Sunset City

Sunset City A taut erotically charged literary noir set in Houston about a woman caught up in her friend s shocking murder and the dark truths she uncovers Before the drugs Danielle Reeves was Charlotte Ford s

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  • Title: Sunset City
  • Author: Melissa Ginsburg
  • ISBN: 9780062429704
  • Page: 158
  • Format: Hardcover
  • A taut, erotically charged literary noir set in Houston about a woman caught up in her friend s shocking murder, and the dark truths she uncovers.Before the drugs, Danielle Reeves was Charlotte Ford s most loyal and vibrant friend She helped Charlotte through her mother s illness and death, and opened up about her own troubled family The two friends were inseparable, revA taut, erotically charged literary noir set in Houston about a woman caught up in her friend s shocking murder, and the dark truths she uncovers.Before the drugs, Danielle Reeves was Charlotte Ford s most loyal and vibrant friend She helped Charlotte through her mother s illness and death, and opened up about her own troubled family The two friends were inseparable, reveling in Houston s shadowy corners But then Danielle s addiction got the best of her and she went to prison for four years When she gets out, she and Charlotte reconnect Charlotte hopes this is a new start for their friendship.But then, a detective shows up at Charlotte s apartment Danielle has been murdered, bludgeoned to death.Overwhelmed by grief, Charlotte is determined to understand how the most alive person she has ever known could end up dead But the deeper Charlotte descends into Danielle s dark world, the less she understands Was Danielle a hapless victim or master manipulator Was she really intent on starting over or was it all an act To find out the truth, Charlotte must keep her head clear and her guard up Houston has a way of feeding on bad habits and Charlotte doesn t want to get swallowed whole, a victim of her own anguished desires.

    One thought on “Sunset City”

    1. Read this for the booktubeathon 2016 challenge - read a book after sunset.I'm not much of a crime or noir person but mr pastore read this and liked it, it was in the house and it had sunset in the title. I was interested enough in this to keep reading (though happy it was short) and the writing was good. I dunno though, never really grabbed me and didn't feel involved at all. One thing that did keep me going was imagining that the detective was Aiden Quinn in Practical Magic was hoping he would [...]

    2. I give all the credit to the team at Ecco who avoided the temptation to compare this book to Gone Girl or Girl on the Train. It's a great book that's better than that kind of marketing. It falls right into that spot, though, and is on its surface similar to GOTT because of the self-destructive female protagonist whose world is shaken by a murder. Noir is one of my favorite genres and I couldn't pass up a Houston Noir (I'm a big fan of Attica Locke's Houston-based crime novels as well) after spen [...]

    3. I did really enjoy this, and was pretty much hooked. It was very 'edgy' in that there was cocaine and sex, cigarettes, general unhealthiness and a bit of porn, oh and death. Cooool. My nostrils burned just from reading it. Was the mystery very good? Not especially, as there was like only 3 people who could've been the killer, but the writing was good and hypnotic and the noiry Houston setting felt new and authentic. Will defo be reading more Melissa Ginsburg.

    4. Not that satisfying if you're looking for a crime novel, but not that satisfying if you want lit fic either. Also fell into that old cliche trap of a woman having sex with a woman to show she's going to the dark side - but don't worry, eventually she emerges into safe, normal, good heteronormativity.

    5. A dark, erotic, menacing piece of noir that features a cast of screwed up twentysomethings thrust together by a grisly murder. Ginsburg writes like a hardboiled pro - this doesn't feel like a debut novel. The descriptions are poetic, the images lingering and the characters defined and flawed. I had some quibbles with the pacing and plot, but overall this was a gripping debut, murky and gritty, pulling the reader through the streets of Houston and down into its darkest corners. Looking forward to [...]

    6. Billed as ‘taut, erotically charged literary noir’, Sunset City pretty much ticks all these boxes, and in common with the brilliant Cracked by Barbra Leslie, explores the life of a damaged young woman in an impersonal and isolating metropolis, in this case Houston. Through her first person narrative, we observe Charlotte immersing herself totally in the life of her murdered friend Danielle, to uncover the truth behind her death, and drawing her into maelstrom of danger and jealousy. Fans of [...]

