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“Claire DeWitt and the Bohemian Highway”: Noir for a new age

Fate, dark and implacable, has always played a role in noir fiction. People meet, actions are taken and a vast machinery is set in motion, the characters carried along by it more or less against their wills. This makes the hard-boiled detective novel one of the more mystically disposed genres, as unlikely as that may sound to the casual observer. Perhaps it was only a matter of time until a sleuth came along whose expertise was essentially irrational.

Claire Dewitt recognizes a clue by the weird chills she gets when she first encounters it, and she makes some of her most important deductions in dreams and under the influence of mind-altering substances. Claire, or another PI much like her, might have been inevitable -- or maybe it just takes a writer as good as Sara Gran to make her seem that way.

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