The Feral Detective
Jonathan Lethem’s first detective novel since Motherless Brooklyn.
Phoebe Siegler first meets Charles Heist in a shabby trailer on the eastern edge of Los Angeles. She’s looking for her friend’s missing daughter, Arabella, and hires Heist to help. A laconic loner who keeps his pet opossum in a desk drawer, Heist intrigues the sarcastic and garrulous Phoebe. Reluctantly, he agrees to help. The unlikely pair navigate the enclaves of desert-dwelling vagabonds and find that Arabella is in serious trouble—caught in the middle of a violent standoff that only Heist, mysteriously, can end. Phoebe’s trip to the desert was always going to be strange, but it was never supposed to be dangerous. . . .
Jonathan Lethem’s first detective novel since Motherless Brooklyn, The Feral Detective is a singular achievement by one of our greatest writers.
Praise & Reviews
“Who can really be saved in our collapsing society is the question that rumbles below these pages, but the story races along so fast you’ll barely notice you’ve entered such dark territory…The elements of detective fiction fit in Lethem’s hands as comfortably as a snub-nose .38. He can hit an old Ross Macdonald motif at 50 yards.”
– Ron Charles, The Washington Post
“The Feral Detective investigates our haunted America in all its contemporary guises — at the edge of the city, beyond the blank desert, in the apartment next door. It’s a nimble and uncanny performance, brimming with Lethem’s trademark verve and wit.”
“Like The Crying of Lot 49 as written and directed by Elaine May, The Feral Detective is hilarious and terrifying and wrenching. Phoebe is one of the grandest, funniest heroes I’ve come upon in a long time.”
“Wild, urgent, and very funny. As always, Lethem writes knowingly and brilliantly about weird, off-the-grid, wayward America. In his ever-more-electric prose, he illuminates both the barbarity and the beauty.”
“I want to read a shelf of Heist. I want to make him my new Travis McGee, and that’s, seriously, the highest praise I know.”
“A funny but rage-fueled stunner…Both [characters] are compelling, as are the desert setting and the vividly realized descriptions of its dwellers…An unrelentingly paced tale..Utterly unique and absolutely worthwhile.”
—Booklist (starred review))
“Surrealistic, genre-bending…The personal nature of Phoebe’s tectonic shift in the desert is palpable, made flesh by Lethem’s linguistic alchemy…A haunting tour of the gulf between the privileged and the dispossessed.”
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)