Read Salt River by James Sallis Online


The poignant and surprising new thriller by one of America's most acclaimed writers.Few American writers create more memorable landscapes—both natural and interior—than James Sallis. His highly praised Lew Griffin novels evoked classic New Orleans and the convoluted inner space of his black private detective. More recently—in Cypress Grove and Cripple Creek—he has conjuredThe poignant and surprising new thriller by one of America's most acclaimed writers.Few American writers create more memorable landscapes—both natural and interior—than James Sallis. His highly praised Lew Griffin novels evoked classic New Orleans and the convoluted inner space of his black private detective. More recently—in Cypress Grove and Cripple Creek—he has conjured a small town somewhere near Memphis, where John Turner—ex-policeman, ex-con, war veteran and former therapist—has come to escape his past. But the past proved inescapable; thrust into the role of Deputy Sheriff, Turner finds himself at the center of his new community, one that, like so many others, is drying up, disappearing before his eyes.As Salt River begins, two years have passed since Turner's amour, Val Bjorn, was shot as they sat together on the porch of his cabin. Sometimes you just have to see how much music you can make with what you have left, Val had told him, a mantra for picking up the pieces around her death, not sure how much he or the town has left. Then the sheriff's long-lost son comes plowing down Main Street into City Hall in what appears to be a stolen car. And waiting at Turner's cabin is his good friend, Eldon Brown, Val's banjo on the back of his motorcycle so that it looks as though he has two heads. "They think I killed someone," he says. Turner asks: "Did you?" And Eldon responds: "I don't know." Haunted by his own ghosts, Turner nonetheless goes in search of a truth he's not sure he can live with. James Sallis has been called by critics one of the best writers in America. "It's a crime that a writer this good isn't better known," wrote David Montgomery in the Chicago Tribune, while Marilyn Stasio in the New York Times Book Review called his Turner books "a superior series…a keeper." Salt River will take his reputation even higher and reach the wider audience he so richly deserves....

Title : Salt River
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780802716170
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 160 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Salt River Reviews

  • Karl
    2019-05-27 08:41

    As "Salt River" is the third book in a trilogy, it may seem strange to start a series at he end and then work backwards through that series. I have done it with two or three other series books. Sometimes you win, sometimes you loose. With James Sallis, you never loose. the experience can be like pealing an onion, discovering a multiplicity of layers, and the building of characters. This book certainly has a feeling of finality to it. Lots of the characters with in the story die. I guess everyone dies in the end. It's not something many think about until they loose a loved one or grow closer to the finality themselves. Although dealing with this subject this book is no way depressing, which I think is a great feat. James Sallis is an exceptional writer. His sensitivity and ability to relate the human condition is superb. He has the ability to show all aspects of the human condition from a perspective uniquely his own. Turner is an unwilling sheriff in a small town in the Tennessee hills. A former therapist, a former jail inmate, a father with a recently deceased wife. Yet Turner is completely human, empathetic, wise and knows when not to talk. In many ways one can see the precursor to Mr. Sallis's amazing novel "Willnot" yet expertly written in it's own voice.I look greatly forward to "Cripple Creek" volume 2 in this series.This is copy 110 of 500 signed and numbered copies. Signed by James Sallis.

  • Tfitoby
    2019-06-14 04:52

    High brow literary noir from Sallis that demonstrates exactly how lazy his sequel to Drive actually was. Touching on the same themes of memory, ageing, dying, finding ways to keep on going and told in the same introspective, concise, poetic style Salt River excels in all the ways Driven failed. Primarily because it feels honest, the protagonist the right age for such observations, the contemplative mood that is clearly the right one for a small town Sheriff patently not working for a fast paced rehash of Stark's The Hunter. But also this is the third book written about Turner and another excellent example of the abilities of James Sallis to write a series character that doesn't require you to have read prior books to enjoy. Salt River is a pretty stunning standalone novel that just happens to be about a guy who was already the protagonist of two other books, the way that Sallis shifts timeframe in his storytelling, the fluid narrative of recalling memory and dream this feels like a logical outcome, time is flexible, no episode or event in his characters lives is any more important than any other, and they are all accessible in any order. When people talk about how great James Sallis is and how scandalous it is that he isn't widely read it is books like this, places like the nameless small town near Memphis and characters like Turner that they are thinking of.

