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ISBN: 9781842437360
Price: £7.99
Casing: Paperback
Format: B (198 x 129mm) with flaps
Extent: 160pp
Rights: UK & Commonwealth only, excl. Canada
Pub. Date: May 2012


 James  Sallis
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James Sallis

Jim Sallis has published fourteen novels, multiple collections of short stories, essays, and poems, books of musicology, a biography of Chester Himes, and a translation of Raymond Queneau's novel Saint Glinglin. He has written about books for the L.A. Times, New York Times, and Washington Post, and for some years served as a books columnist for the Boston Globe. In 2007 he received a lifetime achievement award from Bouchercon.

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Salt River

by James Sallis


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 centre 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 ploughing 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.


James Sallis is a superb writer
- The Times

Sublime, soulful, and essential
- Mike Stafford, Bookgeeks

If Camus wrote pulp, he'd read like Sallis
- Andrew Donaldson, Times South Africa

Sallis is a fastidious man, intelligent and widely read. There's nothing slapdash or merely strategic about his work ... peculiar and visionary.
- Iain Sinclair, London Review of Books

An immensely rewarding read
- Paul Kane, @JildySauce


Haunting . . . Sallis writes poetic rings around the subject
- Marilyn Stasio, New York Times [read the full review]

Sallis is a gifted polymath: poet, biographer, translator, essayist, musician and prolific (if criminally neglected) novelist. His Turner books are little gems, with their sharp descriptions and melancholy reflections.
- Adam Woog, Seattle Times [read the full review]

As we come to expect from Sallis, Salt River is filled with insight, redemption, and tantalizing passages.
- Woody Haut, Crime Time [read the full review]

A superior piece of literary crime fiction
- Rob Kitchin, View from the Blue House [read the full review]

sublime third novel to feature the philosophical John Turner
- Publishers Weekly [read the full review]

Holds the power of simplicity and the musical ring of truth as only Sallis can deliver it — as he has done bravely, consistently, for the last few decades.
- Sarah Weinman, Los Angeles Times [read the full review]

Selected as one of Publishing Weekly's Best Books of the Year 2008
- PW Review Staff, Publishers Weekly [read the full review]

Sallis is never about plot, but always about good writing. This little gem is a case in point.
- Kirkus Review [read the full review]

Salt River is an elegantly crafted murder mystery that mixes rural melancholia with minimalist lyricism . . . a highly unusual, atmospherically unique mystery novel.
- The Boston Globe

a lean, elegiac gem
- Adam Woog, Seattle Times [read the full review]

Like a tightly structured blues song, the melancholy tale finds resonance in every line and every prolonged chord. Sallis comes as close as humanly possible here to turning a mystery novel into a lyric poem
- Booklist

James Sallis is a master of the short, sharp crime novel
- Shots Magazine

his books are worth reading solely for what rises from the inspired use of language
- San Francisco Chronicle [read the full review]

it’s one that is hard to forget
- Donna Volkenannt, [read the full review]

If you enjoy fine, minimalist prose and thoughtful, intelligent crime stories, then you would be well advised to begin with the first in the series [Cypress Grove] and read them all.
- Associated Press

sweet song of the South from a crime novelist with the ear of a poet
- Atlanta Journal-Constitution


Greatest Hits - new short story by James Sallis for

James Sallis' Delta Roots revealed

James Sallis interview in ShortList

Others of His Kind: PW Talks With James Sallis

Chin Wag At The Slaughterhouse: Interview With James Sallis

James Sallis interview with ARD German TV in Munich

James Sallis interview with ZDF German TV in Phoenix

James Sallis - Six of the Best: Heist Films The Times Saturday Review July 14th 2012

James Sallis in Conversation at The Watershed in Bristol: May 26th 2012

Interview with Bookgeeks June 18th 2012

GQ: Drive author James Sallis on working with Ryan Gosling and the latest on the sequel, Driven

James Sallis on Driven in The Big Issue

The Killer Is Dying Named Winner Of North American Hammett Prize

Metro: James Sallis: I never anticipated Drive sequel but the Driver is unknowable

AnOther: Culture Talks | Author James Sallis on Driven

Dazed & Confused: James Sallis: Drive & Driven - The author of Drive on Ryan Gosling, writing the sequel and the freedom of driving fast

Noir writer Megan Abbott and Los Angeles Review of Books noir editor Boris Drayluk discuss James Sallis's latest, Driven

‘Drive’ Author James Sallis on His Sequel, ‘Driven’ (The Daily Beast)

James Sallis page on NEP

No Exit to publish James Sallis sequel to 'DRIVE'

James Sallis may be the best crime writer you've never heard of

We Love the Contract Killers: Video Interview with James Sallis

James Sallis' Website

Guardian Interview with James Sallis

James Sallis' work profiled

James Sallis on Patricia Highsmith

Shutting Darkness Down (short story)

James Sallis reviewed in the Los Angeles Times

James Sallis Interview on Salt River with Shots Magazine

James Sallis interview with

Profile of James Sallis in the Guardian from 2001

James Sallis interview on Crime Time

James Sallis interview on Drive and the big screen at


Black Hornet (pb)
Bluebottle (pb)
Cripple Creek (pb)
Cypress Grove
Cypress Grove (pb)
Death Will Have Your Eyes (pb)
Drive (pb)
Drive (pb)
Driven (pb)
Eye of the Cricket (pb)
Ghost of a Flea (pb)
James Sallis Collected New Editions (pb)
James Sallis on Vinyl (pb)
Moth (pb)
Others of my Kind (pb)
Salt River
The Killer Is Dying (pb)
The Long Legged Fly (pb)