Table of Contents
“Raymond Chandler and Jim Thompson return from the dead, go on a month-long drinking binge, then hole up in a boardinghouse to write a book together. Six months later, they emerge, stinking of whiskey and tobacco, with a manuscript that would look a lot like
. Gran doesn't just copy this brawny style; she makes it her own. She's Chandler on steroids . . . the first great noir novel from a woman. The plot unfolds with more betrayals and twists than Thompson ever thought of stuffing into his warped masterpiece,
The Killer Inside Me
.”âThe Associated Press
A thrilling, heartbreaking journey through the heroin underbelly of 1950s New York. I was more than hooked. I was blown away.”
âRichard Rayner, author of
The Devil's Wind
“Gran writes tight, with the muscular, vinegary style of a really good pulp novelist. [A] pitch-black mystery . . . a Weegee photograph in words . . . unsentimental to its clammy core.”â
The Washington Post
“Dope just keeps on twisting.”â
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“Dark and brooding in the best tradition of noir.”
New York Daily News
“Stark and utterly compelling. Entering the world of
. . . is like stepping into a favorite film noir, all black and white and ominous shades of gray . . . unraveling its way to a totally shockingâand perfectâconclusion. Readers will lift their eyes from these black-and-white pages, shocked to find so much color in the world, knowing that they should have seen that ending coming, but they never would have.”â
A heck of a book.”â
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
“Probably the year's scariest novel.
is the kind of novel that demands to be read on a wintry night in front of a log fire. It works insidiously, by undermining your sense of the world as something knowable and secure.”â
“Amazingly scary . . . A story that will frighten the toughest cynics, make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end and even keep you awake at night with fear.”â
Coventry Evening Telegraph
“An intelligent horror story, a literary creepshow. It worms its way under your skin and stays there.”
âDarin Strauss, author of
Chang and Eng
left me so profoundly disturbed, so terrified and sleepless and unable to shake free of its horrible spell, that I'd feel irresponsible urging it on another living soul if I didn't crave the company.”
âKathryn Davis, author of
“Deeply scary, blurring as it does the bounds between everyday life and the completely unthinkable. Just don't read it alone in a house with noisy plumbing.”
“A quick readâbut not one that the reader will quickly forget.”â
“Takes the reader into some very dark corners of the soul.”â
Detroit Free Press
“Seductively menacing, alluringly sinister, Gran's ominous study of psychological and spiritual suspense heralds a refreshingly sophisticated and literate approach to an often-predictable genre.”â
“A gripping contemporary tale of terror.”
“[Its] horror emanates from the awfulness of life itself . . . [Delivers] a kick that stays with you for days afterward.”â
The Cleveland Plain Dealer
on the train, in a snowstorm, on a cold December night. It was the right atmosphere for this perfectly noirish tale of madness and love. Author Sara Gran writes with scalpel-like clarity, expertly blending tones to create a new kind of psychological thriller. Days after finishing it, it has not left my mind. I loved this book.”
âGeorge Pelecanos, author of
The Night Gardener
The Yellow Wallpaper
in a slim, wonderfully eerie novel.”â
“The scariest book I've read in years, a classic slow-burner (or chiller) . . . a short, stylish book you'll sprint through in a couple of hours. But the effects may linger longer. Debate whether or not you want to put your sleep at risk. Keep the holy water handy.”
ought to carry a warning to readers. It's impossible to begin this intense, clever, beautifully written novel without turning every page.”
âMargot Livesey, author of
“I picked it up at 7P.M. By 7:10 I was locked into the cold isolation chamber of Gran's prose. It was too late to get out.”â
The Daily Telegraph
“Hypnotic, disturbing . . . What begins as a sly fable about frustrated desire evolves into a genuinely scary novel about possession and insanity. Written with such unerring confidence you believe every word.
is one of the most precise and graceful pieces of fiction I've read in a long time.”
âBret Easton Ellis, author of
“A sly, satisfying (fast!) novel of one young woman possessed not only by a demon but also by her own secret desires.”
âStewart O'Nan, author of
Wish You Were Here
is sharp and strange and, best of all, at the moment of truth it doesn't flinch from its own mad logic.”
âSam Lipsyte, author of
“Like Patricia Highsmith, Sara Gran has a knack for exposing the terror that lurks beneath our everyday lives.”
âJason Starr, author of
“A terrifying psychological journey.”
Titles by Sara Gran
SATURN'S RETURN TO NEW YORK
THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP
Published by the Penguin Group
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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsiblity for author or third-party websites or their content.
Copyright Â© 2006 by Sara Gran.
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eISBN : 978-1-440-68476-0
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
1. Young womenâFiction. 2. Drug addictsâFiction. 3. Missing personsâFiction. 4. New York (N.Y.)âFiction. 5. College studentsâFiction. I. Title.
Maude said my name flatly, like I was dead or she wanted me to be. I sat across from her at a booth in the back of the bar, where the daylight never reached and the smell of stale beer and cigarettes never cleared. Maude had been the mistress of a gangster back in the thirties and he'd bought her this bar to set her up with something after he was gone. It was on the corner of Broadway and West Fourth, and if you'd never been there before it would take a minute to notice that there wasn't a girl in the place, other than Maude. And now me. It was a queer joint. She let the boys hang out here because it was good businessâit's not like they had too many other places to goâand of course there was an even better business in keeping their secrets.
“Hiya Maude.” She looked at me as if I were speaking another language. Pink lipstick was smeared on her lips, and she was squeezed into a gold strapless dress two sizes too small. Her hair was done up in a big blond pouf on top of her head.
I reached into my purse and pulled out a gold ring with a small diamond in a plain setting. An engagement ring. It was good. I'd boosted it from Tiffany's the day before.
I handed the ring to Maude. She grabbed it with her fat white hand, and then got out a magnifying glass from her pocketbook and looked the ring over, holding it up so it caught the yellow light coming from the bulb on the wall. She took her time. I didn't mind. Someone put a song on the jukebox. A few men started to dance with each other, but the bartender yelled at them to stop. They gave it up and went back to their seats. If the cops came in and saw dancing, everyone in the place would be locked up.
Maude looked the ring over a few more times and then looked up at me and said, “Fifty.”