  • Craig Sisterson
    2019-06-19 07:00

    Two years after the loss of his lady love, ex-cop, ex-con, ex-therapist John Turner finds himself the defacto Sheriff of a dying town. His life is complicated by the return of two people: the actual Sheriff's son, who arrives in spectacular fashion by plowing into City Hall in a stolen car, and Turner's good friend Eldon, who may or may not have killed someone. Let's get this out of the way first: if you're looking for fast-paced crime fiction or an intricately intriguing mystery plot-line then James Sallis may not be for you. His tales meander, and are more about damaged characters and musings on the human condition.But if you like evocative storytelling that will make you think, that pierces into some of those dark and doubting places in our souls like a sliver of dull daylight through the cracks of an abandoned building, then you're in for a real treat when you open one of James Sallis's lyrical crime tales.A published poet as well as a crime writer, short story writer, essayist, reviewer, and string band member, Sallis brings a broad outlook to his novels while at the same time distilling things in a very concise, powerful way. His writing is elegant and meditative, his prose full of poetic delights.Salt River caps his trilogy about Deputy Sheriff John Turner, a man living out his days in a dying small town near Memphis. There is some mystery and crime - what's going on with the Sheriff's long-lost son renovating City Hall with his car, and is Turner's good friend Eldon guilty of murder or not? But really this book is more about aging, and dying. The passing of time and the waning of life. What we do with the time we have left. It's contemplative and introspective, and appears to ramble across the landscape more than having clear direction, but the writing is so beautiful and the chords struck so resonant that I didn't mind, that I didn't miss it having a clear spine of crime investigation. If you like Southern Gothic tales, or classic noir that isn't as neat as a lot of crime fiction, then you might really appreciate what Sallis has created in Salt River. He brings the battered nature of his rural Tennessee setting to vivid life with poetic insight. He cuts us to the core as he and his characters reflect on the cruel inequities that can divert our lives, the inescapable countdown to when our own lights will be switched off for a final time, and how to find and cherish moments of beauty, however small, before then. The flowering weeds growing through paving-stone cracks in a prison yard.Overall, Salt River is a slim novel (160 pages) that packs a subtle but powerful punch.--------------------------------------------------------------- This review was first published on Crime Watch: http://kiwicrime.blogspot.comCraig Sisterson is a journalist from New Zealand who writes for magazines and newspapers in several countries. He has interviewed more than 140 crime writers, discussed crime fiction at literary festivals and on radio, and is the Judging Convenor of the Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel. Follow him on Twitter: @craigsisterson

  • Rob Kitchin
    2019-06-20 05:41

    Salt River is the third book in the Turner trilogy, which ideally need to be read in sequence. At 160 pages it’s more of a novella than novel, but is, I feel, the strongest of the trilogy, in part because the plot is more central than the earlier books, which seemed to concentrate more on the telling of the story rather than the story itself. Sallis is a poet and it shows in the strength of his prose, which is evocative and haunting, dotted with acute observations and philosophical asides. The characterisation is nicely portrayed and Sallis weaves a well developed sense of place. There is no strong hook or sense of urgency or tension, instead the narrative floats along, much like Turner does, sometimes in the flow, other times in the eddies. The result is a thoughtful, reflexive and compulsive tale about a man still coming to terms with his own bad choices and fate as he muddles through trying to resolve the various issues that are placed in his path. A superior piece of literary crime fiction.

  • Tim Niland
    2019-06-14 07:51

    Sallis' latest crime novel is a meditative study of loss and pain. Ex-con, ex-therapist John Turner is now sheriff in a small rural Tennessee town, dealing with his own demons like his lost love while trying to solve the crimes around him. His friend is on the run for a murder he didn't commit, while the previous sheriff's son lies incapacitated in the hospital after an accident in a stolen car. All of this is really incidental to Sallis's ruminations through his characters. Life, death and love are all examined through the lens of a heartbroken man in a dying town. If all this sounds terribly depressing, believe me, it's not. Sallis is a superb writer and even at his most philosophical, he is fascinating to read, and never preachy. Fans of James Lee Burke who haven't yet discovered this enchanting writer are in for a treat.

