This has got to be one of my very favorite books. An inventive modern (well, 1999 modern) noir, Motherless Brooklyn tells the story of Lionel Essrog, a Tourette syndrome-afflicted small-time detective, as he investigates his boss's murder. If you've ever read Jonathan Lethem before, you know that mysteries aren't his domain, and this is no exception. It's a rich, gritty piece of literary fiction that happens to overlap/borrow from the genre in order to tell a broader story. It's allegedly going to be made into a movie next year, starring Ed Norton as Lionel. I have to say, I'm suspicious--the book vs. movie issue is especially tricky when you're talking about a book you've loved for half your life.
Deb Talan sings a lovely song inspired by Motherless Brooklyn, too. Check it out.