Monday, May 12, 2014
Review of Salt River by James Sallis (No Exit Press, 2010)
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.