  • Nick
    2019-05-23 09:42

    Salt River is the third novel in a series of lyrical crime novels by James Sallis. The first two are Cypress Grove and Cripple Creek. His prose is beautiful and his characters wonderful. The world of these novels is one of unremitting violence. Good people get hurt or killed all the time, although those same people are able to find one another and some comfort in music and one another. Read all three but space them out a bit and read something optimistic after each Sallis novel.

  • Chris
    2019-06-17 06:45

    I've read Sallis' bio on Chester Himes and had been impressed. But I was not ready for the beautiful bits of wisdom that appear on just about every page.The story line didn't really hold together for me -- i felt like i was being tossed characters and had to hold onto them without understanding enough about them.Yet the beauty of the book is overwhelming. I just wanted to start over again the minute I turned the last page.

  • Gary
    2019-06-09 07:03

    I don't think you can read James Sallis and not walk away struck with awe and reverence. While others may major in plot or clever twists and irony, Sallis' triumph is his mastery of the language - his use of simple words effortlessly spun in to passages unlocking emotion and conjuring images that defy the common rural settings and ordinary folk of which he writes. This is the English language at its best - the power of Faulkner told in words that can actually be understood. Or think Cormac McCarthy with punctuation - a less complex, but equally potent rendering of the literature. "Salt Creek" is the third, and one would think the last, in the series of John Turner, the ex-many-things and reluctant fill-in sheriff of a small Tennessee town where he's returned to settle out his last years. As the homilies and allegories and metaphors compete for precious space across Sallis' scant pages, he tells a dark and remorseful tale of lost youth and death that is as relevant to the dying town as it is to its unfortunate but colorful and well-drawn characters. Sallis slides easily in time - memories and dreams blur and blend and are at least as important as Turner's dealing in the here-and-now. But if you're like me, you'll find yourself only casually interested in the events that led the Sheriff's wayward son to crash an apparently stolen car into the City Hall, or unravel the mystery of Turner's friend Eldon Brown, who shows up after a two year absence telling Turner he may or may not have killed someone - as the soaring prose provides more than enough pleasure to pass the too few hours of reading that end too quickly. So if you measure your literary purchases in dollars/word, this may disappoint - try "War and Peace". But if your looking for an extraordinarily efficient lesson in how to disguise poetry as engaging prose, along with a keen insight into a disappearing slice of American culture, you have to read this book - and "Cypress Grove" and "Cripple Creek" that precede it. For fiction as an art form, there is no one writing today more adept than James Sallis - it's a shame he isn't more widely read.

  • Patty
    2019-05-23 02:36

    "Sometimes you just have to see how much music we can still make with what we have left." p. 1I read the second volume of this trilogy last fall. Apparently, I was concerned with where Sallis was taking Turner, the main character of this series. If I had reread my review of Cripple Creek, I might have put this audiobook off a bit longer. However, I was looking for a good, well-read audiobook and I knew that Sallis would provide.I don't understand why James Sallis isn't on the top of everyone's reading lists. I admit that I have not read his most famous book, Drive, but I don't think even that book sold a huge number of copies. When I mention Sallis, no one seems to read him. However, his writing is so good and this characters really make me think about the big questions. Turner, in this book, considers his lot in life, his past and where he might be going. I know that readers often want entertainment from their fiction - thinking isn't part of the equation. That is what I want from the romances that I read. There is not a lot of plot in a Sallis book. As Kirkus Review says, "Sallis is never about plot, but always about good writing. This little gem is a case in point."However, if you want to meet a complicated human who might be worth knowing in person, I recommend starting with Cripple Creek and meeting Turner.

