The Long-legged Fly
A NovelBook - 2001
Take a little James Lee Burke, a touch of Ross Macdonald, and a dash of Raymond Chandler, the conventions of the classic American detective story and the fine, thoughtful writing of an original new talent - and you still don't quite have The Long-Legged Fly. This is a smart, tough novel teeming with life and always on the verge of igniting from its own energy. In steamy modern-day New Orleans, black private detective Lew Griffin has once again taken on a seemingly hopeless missing persons case. The trail takes him through the underbelly of the French Quarter with its bar girls, pimps, and tourist attractions. As his search leads to one violent dead end, and then another, Griffin is confronted with the prospect that his own life has come to resemble those he is attempting to find; he is becoming as lost as the frail identities he tries to recover. Waking in a hospital after an alcoholic binge, Griffin finds another chance in a nurse who comes to love him, but again he reverts to his old life in the mean streets among the predators and their prey. When his son vanishes, Griffin searches back through the tangles and tatters of his life, knowing that he must solve his personal mysteries before he can venture after the whereabouts of others. The Long-Legged Fly is exciting, visceral entertainment that takes the reader into a corner of society where life is fought for as much as it is lived. James Sallis has written a compelling novel that succeeds both as detective fiction and worthy literature.