Josephine “Joe” Flannigan

Created by Sara Gran

Recovering heroin junkie JOSEPHINE “JOE” FLANNIGAN (clean for two years!) is offered a thousand bucks in cash to find a wealthy suburban couple’s runaway daughter — which sure beats shoplifting jewelery from department stores for a living — in Sara Gran’s acclaimed 2006 standalone novel Dope.

But as she prowls the shooting galleries, dives and fleabag hotels of New York City’s West Side, hunting for the slumming socialite, and re-acquaints herself with the hustlers, addicts, scam artists, petty thieves and hookers she thought she’s left behind, Joe’s brought face to face with her own past, and realizes she still has a long way to go.

It’s a heartbreaker, all right; dark and disturbing and about a zillion miles away from an “easy read” — a brutal, unflinching tour of a world about as pleasant as a junkie’s scabs.

It may not break new ground, but just try to put it down…

The author grew up in Brooklyn and graduated from Tufts University with a B.A. in cultural anthropology in 1993, and she’s been poking around the wild things ever since. Her first novel, Saturn’s Return to New York in (2001), is being currently being developed into a film by Domenica Cameron-Scorcese, while her second novel, Come Closer (2003), was praised by Bret Easton Ellis as “one of the most precise and graceful pieces of fiction I’ve read in a long time.” It’s since been published in eight other countries and has been optioned by The Weinstein Company/Dimension Films, whileThe Hollywood Reporter confirmed in August 2011 that actress Julianne Moore was considering taking on the role of Joe in an HBO adaptation of Dope, with Todd “Mildred Pierce” Haynes slated to direct and Gran to write the screenplay.

If you’d like another hit of Gran –or just wish Nancy Drew had done more drugs — check out her amazing Claire DeWitt series. It’s a whole other trip.


  • “…original and compelling… Burroughs meets Hammett in this gritty, at times tragic, noir.”
    — Kirkus Reviews
  • “An astonishing novel, one that deserves a place of honor next to Hammett, Thompson and Chandler…one of the meanest, grittiest hard-boiled crime stories of ever written – and the first great noir novel from the mind of a woman.”
    –Bruce DeSilva, Associated Press (Editor’s Comment: Bruce is wrong about it being the first great noir novel by a woman, but it gives you an idea of what sort of a fuss this book whipped up.)
  • “Gran’s vision of the city is a madhouse of vice, temptation and degradation. For every thrill, there’s a shudder of despair not far behind. Gran lays out a complex, empathetic portrait of a community buckling under the weight of addiction, what Joe calls “the other city, the dope-city.”
    — Dwyer Murphy, CrimeReads (November 2018)


Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

One thought on “Josephine “Joe” Flannigan

  1. Or just wish Nancy Drew had done more drugs. GREAT line!!! Thanks for the turn on.Will check her out.Thanks

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