  • Joyce Lagow
    2019-06-11 05:37

    Last book in the Turner trilogy.Two years later, Turner is acting sheriff, by default. Two people re-enter the town: Billy, Lonnie Bates younger son who makes his reappearance by by means of his car crashing into a building, and Eldon, back from his tour of country music festivals, a suspect in a murder that he himself doesn’t know if he’s committed.As usual, from such mundane sorts of beginnings, Sallis goes on to weave an enchantment over this small, always unnamed town and the people in it. His prose is as beautiful as ever: terse, penetrating, never condescending, always on the lookout for the beauty in damaged lives. Same devices, same flashback technique that lights up pieces of Turner’s soul but never totally--in the end, we are left with the mystery of the man himself, as we always are with any real human being.The ending left me in tears.There are many very fine writers in this genre, but I find Sallis unique, in that his stories don’t have to have resolution, just as in real life. Sometimes you don’t know why things happen, sometimes you just have to accept the fact that life is what happens when you have other plans. I think that Sallis does this so well because, among other literary accomplishments, he’s a poet, and it shows through both in his prose and in his outlookSallis is a superb writer and should not be missed.

  • Debbi Mack
    2019-06-05 07:58

    SALT RIVER finds its ex-cop/ex-con/ex-therapist protagonist John Turner serving as de facto sheriff of the small town outside Memphis that he's come to think of as home (the actual sheriff, Lonnie Bates having, for all intents and purposes, retired). The town, however, has succumbed to the ravages of time and decay. Like so many other people and things in Turner's life, the place is dying.An auto accident involving Bates' wayward son is the inciting event for this story, which (as with the previous Turner books) serves as more of an excuse for conjuring up the ghosts of Turner's past than a traditional narrative. However, a narrative is implied within the scenarios cobbled together in this book – some from Turner's experiences as a therapist, some from his time in prison, others involving various people and situations in the present.The mystery storyline, such as it is, comes out in fits and starts. In fact, the plot details emerge almost at random, appropos perhaps for a series that emphasizes life's random qualities.

  • writegeist
    2019-06-05 06:37

    Sorry to say, folks, but all the great stuff, all the stuff worth reading, deals with death, as do we all. But in dealing with death, we must also celebrate life. This is the final book in Sallis' John Turner trilogy. Turner has now become the sheriff of his small town in Tennessee, having previously been a cop, a therapist, and a convict. It's important to read Cyprus Grove and Cripple Creek first or the impact of this short novel will be lost. Plot summaries are superfluous for a book like this. Sallis is a master at digging to the heart of what makes us human, what is important. A wonderful story that left me with that sadness we all need to embrace.

  • Sherrill Watson
    2019-06-13 07:46

    I haven't read the first two stories in the series, so I thought perhaps this book was such a downer because the main character was dying, hence 60% of the characters were dying, dead or morosely negative. But according to the readers, this is Sallis' modus operendi.HOWEVER. I liked this short little book so much better than the others I have read lately, I read it twice. Sallis is a genius. Literally.Read something "up" afterward, tho.

  • Carol
    2019-05-30 11:00

    Another great story by James Sallis..This was the third book in the John Turner series...Two years have passed since Turner lost his love Val Bjorn..His good friend Eldon has returned and he thinks he may have killed someone. ...I like the way Sallis tells a story..Val said "Sometimes you have to see how much music you can make with what you have left."

  • Mary
    2019-05-23 05:43

    This is the third book in the Turner series, only thing wrong is I did not want it to end. Love the poetic way he writes, it is all so very real. In this book, Billy, Lonnie.s son comes barreling into town, and the mystery begins. Eldon appears one day and mentions he may have killed someone, and Doc continues to bend Turner's ear as they sit on the porch. Hope ther is a Turner number four.

  • John Kues
    2019-05-27 03:37

    A quick satisfying read, another in his Turner series. Sometimes I am a little lost in his dialog but usually find my way. His characters are likable and the storyline is believable. He jumps around in time, and you have to wait go with the flow and it eventually makes sense.

  • Brian
    2019-06-08 02:41

    I love Sallis - class act who never disappoints. Wonderful prose and dialogue and characters you'll warm to. Crime as a vehicle gives him the opportunity to wax philosophical about the big questions. Rolls things out superbly.

