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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Don't be misled by the title, 'Dope'
Sara Gran's novel successfully manages to create a relationship between the lead character and the reader even if a somewhat anxiety prone one. A '50's feel to the narrative is prominent as the story unfolds. There were moments for me when I could have advised the lead character more effectively on the decisions she took, but that's what a good story is all about...
Published on 20 Aug 2006 by Mike Alexander

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent short read but not a lot to it
It's odd to find a pure 1950s American 'noir' thriller turning up in the 21st century, especially one written without even a hint of post-modern irony. Except for the fact that many of the characters are heroin users, with histories of degradation and despair such as you might expect, this short novel could easily have been bought at a dime bookstore 40 or more years...
Published on 8 July 2006 by NataliaBr


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent short read but not a lot to it, 8 July 2006
This review is from: Dope (Paperback)
It's odd to find a pure 1950s American 'noir' thriller turning up in the 21st century, especially one written without even a hint of post-modern irony. Except for the fact that many of the characters are heroin users, with histories of degradation and despair such as you might expect, this short novel could easily have been bought at a dime bookstore 40 or more years ago.

The plot is a carbon copy of ones used in dozens of noir movies: a low-life PI is hired by wealthy clients to find a missing girl, only to find the hard way that he (in this case, she) is being set up for a patsy. This was even the plot of the Cohen brothers' comedy 'The Big Lebowski', although that was a wonderful riff on the whole LA noir tradition.

'Dope' has the length of a long-ish novella - or a long movie treatment (perhaps the intention) - so there is no time to get bored. However, you may find yourself waiting for a clever twist or reality shift that never shows up. Gran's last outing was a supernatural thriller (seemingly); and this adds to the expectation that all might not be what it seems. What you finally do get is a standard-issue plot twist of the Agatha Christie type (i.e. one that reveals who the villain of the piece really is) and that's your lot.

If there is some deeper content here, it can only be in the message that getting hooked on heroine is a really bad idea, and will destroy your life. But I think that message has been out there for some time.

In short, a bit of a let down, especially after the glowing testimonials.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not as gritty as you'd think, 12 Jun 2007
By 
NB (Middlesbrough, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Dope (Paperback)
Gran tells the story of about Joe, an ex-junkie who lives in a murky New York filled with seedy pimps, junkies, bent coppers and hookers, who has to find a missing girl.

This story is elegantly told, with descriptions of unsavoury acts being written without salacious detail. Maybe it's due to it being so faithful to the noir genre, but the characters, even the ones not filled up on junk, seemed devoid of feeling, which made it hard to care about any of them.

This is also probably due to the matter of fact style this is, but it is actually a well-told story, where the loose ends are tied up after a few twists, but seeing as it is a modern book, I was surprised at how faithful it is to the noir genre, without a hint of irony or self- awareness.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Don't be misled by the title, 'Dope', 20 Aug 2006
By 
Mike Alexander (LEEDS, West Yorkshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Dope (Paperback)
Sara Gran's novel successfully manages to create a relationship between the lead character and the reader even if a somewhat anxiety prone one. A '50's feel to the narrative is prominent as the story unfolds. There were moments for me when I could have advised the lead character more effectively on the decisions she took, but that's what a good story is all about. Betrayal, trust and addiction are prominent themes that are well constructed and not overly complicated. Ms Gran's ability to weave one into her plots is impressive and I recommend 'Dope' to anyone with a leaning towards noir crime novels.

Mike Alexander
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Dope
Dope by Sara Gran (Paperback - 8 Jun 2006)
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