and does it well. You may not get the answers you want or all of them, but you will leave this book with a greater appreciation for Sara Gran and her wonderfully unconventional detective, Claire Dewitt.
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  • R J Mckay
    January 1, 1970
    I received a copy of this book from Goodreads in exchange for a review.There is a lot going on in this story…from a much younger Claire DeWitt, who’s childhood friend goes missing, to a more experienced Claire DeWitt that someone is trying to kill. Then there is the Claire DeWitt who is still trying to earn her PI License. Three times in her life, three mysteries that pull her in.Young Claire and her three best friends have been influenced by a famous French detective, Jacques Silette, and his n I received a copy of this book from Goodreads in exchange for a review.There is a lot going on in this story…from a much younger Claire DeWitt, who’s childhood friend goes missing, to a more experienced Claire DeWitt that someone is trying to kill. Then there is the Claire DeWitt who is still trying to earn her PI License. Three times in her life, three mysteries that pull her in.Young Claire and her three best friends have been influenced by a famous French detective, Jacques Silette, and his novel ‘Detection’. Twenty years later, this book is still having an impact on her life. From the childhood search for her missing friend, to the search as a struggling PI to discover the truth behind the death of a ‘has been’ painter, to the current attempts on her life, Claire finds that not all mysteries can be solved. But nothing will stop this tough, gutsy gal from charging ahead toward any danger that might be in her path, if she thinks it will help her find out the truth.
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  • Dgordon
    January 1, 1970
    This a great addictive series that I want never to end. Claire DeWitt is brilliant, edgy, hard boiled, funny and truely in a class by herself. Three mysteries three different time periods, some are solved some are not but it's the journey that makes it all worthwhile. A genre bending series that is not to be missed.
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  • Lucky
    January 1, 1970
    Read it and wanted to return to page one and start it all over again because it was so good, so brilliant, so genre defying and I know there are so many layers I missed on the first reading. I love this series. there is nothing else like it. It is unique and addictive.
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  • Lori
    January 1, 1970
    I received a copy of this from the goodreads giveaway. Thank you! I love Claire DeWitt and after I read the first two books in the series, I thought I remembered reading that Sara Gran wasn't going to write anymore. So glad that either I imagined reading that or she changed her mind! I listened to the first two on Audible, and that made this a different experience. I do hope that when it comes out in Audible that it will be read by Carol Monda, because I missed her voice as Claire! In this one, I received a copy of this from the goodreads giveaway. Thank you! I love Claire DeWitt and after I read the first two books in the series, I thought I remembered reading that Sara Gran wasn't going to write anymore. So glad that either I imagined reading that or she changed her mind! I listened to the first two on Audible, and that made this a different experience. I do hope that when it comes out in Audible that it will be read by Carol Monda, because I missed her voice as Claire! In this one, you get a bit more information on Claire's past, but still not enough! I want to know more about her younger detective days and her time with Constance. I'll read the next one, because after all, Claire DeWitt "is the best detective in the world."
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  • Melanie
    January 1, 1970
    I don’t know if I’m getting more generous with my 5-star reviews or just more in love with this series, but either way... this is an amazing book. Sad and lovely and weird and full of sentences I had to re-read because they were so true and heartbreaking. Claire’s beloved Silette’s style of detection is fascinating and magical and I wish that his book really existed. I hope there are more books to come - I feel like, as crazy and deep as each one is, there’s so much more to dig into here. Sara G I don’t know if I’m getting more generous with my 5-star reviews or just more in love with this series, but either way... this is an amazing book. Sad and lovely and weird and full of sentences I had to re-read because they were so true and heartbreaking. Claire’s beloved Silette’s style of detection is fascinating and magical and I wish that his book really existed. I hope there are more books to come - I feel like, as crazy and deep as each one is, there’s so much more to dig into here. Sara Gran is an amazing writer and this is a killer series.
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  • Sandi
    January 1, 1970
    Fantastic! I won this in a Goodreads giveaway. Honestly, I had never heard of the Claire DeWitt series before, so I got the first two books - and they were awesome. This one, though,...just...wow. I loved it. I hope there will be more to this series!