  • Emma
    2019-06-05 05:58

    There are few authors I like more than James Sallis and over the last couple of years, in order to catch-up with his back catalogue, there are probably no authors I have read more. You would think I would get bored, yet I really can’t get enough. I love his simple yet complex writing style – yes, you can have both – he uses few words but each says so much and he has a beautiful turn of phrase. As Sallis says in the book…‘Two schools of thought. One has it we’re best off using simple words, plain words. That fancier ones only serve to obscure meaning –wrap it in swaddling clothes. Other side says that takes everything down to the lowest common denominator, that thought is complex and if you want to get close to what’s really meant you have to choose words carefully, words that catch up gradations, nuances …’His characters are complex too, including Turner, who is central to this trilogy of books – with Salt River being the last. Getting to know Turner has been like peeling an onion as layer on layer reveals more stories and sadness. Sadness is how I felt reading this book too because Turner hasn’t gotten over the murder of his girlfriend Val two years ago. He is frozen in time and place.I expected him to move again, not just go through the motions, when Eldon – his and Val’s old friend – turns up and says he might have killed someone. Or when the former sherfiff’s estranged son announces his arrival back in town by driving into the wall of the sherrif’s office. The old Turner would have tracked people down, thrown some punches, set the world to rights. This Tuner let the world right itself.And it did, right itself, in ways that were perfectly fitting if not action packed. But sometimes you don’t need action, just a really well written story with characters you have come to care about in the middle of it. I am sad to say goodbye to Turner but it seems right to do so. This book was a fitting end to his story and I loved it.

  • MisterLiberry Head
    2019-06-01 06:03

    The job of sheriff is probably the hardest to fill of all in the tiny rural community where ex-cop, convicted felon and former therapist Turner makes his home. At the start of SALT RIVER, he has reluctantly assumed the role that’s he’s assiduously been avoiding since the first novel in this outstanding trilogy. He’s serving as sheriff when trouble (again) comes to town--this time in the form of an out-of-control car driven by the former sheriff’s troubled son, Billy, who crashes it smack into the front of City Hall. Eldon Brown, the itinerant musician who is all about “finding how much music we can make with what we have left” (p242), is back in town, too--and he might be responsible for a killing in Texas. It’s up to Turner to sort out all of this. Turner is, in fact, what he calls another character in SALT RIVER: “a miracle of stubbornness” (p12), especially when he’s on a case and especially when crime and tragedy affect the local people that he’s reluctantly come to love.The theme of SALT RIVER, and of all three of these intriguing linked novels, is frangibility – “how brittle our lives are … every day of them” (p28). The writing is lyrical and, when called for, police-report blunt. More than anything else, the Turner novels reminded me of James Lee Burke’s “Dave Robicheaux” series, only without the rage and voodoo and alcoholism. Highly recommended. For the sake of total immersion, it would be best to read them in the omnibus edition, WHAT YOU HAVE LEFT: THE TURNER TRILOGY, available from Walker & Company.

  • Steve
    2019-06-18 07:55

    The third in a trilogy and short enough to qualify as a novella or long short story, we re-join Turner’s life two years after Cripple Creek. Its opening gives a good view of where things lie and where they’ll go: “Sometimes you just have to see how much music you can make with what you have left.” Sallis’ writing and Turner’s character are both thoughtful and meaningful. After Turner sought peaceful retirement in a small southern town, he was brought back to policing duty in the previous books. There are crimes and accidents that demand his attention and solutions; the action is slow-paced but gets where it's going. Turner and Sallis and others share their perceptions and perspectives on life and its events, and there is a substantial amount of lovely language, including nicely made metaphors. The real joy in this is the characters, particularly Turner, and the way lives go, as well as delicious takes on life and the writing so typical of Sallis’ works. If that sounds intriguing to you, by all means read and enjoy the three books, but do begin with Cypress Grove. This concludes the Turner stories for me, so I will be returning to Sallis and likely to his character Lew Griffin, whom I met in Eye f the Cricket.

