The Long-Legged Fly

The Long-Legged Fly - James Sallis, Carol Lea Benjamin
"In the darkness things always go away from you. Memory holds you down while regret and sorrow kick the hell out of you.

The only help you'll get is a few hard drinks and morning."
This book is unlike any other detective novel I've read. You know how in all detective stories you get the sense that the case our hero is investigating is a stand-out case for him amongst all of his smaller, regular assignments? That it's a a mystery that he'll probably remember forever and is worth dedicating a book to above the others? Well, The Long-Legged Fly focuses instead on those OTHER cases: the everyday ones, the day-to-day work. The book can barely be considered a novel; it's more of a series of short stories highlighting key times throughout different decades in Creole private detective (and part-time insurance strong-arm) Lew Griffin's life as an individual instead of just a hard-boiled dick. Even though the mysteries are fairly tame and inconsequential, each decade finds Lew as a different person, a complex man that finds himself and loses himself again, that evolves and transforms throughout the years, as any person would.
"The world doesn't change, and mostly we don't either, we just go on looking into the same mirror, trying on different hats and expressions and new sets of vice, opinion, and prejudice; pretending, as children do, to see and feel things that are not there."
It's also written by [a:James Sallis|91115|James Sallis|], who is not only a crime novelist but also a poet, philosopher, and musician. He fills the book with sometimes drunken but always poignant ruminations on life, the blues, and classic literature. Although the book's structure makes it sometimes difficult to be engaged in the superficial story, the character of Lew Griffin is the star of the show, and it's fascinating watching him evolve. I really enjoyed this one. Sallis is a really gifted writer and I'm interesting in seeing where Griffin goes from here.
"Maybe the best parts of our lives are always over. Maybe happiness, contentment, are things we only recollect through the filters of time, elusive ghosts forever behind us."