Saturday, May 19, 2018

Review: The Infinite Blacktop

The Infinite Blacktop The Infinite Blacktop by Sara Gran
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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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