    7. Before turning to crime, Melissa Ginsburg established herself as a poet. This has led some reviews to label Sunset City “poetic noir.” That sounds good but I don’t know where it gets us when considering what Ginsburg has accomplished with this novel. By page two, Charlotte Ford, Ginsburg’s narrator, learns that her best friend Danielle Reeves has been bludgeoned to death in a cheap motel room. She and Danielle, inseparable as teenagers and for a few years before Danielle’s bust for her [...]

    8. Just finished a quick read, her mystery debut, and previous effort a chapbook of poems. Noir set in the Houston underbelly, and the female protagonist is a tough girl who reverts a few days to a jag of drugs and sex, haunted by the murder of a friend from her juvenile days. Tough-girl book but very subtle insight on feminism and the small wonders of the world. The poetic insight and small-detail observations of the author comes through in the novel's prose. The mystery has good character develop [...]

    9. When this book arrived unsolicited I was positive it would be another mystery/thriller that wouldn’t interest me all that much. I wasn’t enthralled by Gone Girl. I need a bit more depth in my thrillers. Fortunately, the phenomenal writing and intriguing characters and plot grabbed me from page one. Author Melissa Ginsburg writes a taut, colorful and gritty noir. She highlights the darker side of Houston—the strip clubs, the dive bars, the run down neighborhoods, the places where average Am [...]

    10. FICTION/SUSPENSEMelissa GinsburgSunset CityEcco, 978-0-06-242970-4, hardcover (also available as an ebook, an audio book, and on Audible), 208 pgs $25.99April 12, 2016“Houston was always flooding, the whole city built atop paved wetlands. The storm kept the sky dark, and the streetlights glowed through the morning. I stepped into my rubber boots and splashed to the barbecue shack around the corner.”When Charlotte Ford returns to her apartment with her brisket and beer, Detective Ash is waiti [...]

    11. While I primarily read crime fiction, I'm not wedded to the genre. I read and review books from across the spectrum - horror, crime (obviously), literature. And to be honest I don't always understand the distinction. A number of so called literature novels have a crime at their heart. One could think of Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment. But what about Aravand Adiga's Booker nominated White Tiger, the protagonist of which murders his boss? Or Mohammed Hanif’s The Case of Exploding Mangoes, whi [...]

    12. In Sunset City, Melissa Ginsburg exploits the anonymity of Houston. Its generic nowhere-ness, its tendency to seem like not much more than a bunch of skyscrapers around an airport hub, creates an engaging backdrop for a crime novel. The sprawl becomes both general and specific: it’s shadowy and run-down like the setting for any noir, but the dive bars, sketchy coke dealers and endless looping miles of lamp-lit highway feel textured and real. You get the feeling Ginsburg, who grew up in Houston [...]

    13. Sunset City is a tour de force in noir fiction. Grity, dark and full of secrets, it is a very well written debut novel.I don’t tend to read many novels that fall into the noir genre if I’m honest, they just aren’t something I would pick up normally. However, after reading Sunset City I would definitely be interested in reading more.Melissa Ginsburg writes exceptionally well, capturing those years in your twenties where you are essentially coasting through life with no definitive aim as suc [...]

    14. This book is very unusual, it is like nothing I have read before. It is pitted as a crime novel and that it is but I would suggest it also fits very nicely into the noir genre. It is dark, gritty and seedy, although not fast paced I still found it a high octane thriller.This novel is set around a murder, but also is a story of friendship. It puts under the microscope the fact that if certain people are friends it is bad for them and actions and consequences can occur, like a chain or falling dom [...]

    15. (Closer to 3.75 Stars). I enjoyed this book very much. Possibly more because I used to live in that area, and that's always fun, but it was good. It was a quick read, not a very long novel, but not quite a novella. The language was spare, but lyrical. Very atmospheric. If I hadn't already known it was Houston, I would've guessed. The descriptions really worked, and without using too many words to set the scene. To the point, and not overly done. To say she writes like a female Hemingway would be [...]

    16. Ginsburg described Houston sunsets as being emblematic of the city. They are fleeting moments of beauty with brilliant splashes of color refracted by pollution across the vast expanses of sky between widely spaced buildings, which we usually witness courtesy of being stuck in traffic on the freeways that rise over the flat topography. At the end of every day, something wonderful happens above our heads before it collapses into light-polluted darkness, and its root cause are the host of complex p [...]

