Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Good Stuff - Dope

Yeah, yeah, I'm late to the party. I heard nothing but good stuff about this book last year and dammit, I still put off reading it until a few months ago. Don't you make the same mistake.

I freakin' loved this book. It's been ages since I could honestly say that the story, character, voice and writing were all so good that I couldn't help but simply read the book. I had to make myself go back and really analyze how Gran did it, 'cause I couldn't look at the technical stuff until I had finished the novel. Sheer noir pleasure - no complaints, no quibbles of any kind.

DOPE follows former heroin junkie Josephine Flannigan through the seamier side of post-WWII New York. She's been hired by a wealthy suburban couple to find their daughter, Nadine, a former Barnard college student who is missing and believed to be an addict. Although initially cautious about taking the job, the money is good and Joey knows that she may well be the one person who can find the girl. Then again, nothing and no one is what or who they appear to be. The plot twists and turns are vicious and make perfect sense as the story unfolds.

Make no mistake, this is straight up noir. There is no happy ending waiting for Joey and the journey is both relentless and heartbreaking. I read the last two chapters through a lens of tears - not a typical response for me. Thing is, fab writing aside, I can't this character out of my head. It's been a few months since I finished DOPE, and I still catch myself thinking about Joey. The voice is crystal clear, compelling and fierce. Not a light read, but dear god it's a helluva book.


At 8:41 PM, Anonymous Desperate Writer said...

Great. Another one for the TBR pile. :) I have to get it now!

At 8:30 AM, Blogger Stephen Blackmoore said...

Occasionally, I hear an asshat say something like women can't write noir. I like to beat them over the head with this book.

If you haven't yet, check out Megan Abbott's "The Song Is You". Also noir, set in about the same time frame, but in Hollywood. A radically different vibe.

It's interesting to see the differences, not just in style, but in how setting informs the story.

At 12:27 PM, Blogger dink said...

Don't you just LOVE when this happens (you love a book this much)?

Interesting time-frame not one I've seen in a lot of contemporary books --that could be very cool.

I'm sticking it on my list.

Thanks Angie!

At 1:02 PM, Blogger angie said...

I'll definitely check out Abbott's book, Stephen. Sounds like a winner.

And yeah, I am always thrilled when I find a book that knocks my socks off. A rare and wonderful thing - lots of good, competent books, not so many of the phenomenal kind. DOPE is definitely in the latter category. All I can say is...get out the kleenex. Your gonna need it.

At 2:12 PM, Blogger Steven said...

DOPE, one of the best books I've read.


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