The Long-Legged Fly, originally published in 2000, introduced James Sallis’s detective Lew Griffin. The book feels more like a short story collection than a novel, as the focus is not a single mystery. Instead, the common thread is Griffin himself. Although he frequently finds missing persons, Griffin struggles to find himself.
The book traces his life and career over a twenty-six year period (1964-1990) as Griffin shifts from women, crimes and sanity. The last chapter is perhaps the most haunting and enigmatic. It involves Griffin’s search for his grown son, who failed to return to America from Europe as planned.
Narrator G. Lamont Thomas expertly draws the listener into the sultry and somber atmosphere created by Sallis. The combination of Thomas’ voice and Sallis words easily encompasses you in a melancholy world, where all to frequent there are not happy ever after endings.
The talent of the narrator was a key reason I enjoyed this book. It was a rainy week when I listened to the audiobook. The combination of cloudy days, and Thomas’ narration left me wondering, if the sun would ever come out again.
The Long-Legged Fly is perhaps not a great mystery story but it is a well written examination of the title character’s life and dark world. I give the book a solid three stars.