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  • Yuckamashe
    January 1, 1970
    Best book cover ever! I have waited forever for another Claire DeWitt book. I preordered this to have it as soon as possible. I read it in one sitting right after unwrapping it. First, let me say I loved the first two books but they were not without flaws. I hate all of the Stilette quotes. I think the books would be better without that side story. Second, this book gets a little too into existentialism for my taste. Having said that I love the main character. I love that she is a fucking train Best book cover ever! I have waited forever for another Claire DeWitt book. I preordered this to have it as soon as possible. I read it in one sitting right after unwrapping it. First, let me say I loved the first two books but they were not without flaws. I hate all of the Stilette quotes. I think the books would be better without that side story. Second, this book gets a little too into existentialism for my taste. Having said that I love the main character. I love that she is a fucking train wreck. She is bad ass and broken. I'm glad that there is some movement on the Tracy mystery finally. There has to be another book to tell us what the hell happened! I hope it isn't as long of a wait for that to happen.
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  • Nessa
    January 1, 1970
    I’m pretty sure Claire DeWitt is my spirit animal…without the drug abuse and self-destructive behavior, of course.I’m not even going to try and get out of this one. I knew I needed to read this book just based on that cover. I mean…wow!! If that doesn’t catch your eye I don’t know what will. I was hoping that the gorgeous cover would be an excellent fit for the book and I was not disappointed. I devoured this!!Now, I’m not a big reader of mysteries or detective novels. I mean, I read Nancy Drew I’m pretty sure Claire DeWitt is my spirit animal…without the drug abuse and self-destructive behavior, of course.I’m not even going to try and get out of this one. I knew I needed to read this book just based on that cover. I mean…wow!! If that doesn’t catch your eye I don’t know what will. I was hoping that the gorgeous cover would be an excellent fit for the book and I was not disappointed. I devoured this!!Now, I’m not a big reader of mysteries or detective novels. I mean, I read Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys growing up but it sort of ended there for me so I was a bit unsure what to expect. Claire Dewitt is a different sort of character and I was immediately drawn to her as a lead with a troubled past, a concerning present and a promising future. She also makes for one hell of an entertaining detective!Going in, I wasn’t aware that The Infinite Blacktop was a part of a series and even though I didn’t feel like I was missing much by starting on the third book, I feel like I would have a much better understanding of Claire, her associates and her background in detective work if I would have read the first two books…which I fully plan to do and every book after. This was just so good. I didn’t even realize what I was missing by not reading more detective stories and I absolutely freaking LOVE that all the cases have those old detective story names. It just adds a little something extra awesome and was very nostalgic for me. The author managed to keep me focused on the mystery at hand while also going back in time and working on a long unsolved mystery from Claire’s past simultaneously. This was brilliantly done and at no point did I get the cases confused or mix my facts. In fact, I found myself totally immersed in finding and following the clues to see if I could guess the outcome before Claire got there. I didn’t. I’d make a lousy detective but I really enjoyed the journey and had a lot of fun while reading this. I might just have to pick up some more detective novels and try my hand at a few more cases.The Infinite Blacktop is a fast paced, dark, gritty and fun book that I would absolutely recommend to anyone whether you are a fan of the genre or not. I wasn’t…until now!I would like to thank NetGalley and Atria Books for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review.
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  • Emily
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you edelweiss for a the advance reader copy! Oh god i fucking love claire dewitt. I would have sara grans babies and i am NOT a good pregnant chick... These books are like reading adyashanti or some other Buddhist mystic that wants to give you a beautifully prepared cup of tea and slap you in the face. She writes about the gutter and places it among the stars- fuck i just cant even... Gran guts you pours vinegar on the wound but them sews you up with silk and dabs it with honey...Claire De Thank you edelweiss for a the advance reader copy! Oh god i fucking love claire dewitt. I would have sara grans babies and i am NOT a good pregnant chick... These books are like reading adyashanti or some other Buddhist mystic that wants to give you a beautifully prepared cup of tea and slap you in the face. She writes about the gutter and places it among the stars- fuck i just cant even... Gran guts you pours vinegar on the wound but them sews you up with silk and dabs it with honey...Claire Dewitt, the world's best detective, has only ever had one unsolved case, the disappearance of her friend Tracy. Her whole life has been spent searching for the right puzzle pieces, the right chains that tie reality together to help her discover the TRUTH about her most difficult case. In Infinte Blacktop we are given just a few more pieces- a lost Cynthia Silverton comic, a piece of mail, an attempt on Claire's life. Gran's lucid and lurid writing is like a koan, Dewitt's process is visceral and heart shattering, but you will happily reel along with Claire as she stumbles ever toward the truth. If you are not reading Claire Dewitt, you are missing out.
