In Gran’s third novel, Josephine Flannigan—former junkie, former working girl—is squeaking by in 1950’s Manhattan. She’s living in a rent-by-the-week room and boosting some occasional jewelry when she’s approached by a couple to help find their missing daughter. Of course, it’s not what it seems. With every vertiginous step she takes in the quest—descending into New York’s seedy dance halls, shooting galleries and whore houses—things get worse. Gran successfully evokes the black-and-white ’50s desperation of William S. Burroughs and Weegee, driving the plot along with a succession of twists and turns that reveal there’s nothing but deceit and manipulation, even in those you thought you could trust. Her prose is lean, gritty, hardboiled—a la Chandler and Thompson—moving the story to a conclusion that’s a definition of noire itself.