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ISBN: 9781842437162
Price: £9.99
Casing: Paperback
Format: B (198 x 129mm)
Extent: 224pp
Rights: UK & Commonwealth only, excl. Canada, Australia & New Zealand
Pub. Date: May 2012


 James  Sallis
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James Sallis

Jim Sallis has published fourteen novels, multiple collections of short stories, essays, and poems, books of musicology, a biography of Chester Himes, and a translation of Raymond Queneau's novel Saint Glinglin. He has written about books for the L.A. Times, New York Times, and Washington Post, and for some years served as a books columnist for the Boston Globe. In 2007 he received a lifetime achievement award from Bouchercon.

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Ghost of a Flea

by James Sallis


The final part of James Sallis' sequence of novels featuring Lew Griffin

"Somewhere, among the wastes of the world, is the key that will bring us back, restore us to our Earth and to our freedom," Pynchon wrote in Gravity's Rainbow. Never has a man's search among those wastes, for that freedom, been better represented than in this stunning conclusion to the Lew Griffin cycle.

In his old house in uptown New Orleans, Lew Griffin is alone again...or almost. He and Deborah are drifting apart. His son David has disappeared again, leaving behind a note that sounds final. Heading homeward from his retirement party, his friend, Don Walsh has been shot while interrupting a robbery. Worst of all, Lew himself is directionless, no longer teaching, with little to fill his days. He hasn't written anything in years. Even the attempt to discover the source of threatening letters sent to a friend leaves him feeling rootless and lost.

Through five previous novels, James Sallis has enthralled and challenged readers as he has told the story of Lew Griffin, private detective, teacher, writer, poet, and a black man moving through a white man's world. And now Lew Griffin stands alone in a dark room, looking out. Behind him on the bed is a body. Wind pecks at the window. Traffic sounds drift aimlessly in. He thinks if he doesn't speak, doesn't think about what happened, somehow things will be alright again. He thinks about his own life, about the other's, about how the two of them came to be here...

In a series as much about identity as it is about crime, Sallis has held a mirror up to society and culture, while at the same time setting Lew Griffin the task of discovering who he is. As the detective stands in that dark room, the answers begin to come clear and the highly acclaimed series builds to a brilliantly constructed climax that will resonate in readers' minds long after the story is finished.


James Sallis is a superb writer
- The Times

Sublime, soulful, and essential
- Mike Stafford, Bookgeeks

If Camus wrote pulp, he'd read like Sallis
- Andrew Donaldson, Times South Africa

Sallis is a fastidious man, intelligent and widely read. There's nothing slapdash or merely strategic about his work ... peculiar and visionary.
- Iain Sinclair, London Review of Books

An immensely rewarding read
- Paul Kane, @JildySauce


'Ghost of a Flea' bears the marks of a fierce and original writer working at full power
- Kai Maristead, L.A. Times [read the full review]

His writing is literate, intelligent, deeply moving, his exploration of what it is to be human is incisive, heartbreaking yet ultimately uplifting. Ghost Of A Flea is a book that you don't want to finish and you can't put down.
- Cath Staincliffe, Manchester Evening News [read the full review]

Allusive and stylish, this stark metaphysical landscape will leave a resounding impression
- Maxim Jakubowski, Guardian [read the full review]

fans of particularly sophisticated writing will love the experience of being drawn deeper and deeper into circles of narrative complexity
- Publishers Weekly [read the full review]

- Boston Globe [read the full review]

a real gem of a book, with more twists, turns and half-obscured layers than you can shake a stick at
- Alistair Fitchett, [read the full review]

luminously evocative prose and a protagonist of great charm whose wit flashes defiantly, and whose refusal to surrender is as gallant as it is heartbreaking
- Kirkus Reviews [read the full review]

Dead men don't tell tales, or so the saying goes. But the tale told by this one is extraordinary.
- The Washington Post [read the full review]

a superb book: beautiful, lyrical, moving and oh-so-sad
- MGS, barcelona review [read the full review]

a truly compelling, seemingly effortlessly complex story... Ghost of a Flea stands with John Updike’s Rabbit at Rest as one of the great contemporary novels on the passing of a series protagonist and of the milieu which has been made his own
- Martin Kich, Professor of English, Wright State University, The Mystery Review [read the full review]

more of an eloquent meditation than a mystery - and the meditation is on regret, death, loss, and the ultimately unsolvable mystery
- Kris Lawson, raintaxi review of books [read the full review]

a moving finale to the series
- Mark Thwaite, [read the full review]

a dark, rich novel about the final days of New Orleans author and intellectual Lew Griffin
- Karen G Anderson, January Magazine [read the full review]

With "Ghost of a Flea," the sixth and last Griffin novel, Sallis brings things to closure and, with a stunning flourish, transfigures everything that came before into an ingenious, resonant whole
- Gene Seymour, [read the full review]

With "Ghost of a Flea," the sixth and last Griffin novel, Sallis brings things to closure and, with a stunning flourish, transfigures everything that came before into an ingenious, resonant whole.
- Gene Seymour, [read the full review]


Ghost of a Flea - Review by

Greatest Hits - new short story by James Sallis for

James Sallis' Delta Roots revealed

James Sallis interview in ShortList

Others of His Kind: PW Talks With James Sallis

Chin Wag At The Slaughterhouse: Interview With James Sallis

James Sallis interview with ARD German TV in Munich

James Sallis interview with ZDF German TV in Phoenix

James Sallis - Six of the Best: Heist Films The Times Saturday Review July 14th 2012

James Sallis in Conversation at The Watershed in Bristol: May 26th 2012

Interview with Bookgeeks June 18th 2012

GQ: Drive author James Sallis on working with Ryan Gosling and the latest on the sequel, Driven

James Sallis on Driven in The Big Issue

The Killer Is Dying Named Winner Of North American Hammett Prize

Metro: James Sallis: I never anticipated Drive sequel but the Driver is unknowable

AnOther: Culture Talks | Author James Sallis on Driven

Dazed & Confused: James Sallis: Drive & Driven - The author of Drive on Ryan Gosling, writing the sequel and the freedom of driving fast

Noir writer Megan Abbott and Los Angeles Review of Books noir editor Boris Drayluk discuss James Sallis's latest, Driven

‘Drive’ Author James Sallis on His Sequel, ‘Driven’ (The Daily Beast)

James Sallis page on NEP

No Exit to publish James Sallis sequel to 'DRIVE'

James Sallis may be the best crime writer you've never heard of

We Love the Contract Killers: Video Interview with James Sallis

James Sallis' Website

Guardian Interview with James Sallis

James Sallis' work profiled

James Sallis on Patricia Highsmith

Shutting Darkness Down (short story)

James Sallis reviewed in the Los Angeles Times

James Sallis Interview on Salt River with Shots Magazine

James Sallis interview with

Profile of James Sallis in the Guardian from 2001

James Sallis interview on Crime Time

James Sallis interview on Drive and the big screen at


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