Sarah Jane Pullman has had a kaleidoscope of a past that includes being a runaway teen, a stint in the armed forces, a diner cook and finally as acting sheriff in the American rural south western town of Farr.
This is a part memoir, part crime, very noir character study that explores past choices that have consequences in the present.
Sallis has delivered a spare but intense look at contemporary America through the narrative of Sarah Jane’s life story, encompassing grief, a childhood of neglect, and shocking violence impacting at different stages of her life. Little-by-little the crime at the heart of the novel emerges, and no, Sarah Jane did not do everything they said she did! She is also investigating the disappearance of the Sheriff, her mentor, and discovering surprising aspects of his life that he kept hidden from the world. In each revelation about the Sheriff, there are also revelations about Sarah Jane’s past and these are all clues to the crimes committed in this small American town.
This is a masterpiece of writing by Sallis, as he pulls you into Sarah Jane’s life, and part of the joy of this novel is the slow reveal of the crime. If you have not read James Sallis before then I recommend him to you as it is definitely a crime novel with a difference and you will be stunned by the poetical nature of his writing, as well as being intrigued by his characters and his storytelling.
Other books by James Sallis