Maybe 4.5, but why quibble?When I read Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead, I didn't know it would be a series. It hinted that it could be, but it stands alone. Bohemian Highway could stand alone too. Your introduction to Claire and her backstory certainly adds more layers to your understanding of her in the second book, but Sara Gran manages to tell you what you need to know without it feeling like a "previously on -" montage. You'd still be able to love it. If you have read the first book, you'll look back on it, your understanding of the story deepening. Not changing, but revealing more layers. I've always read a lot of detective fiction. I've read several things that attempt to define the detective story in a way similar to Gran's, but none of them were particularly memorable. I wanted something like this series. Claire DeWitt is the detective I've been looking for. When discussing the works of Sara Gran ( or Tana French), I tell people that it is doing them a disservice to think of them as genre books, but the fact that they are mysteries, or stories about detectives is not an accident. This isn't "just" a genre book, but the genre provides fertile ground for telling the story. It is a mystery, but I've always argued that most stories are mysteries at heart. The Claire DeWitt books reflect a similar philosophy. All the mysteries are connected. Cases are closed, but nothing is solved.From the manual of detection that has guided our heroine since her teens "The detective thinks he is investigating a murder or a missing girl but truly he is investigating something else altogether, something he cannot grasp hold of directly. . . . someday, perhaps many lifetimes from now, all will be explained and all mysteries will be solved. All knowledge will be free for the taking, including the biggest mystery of all - who we really are. Bur for now, each detective, alone in the woods, must take her clues, and solve her mysteries for herself"