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  • Geonn Cannon
    January 1, 1970
    I was going to say no one can write a mystery like Sara Gran, but really no one writes a BOOK like Sara Gran. She writes in our world, but with a fantastical tilt. Not magic, but just this side of it. Claire DeWitt is one of the best detectives in fiction today. My only complaint is that we have to wait so long between books. But if the result is something this tightly-written, then I'm willing to brave the long breaks.
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  • Raven
    January 1, 1970
    And so we reach the third instalment of Sara Gran’s terrific series featuring private detective Claire DeWitt, and what a powerhouse of a thriller it is. Tagged as a feminist take on the hardboiled tradition of Raymond Chandler, and described by me on Twitter as ‘Nancy Drew on meth’, this is a fast paced, nerve shredding roller coaster of a ride, with one of the most damaged, but engaging, protagonists in modern crime fiction…Smoothly moving through three timeframes and criss crossing between Lo And so we reach the third instalment of Sara Gran’s terrific series featuring private detective Claire DeWitt, and what a powerhouse of a thriller it is. Tagged as a feminist take on the hardboiled tradition of Raymond Chandler, and described by me on Twitter as ‘Nancy Drew on meth’, this is a fast paced, nerve shredding roller coaster of a ride, with one of the most damaged, but engaging, protagonists in modern crime fiction…Smoothly moving through three timeframes and criss crossing between Los Angeles, Las Vegas and other locations, Gran has created a perfectly weighted account of her DeWitt’s journey from fledgling junior detective, with two of her childhood friends (and a myriad of cases with the best Nancy Drew-esque monickers) through her development of skills under the tutelage of the enigmatic and eccentric private detective Constance Darling, to the current gigantic and dangerous sh*tstorm she finds herself in, as her past comes back to wreak revenge in the present. Not one to be deterred, despite the physical danger she often finds herself in, DeWitt continues her reputation as being as lethal as a cornered wild animal, and draws on all her cunning and ingenuity to track down the man who wishes her dead, opening up the dark experiences from her past, and the path to self destruction that she seems set to embark on. DeWitt is quite simply a gloriously kick ass character, driven by dark impulses, but sometimes showing moments of extreme emotional vulnerability, that when they come are as powerful in the narrative as the aura of violence and isolation that DeWitt embodies. Fuelled daily by a cocktail of liquor and drugs, which would lesser mortals into a catatonic state, we bear witness to the sleeplessness and hallucinations this produces, but also the steely edge and grim determination that this invokes in DeWitt. I found myself veering between like and dislike for her throughout the book, which is always a good reading experience, and I think most readers will experience the same. Gran’s characterisation of both DeWitt and her surrounding cast is superb, and skilfully encompass all the vices and virtues that make up the human psyche to one extreme or the other.Before you are all set to thinking that this may all just be leading to a linear crime caper, there are two more facets of this book that Gran excels at. First is the whip smart dialogue which is tight, precise and, in the true hardboiled tradition of Chandler et al, gives a verve and tautness to the periods of interaction between character. This applies equally to the general writing style of the book, where truly no word is wasted, and the prose is crisp, cutting and perfectly rendered. Secondly, Gran also takes us on a cerebral journey referencing a book on detection, subtly titled ‘Detection’ by Jacques Silette (himself the tutor of DeWitt’s mentor Constance Darling) which Gran uses to illustrate the differing ‘schools’ of private detection, and their contrasting methods and mind-sets. I found these diversions in the multi-layered narrative, extremely effective, and perhaps these, more than other elements of the book, so clearly define why DeWitt is as mercurial as she is, and what drives her to succeed, despite the extremely dark events that have tarnished her emotional core.I am a real fan of this series, and if you like your crime with a tantalisingly dangerous edge to it, powered by punchy dialogue, a dark wit, an even darker DeWitt herself, and a more psychological, cerebral feel this is one series you cannot ignore. Highly recommended.