    17. I saw some people reacting to SUNSET CITY by saying, "Can you believe that this is her first novel?" Answer: Sure can. Ginsburg is good at atmosphere and place and an intimate psychological writing style, but the story is thin and the climax doesn't really land. (It is more convincing as a depiction of a troubled young woman's last weekend than it is as a crime novel.) Would not be surprised to learn that her follow up is great, but this needed more substance.

    18. This book was so well written and the prose was so elegant, it hooked you in right from the beginning and even though Charlotte's world was a bit extreme at times, it didn't feel that way because you wanted to know how her best friend died and follow her as she figured it out. I was pleasantly surprised by the reveal of the killer at the end and how Charlotte was able to escape her hard life.It was a great read, short but sweet. The work speaks for itself! I look forward to more books by Melissa [...]

    19. Not thrilling, not a mystery and definitely not erotic.Lots of boozing, drugging, self hate, self harm and sexual abuse.Poorly rendered characters, cliche and stereotypical and badly written. Maybe its because the main character didn't go to college though she mentions she got good grades and did well in school. Guess all that drugging turned her language skills to mush.Only reason I finished: Short book.

    20. My blurb: Sunset City is a boozy stumble through the lower depths of Houston, Texas, that is sometimes scary, sometimes funny, and sometimes unbearably sad, but never less than riveting. Melissa Ginsburg brings a poet’s eye and ear to this story of a young woman piecing together the circumstances of a friend’s death and depicts the damaged souls who haunt these pages with such grace and empathy that I found myself hoping against hope that at least some of them made it out of this mess alive. [...]

    21. I enjoyed this. I liked Charlotte's voice. It was a quick read and held my attention throughout. I would be interested to read more from this author, I think.

    22. Title caught my eye when reading an Ole Miss promo brochure during a visit to Oxford. Saw the book was a murder mystery set in Houston. Having lived in Houston and loving the city, I thought it sounded like something I'd enjoy. Overall, the story had promise, but fell short on a number of fronts. First, the characters never really received the depth and development they deserved. Most of them come across as drug addled sex fiends who, somehow, have the ability to exist in society. As such, the m [...]

    23. I picked up this book in the Nook store on my tablet because it was on sale for $1.99 and it seemed interesting, my personal review of the book is as follows:I liked the writing style especially how it really made me feel like I was there in the gritty underworld with the characters however I personally felt like the storyline was really rushed and had way too many times where it went into things that felt like tangents that wouldn't have been so bad if the story would have been longer. I feel l [...]

    24. Being a Houston native, I wanted to like "Sunset City." Yes, Houston features prominently, but nothing about the story feels particularly "Houston". A church next to the West Alabama Ice House? C'mon. Geographic quibbles and disappointments aside, there really wasn't much of story or developed characters for that matter. We end up learning more about the murder victim than any of the 1.75 dimensional (i.e. not quite two-dimensional) characters. While I think it is possible to populate a book wit [...]

    25. So how is Houston emigrée poet Melissa Ginsburg's first novel? It's certainly entertaining enough for a fast reader to get through in a few sittings. At no time did I want to just leave my signed copy on a bench and let somebody else pick it up. I truly wanted to like itbut it didn't get my motor running. My literary ego is flattered that she has the protagonist's ex-boyfriend observe that Houston is "too small a town," to which the protagonist flatly replies, "There's six million people here." [...]

    26. I read this simply because it was short and sounded fairly interesting. What I got was a weird mystery with a main character who is just a mess. Seriously, Charlotte drinks constantly and does drugs like most people breathe. Also, everyone she comes in contact with wants to sleep with her, including the mature, older detective who spends very little time in this story actually detecting. Ginsburg's voice is fine, I'm not a thriller reader but I didn't find this to be a real edge of your seat rea [...]

    27. Really closer to a 4-1/2. You’ve got to like a book set in your hometown where the author actually got the geography right! But this was better than just that, exploring the impact of the death of a once-close friend, regret over opportunities lost, the power of memory, the inevitability of lasting trauma from abuse and neglect.

    28. I really hated this book. The plot was the same as several others that I have read, just with a grisly morder added. The mystery was easy to solve. And the characters were wholely unlikeable. I read it because of the Houston setting, but that was not really well written. The characters drove around a lot, but none of the real setting was revealed.

    29. I felt like the writer wanted things to be shocking, which always makes things less shocking. I'm not a big thriller/mystery reader, anyhow. I do think there were strong elements, but overall this was not my cup of tea.

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