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City of Dragons (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

"Miranda didn’t hear the sound he made when his face hit the sidewalk.” From the first sentence, Kelli Stanley grabs your attention and after that she will skillfully transport you to 1940’s San Francisco with an assurance and style you’d expect from a long-established writer. In City of Dragons, we meet Miranda Corbie, former escort turned PI. No one cares about one dead Japanese kid in Chinatown, but he died at Miranda’s feet, and from that moment on, she makes it her mission to discover why he was killed. Stanley’s a fan of Hammett and Chandler, and it shows. Her prose is as sharp and staccato as Miranda’s high heels on the pavement. While some readers may find the short, terse sentences and free-flowing imagery difficult at first, Stanley’s style and talent will pull you into Miranda’s search for truth, filled with hard cops and duplicitous dames, double crosses and betrayal, and just a glimpse of love and hope. With the music of the day weaving a poignant counterpoint through Miranda’s investigation, I certainly found myself drawn completely into her world. Miranda Corbie drinks hard, smokes constantly, and refuses to be put into her place by anyone. Kelli Stanley has created a strong, memorable protagonist, and I think that Sam Spade would have had her back when the chips were down.

— Fran

February 2010 Indie Next List

“Kelli Stanley makes 1940s San Francisco shine in the first book of her new series, City of Dragons. Miranda Corbie is a noir detective complete with feminine wits and ingenuity. Kinsey, VI, and Aimee Leduc should watch out. There's a new girl in town!”
— Linda Dewberry, Whodunit? Books, Olympia, WA


February, 1940. In San Francisco's Chinatown, fireworks explode as the city celebrates Chinese New Year with a Rice Bowl Party, a three day-and-night carnival designed to raise money and support for China war relief. Miranda Corbie is a 33-year-old private investigator who stumbles upon the fatally shot body of Eddie Takahashi. The Chamber of Commerce wants it covered up. The cops acquiesce. All Miranda wants is justice--whatever it costs. From Chinatown tenements, to a tattered tailor's shop in Little Osaka, to a high-class bordello draped in Southern Gothic, she shakes down the city--her city--seeking the truth.

About the Author

KELLI STANLEY's first novel in the 1940 San Francisco-set Miranda Corbie series, CITY OF DRAGONS, was met with overwhelming critical acclaim and was a finalist for the prestigious Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Stanley also writes a highly-praised series set in Roman Britain, the latest of which is THE CURSE-MAKER. Her debut novel, NOX DORMIENDA, won the Bruce Alexander Award for best historical mystery of 2008. She makes her home in Dashiell Hammett's San Francisco, earned a Master's Degree in Classics, and loves jazz, old movies, fedoras, Art Deco and speakeasies.

Praise For…

"Beautifully imagined and beautifully written--this book does everything great fiction is supposed to."
- Lee Child "A stunning recreation of time and place that I greatly enjoyed...as will everyone who reads it."
- Robert B. Parker
"Big and ambitious, both reverent and original. Author Kelli Stanley has her eye on greatness."- George Pelecanos

"A powerful crime novel that perfectly captures the noir mood of San Francisco in the 40's. Stanley's dialogue bristles with attitude, the atmosphere is thick as the bay fog, and her protagonist is a great new dame in crime fiction. A smart, stunning thriller."
- Linda Fairstein

"Evocative and taut…bursts with dark atmosphere. Fans of Raymond Chandler and Megan Abbott should add Stanley to their list of must-read authors."
- Tasha Alexander

"Blew me to ribbons. From the opening chapter, we're rooting for Miranda, a marvelous, feisty, compassionate heroine who is my favorite P.I. to come down the mean streets in oh, so long. Polish up the Shamus, I know where it's heading this year."
- Ken Bruen

"Stunning, pitch-perfect noir...conjures forth a lost, poignant, and darkly luminous San Francisco in which Hammett - and LA's Chandler - would feel immediately at home."
- Cornelia Read, author of A Field of Darkness

"Come...rush headlong into 1940's San Francisco. You'll be smoking two packs of Chesterfields and drinking Old Taylor straight from the bottle by the time you're done. Take a sip. I dare you."
- Louise Ure, Shamus Award-winning author of The Fault Tree

"One of my favorite novels of all time. Watch out, Sam Spade, Miranda Corbie is a woman hardboiled and feminine enough to keep you in line!"
- Rebecca Cantrell, author of A Trace of Smoke

"An explosive, important book...imbued with the colors, sounds, emotions and excitement of true history. The best part is an ending that will blow you away."
- Laura Benedict, author of Isabella Moon

Product Details
ISBN: 9780312668792
ISBN-10: 0312668791
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Publication Date: August 30th, 2011
Pages: 335
Language: English
Series: Miranda Corbie Mysteries