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  • Beverley
    January 1, 1970
    Sara Gran is a completely new author to me with The Infinite Blacktop being my first foray into her books. This is the third book in the Claire DeWitt series of novels and I don’t think that my enjoyment was diminished by not having read the previous two so much so that I have already bought the first book, City of the Dead as the exceptional writing has left me wanting more.The book opens with our protagonist Claire DeWitt, the self-proclaimed Best Detective in the World, regaining consciousnes Sara Gran is a completely new author to me with The Infinite Blacktop being my first foray into her books. This is the third book in the Claire DeWitt series of novels and I don’t think that my enjoyment was diminished by not having read the previous two so much so that I have already bought the first book, City of the Dead as the exceptional writing has left me wanting more.The book opens with our protagonist Claire DeWitt, the self-proclaimed Best Detective in the World, regaining consciousness after being in a car accident. Somebody has tried to run her off the road, but who was it? And why? What feels like a pretty standard crime book soon gives way to something very, very different. There are three strands to this book, the accident, Claire’s childhood as a teenage detective with her friends and her work on an old case investigating the death of an artist. At first these three stories seem unrelated and in fact, the quest to discover who is trying to kill her is the strand which has the fewest pages devoted to it, but they come together in an intricate and mind-blowing way. This is great storytelling and even better plotting and the three stories within a story are deftly handled.Claire is damaged, dark and self-destructive. She is brilliantly written, leaps off the page and is one of those rare characters that pull you in and don’t let you go. She is a contradiction; brave, fierce and vulnerable, prone to moments of introspection and is dealing with the loss of her mentor who appeared to be the only person who has ever fully accepted her and made her feel she belonged. She does stupid things, made me laugh out loud and has a brilliant and sharp mind. I adore her and adored reading about her.I am not sure that I have ever read anything quite like this book and if I am honest I wasn’t sure I would like it when I first started it. It seemed quite a difficult read and a bit off the wall, but then I “got” it and it was like a whole new world opened up. The writing is quite kooky at times but it is very witty and in places gorgeous with wry observations that made me smile. It is set across America but lots of the action takes place in Los Angeles where we see both side of this city – the glamour, the money and the dark, dangerous spots. The city is almost a character in its own right and I adored how it was described, that the “light in Los Angeles seemed like it was something bought and paid for, like it was something the residents were entitled to”. I was so pleased that I persevered and allowed myself to get immersed in The Inifinite Blacktop as 50 pages or so in I fell in love and devoured the rest of the book in one sitting.It’s just, it’s so pacy and absorbing and there isn’t a word out of place and you can tell that each has been carefully weighed and considered for maximum effect and it made it such a dream to read. The characterisation is spot on with casual observations of a few words communicating whole backstories, motivations and social classes. I had no idea where it was going, and nor did I want to, I was just along for the ride. This is a stirring yet quietly unsettling read with a lead character who gets firmly under your skin and is unlike anything I’ve read before. What a book. What a writer. More please.
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  • Fran
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 for parts of this fast-paced mystery. I love tough female detectives and this did not disappoint. I got a little confused by the story in the story, but this was a fun read...Chandler meets Grafton meets Vachss. I’ll be reading more of this series!
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  • Nick
    January 1, 1970
    Sara Gran is my favorite - very pumped to have lucked into a galley!
  • Ryan
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book through a Goodreads Giveaway, and I would like to thank the publisher for sending me a copy. I'm giving Infinite Blacktop 2.5 stars. This was my first Claire DeWitt novel, and while it can serve as a stand alone story I'm sure reading the previous novels she appears in would give more background information on Claire's background and detective prowess. The book consists of three separate "mysteries" that Claire finds herself involved in that take place when she was a teenage I received this book through a Goodreads Giveaway, and I would like to thank the publisher for sending me a copy. I'm giving Infinite Blacktop 2.5 stars. This was my first Claire DeWitt novel, and while it can serve as a stand alone story I'm sure reading the previous novels she appears in would give more background information on Claire's background and detective prowess. The book consists of three separate "mysteries" that Claire finds herself involved in that take place when she was a teenager, a young women trying to get a PI license, and an experienced investigator attempting to find her would-be assassin. As a character study, I found a lot to enjoy about the story. DeWitt stands as both mystic and materialistic, purpose-driven but also existentially lost, and she definitely feels like the twenty-first-century's response to the noir-esque detective stories of the early 1900s. The cast of supporting characters did not seem to be well-fleshed out though. The mystery side of the story, the actual detective work, never seemed to get off the ground either, and that was a bit of a disappointment. Throughout the book Claire calls herself the best detective in the world, but there doesn't seem to be any evidence to validate that assertion in Infinite Blacktop. Whether this is millennial era braggadocio or a legitimate opinion, Claire's detective work is solid (compared to the drone-like private eyes and police used as foils in the story) but not incredible. I kept trying to figure out what about her methods made her better or different than other literary sleuths who used both evidence and intuition, but nothing stuck out at me. I am sure reading the past books could make this clearer, but overall Infinite Blacktop is a novel with a powerful protagonist, forgetful secondary cast of character, and a story line that never synced up and seemed unsatisfying.