  • Shonna Froebel
    2019-06-12 10:38

    This lovely piece of fiction reads like poetry to me. So much is intimated at rather than spoken and yet is understood. The genre label on the back says this is mystery, but I would not describe it as such. There are some things that happen that the main character, Turner, feels are linked, and he is able to show how by the end, but that never seems to be the main focus of the book. I loved the nature that pervades the book and yet it was definitely not a gentle presence here. There is much loss here and yet despite all the 'getting over things' that the characters have to do, the book is hopeful. As one of the characters says at the book's end, "I am crying because the world is so beautiful".

  • Tom V
    2019-06-02 10:51

    Turner returns, a few years after the death (by assassination) of his lover, Val, and we learn, tangentially, that her murder has been avenged...or at least so it seems. One by one, other people return to the town, some physically, some just in spirit.For a small Delta town, Sheriff Turner's burg is by turns whimsical and murderous, crusty and kind, earnest and cynical, and the mystery (such as it is) at the center of the story is a small sliver of light in the storms raging overhead.Turner is the man of economy, few words outside, but a headful of ideas and memory, the past and the future, all cobbled together like some of the cars (and people) in the book. I like the man, warts and all.4 stars.

  • Tony
    2019-06-05 03:52

    SALT RIVER. (2007). James Sallis. ***.This is a terrific book, but it really can’t be read as a stand-alone novel. Too much of the background of the characters depends on earlier events that occurred in “Cripple Creek,” and “Cypress Grove.” By the time you could figure out what was going on in this book, you would have reached the end. The idea of an on-going character is not new, but Sallis uses an on-going town, peopled by repeating characters whose prior actions truly govern their current actions. I really enjoy Sallis’s style, but a reader new to him would be truly confused by this book. If you want to read this one, you need to read “Cypress Grove” first, followed by “Cripple Creek.”

  • Ellen Keim
    2019-06-08 10:49

    This is the third novel about John Turner (after Cypress Grove and Cripple Creek). I'd advise you not read it without reading the first two--and you can't skip number one to make any real sense out of the others. I didn't like this one as well as the others. It seemed kind of dashed off and the ending was kind of abrupt. But Sallis' writing is still lyrical and his characters philosophical.

  • Liam Berry
    2019-05-24 05:36

    I'm not sure if I just need to allow this book to settle a bit more but compared to the first two novels in the Turner Trilogy it just doesn't cut it. I understand that it's probably been written as a meditation on the idea of ageing towards death and that the lack of much happening in the novel is a purposeful statement from the author but I think Sallis has let Turner go out with a wimper with Salt River and I'm pretty disapointed with the outcome.

  • Mysteryfan
    2019-05-28 07:49

    He wrote Drive. This is another little gem. Sallis is the perfect exemplar of "show, don't tell." The protagonist is revealed in small bits and pieces as part of the narrative, as is the rest of the town. A wonderful read. He quoted a Harlan Ellison story near the end that I recognized, about a man that had a peak experience early and the consequences of that.

  • Rachel Nowakowski
    2019-06-02 03:37

    All the plaudits and great reviews that I read in the front of this book are true. This is one pared down, thoughtful and evocative writer. He can say so much with so few words, but he imbues them with so much feeling and power. I am eager to read his other books.

  • Robin
    2019-05-28 03:56

    A slight novel in which John Turner, ex-con turned deputy sheriff, deals with ghosts from his past. Sallis is always a great read, and even a short novel such as this one is rich with digressions and observations about loss and growing older. The characters are always a joy to spend time with, too.

  • Matt
    2019-06-04 10:45

    The previous Turner books are a little obscure, presenting events past and present for the reader to figure out the connections and themes around a central plot thread. In this final book the theme is pretty clear but the central thread seems almost non-existent (or perhaps I just didn't get it).

  • Peg
    2019-06-06 03:01

    Not nearly as satisfying as the first 2. This last and final entry into the trilogy almost seems as though his publisher pushed him for a conclusion.That being said, he writes well with just a hint (just a hint mind you) of the style of James Lee Burke.