18 year-old Rita Gaspereaux is suddenly "orphaned" when her con-artist father's illegal enterprise blows up around her. Alone and broke in San Francisco 1922, she must now navigate his criminal world, all the time haunted by tales of a black bird statuette reputed to possess otherworldly, wish-fulfilling powers. Rita has learned much from her father about the dark fringes of society. But has she learned enough? Fortunately, she is not without her own resources. What helps her most to cope with the greed, cruelty, and deceit around her is her almost obsessive reading of fiction, particularly the novel she possesses (and is possessed by) at the time of her father’s death. This book-within-the-book, a source of escape and solace for the blossoming young con-artist, tells the story of another 18 year-old, a Dorothy G. from Kansas. The two young women couldn't be more different. But as the story proceeds their lives become entwined in unexpected ways. The haunting conclusion is breathtaking.
"An ebullient mashup/revision/sequel perfect for knowing readers who don't mind (spoiler) missing the Falcon yet again."
"Lies, cons, shifting alliances, kidnapping and death propel readers toward a strangely hypnotic climax, which is skillfully presaged yet still and exhilarating surprise."
—Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
"Wildly inventive, elegantly perplexing and expertly told. Have fun trying to keep up with Owen Fitzstephen's imagination.
—Steve Goble, author of the Spider John Mysteries
"This is one of those books that you lay down upon completion, yet carry inside long after.
—Bradley Harper, author of Queen's Gambit and A Knife in the Fog
The Big Man's Daughter is stunning. Fans of Hammett must not miss this multilayered, metaphysical adventure."
—Jennifer Kinchloe, author of the award-winning Anna Blanc mystery series