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  • Tim Niland
    January 1, 1970
    It took five years for Sara Gran to return to her great detective Claire DeWitt, but it was worth the wait. We find Claire in 2011, seriously injured and dazed in an ambulance in Oakland, after learning that Andre, a figure in a previous case was in trouble. Somebody crashed into her car deliberately, and she has to bail from the cops and EMS to stay alive and find out who has targeted her. The narrative then splits between a 1999 case into the suspicious death of a California artist that Claire It took five years for Sara Gran to return to her great detective Claire DeWitt, but it was worth the wait. We find Claire in 2011, seriously injured and dazed in an ambulance in Oakland, after learning that Andre, a figure in a previous case was in trouble. Somebody crashed into her car deliberately, and she has to bail from the cops and EMS to stay alive and find out who has targeted her. The narrative then splits between a 1999 case into the suspicious death of a California artist that Claire is forced to take to complete PI licensing requirements and the 2011 case that she tracks to Las Vegas and has very personal implications. Both plots work quite well, one is resolved and one isn't, and like the two previous books in this series, they are tied together with quotes from Jacques Sillette the (fictional) mystical French detective and his book Détection which led her to become a detective after reading it as a teenager, and has become the lodestar of her career and life. Claire is a great anti-hero, unravelling mysteries at any cost, and Gran's writing is wonderful. It's not perfect, she is way out on the edge, and there are dead spots, but the strength of the character and the power of the writing pulls things through admirably.
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  • Brendle
    January 1, 1970
    A while back someone thanked me for recommending this series. "It was different." he said. "I like different." That is exactly what I like about this series. It's like no other mystery series out there. I was absolutely delighted to discover that there was finally a concluding volume. It did not disappoint. The case files of Claire DeWitt aren’t elegant. Instead they are disorganized and disjointed (though oh so cleverly named), our detective hard to like. Claire is highly self destructive, perh A while back someone thanked me for recommending this series. "It was different." he said. "I like different." That is exactly what I like about this series. It's like no other mystery series out there. I was absolutely delighted to discover that there was finally a concluding volume. It did not disappoint. The case files of Claire DeWitt aren’t elegant. Instead they are disorganized and disjointed (though oh so cleverly named), our detective hard to like. Claire is highly self destructive, perhaps more than ever, but this time we feel her drive to find answers keenly. Her intuition and her philosophical detection training are functioning at their highest levels, no matter her physical suffering, as she puts together the pieces from a decades old mystery that has haunted her for years, the disappearance of her friend Tracy. That the decades old mystery is connected to a little known teen detective serial, but in some respects has nothing to do with it at all, well, that makes perfect sense as three seemingly divergent narratives combine into one grand finale. This is a series to revisit and one that will be a pleasure to continue to recommend.*Advance copy courtesy of Edelweiss.*
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  • Alicia
    January 1, 1970
    http://wordnerdy.blogspot.com/2018/08...A big YAY for a new book in Gran's Claire DeWitt series, about a troubled woman who is the world's best detective, with some eccentric methodology. (That makes this series sound quirky, but really it is dark and weird and wonderful.) In this one, someone is trying to kill Claire, and she has to figure out who, and why. This is interspersed with flashbacks to earlier in her career, when she is working on a cold case involving a dead artist, as well as flash http://wordnerdy.blogspot.com/2018/08...A big YAY for a new book in Gran's Claire DeWitt series, about a troubled woman who is the world's best detective, with some eccentric methodology. (That makes this series sound quirky, but really it is dark and weird and wonderful.) In this one, someone is trying to kill Claire, and she has to figure out who, and why. This is interspersed with flashbacks to earlier in her career, when she is working on a cold case involving a dead artist, as well as flashbacks to her childhood as part of a group of Girl Detectives. I really hope Gran is planning more in this series, because I find it completely captivating. A.__A review copy was provided by the publisher. This book will be released in September.
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  • Paul Petrone
    January 1, 1970
    This is a hard book to review because at times I found it spellbinding. And I like the message of embrace truth.What I didn’t like was this idea that truth is the world is an ugly, terrible and cold place. Or somehow you can only find who you really are alone. Imo truth is not so bleak and the real challenge is being yourself and building great relationship, not hermiting up somewhere and letting no one in as the only way to be really you.All told the author definitely has talent and the book wa This is a hard book to review because at times I found it spellbinding. And I like the message of embrace truth.What I didn’t like was this idea that truth is the world is an ugly, terrible and cold place. Or somehow you can only find who you really are alone. Imo truth is not so bleak and the real challenge is being yourself and building great relationship, not hermiting up somewhere and letting no one in as the only way to be really you.All told the author definitely has talent and the book was interesting, just didn’t love the philosophy. Although the fact it had a POV at all is something - many books don’t. Very tough to rate but would love you all to read it so I can discuss it with you...
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  • Dan
    January 1, 1970
    Sara Gran is consistently great. After several years writing for TV, she returns with the third book narrated by Claire DeWitt. DeWitt is what might happen if a punk rock version of Nancy Drew as an adult lived and detected in a dark noir world and followed the dictates of a French detective whose worldview might be expressed as Zen Existentialism with a touch of stoicism. Its bleak, hilarious and often profound. The philosophy is foregrounded a little more in this one. It holds up to its predec Sara Gran is consistently great. After several years writing for TV, she returns with the third book narrated by Claire DeWitt. DeWitt is what might happen if a punk rock version of Nancy Drew as an adult lived and detected in a dark noir world and followed the dictates of a French detective whose worldview might be expressed as Zen Existentialism with a touch of stoicism. Its bleak, hilarious and often profound. The philosophy is foregrounded a little more in this one. It holds up to its predecessors.I first read Gran this year and she's firmly on the favorite authors list. My copy of her debut is in the mail and is the last of her books I haven't read. Obviously I'm recommending this, though you should read the other Claire DeWitt books first.
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  • Melissa
    January 1, 1970
    This book... it's weird and wonderful, but it's clearly not for everyone. What is, though? Think of the gritty noir world of L.A. Confidential filtered through a Mulholland Drive surreal lens. If that appeals to you, maybe you should pick this up. This is definitely a work in which the journey is more the point than the destination... Some mysteries are solved (the author juggles three timelines), but what really gets illuminated is the detective herself.
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  • Kerrie-ann
    January 1, 1970
    Claire DeWitt has been involved in a car accident, but it was no accidental car crash. Someone set out to kill her. Why would someone want to kill Claire DeWitt and who wants to kill her? She must set out on her mission to find out these answers. This novel is set in the 1990's and in 2011. When I finished reading this novel I had two big questions which were buzzing round the top of my head that I never found out the answers to. What happened to Tracey and why did 'beep' want to kill Claire? Th Claire DeWitt has been involved in a car accident, but it was no accidental car crash. Someone set out to kill her. Why would someone want to kill Claire DeWitt and who wants to kill her? She must set out on her mission to find out these answers. This novel is set in the 1990's and in 2011. When I finished reading this novel I had two big questions which were buzzing round the top of my head that I never found out the answers to. What happened to Tracey and why did 'beep' want to kill Claire? These answers were never fully explained at the end of the novel so I was left a bit disappointed. The ending felt a bit rushed and answers were never fully given. The action started at the beginning of the novel with the car crash and Claire leaving the scene to try to find out who killed her on her own mission. However, the action did slow down went she had to go on the run and find her own ways to survive by threatening and hurting random people and stealing things. I do believe that she should have suffered more injuries than she actually did in the car crash, as it seemed like she only suffered minor injuries. A lot of the middle of the novel was quite slow as not a lot happened whilst she was on the run. You found out a lot of information from her contacts helping her solve her own crime. The only action that occurred was a car chase with the attacker and a gun fight towards the end of the novel between Claire and her attacker. Claire's character was a bit difficult to like at times as I found her quite rude to everyone she met, she was quite annoying and very self centered. She was always annoying a lot of people so no one really liked her that much. She was a smoker and did a lot of drugs and stole money. I did want her to solve the case but I wasn't very supportive towards her especially the way she went about solving her own case. Overall, I gave this novel 3/5 stars. It was an intriguing novel set in the 1990's and 2011. It is a mysterious crime filled with twists, turns and drama set in the past.
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