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ISBN: 9781842437407
Price: £9.99
Casing: Paperback
Format: B (198 x 129mm)
Extent: 240pp
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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The Killer Is Dying

by James Sallis


A hired killer on his final job; a burned-out detective whose wife is dying slowly and in agony; a young boy abandoned by his parents and living alone by his wits. Three people, solitary and disconnected from society.

The detective is looking for the killer, Christian, though he doesn't know that. Christian is trying to find the man who stepped in and took down his target before he had the chance. And the boy, Jimmie, is having the killer's dreams. While they never meet, they are inextricably linked, and as their stories unfold, all find the solace of community.

In what is at one and the same time a coming-of-age novel, a realistic crime novel and a novel of the contemporary Southwest, The Killer Is Dying is above all the story of three men of vastly different age and background, and of the shape their lives take against the unforgiving sunlight and sprawl of America's fifth largest city, Phoenix.


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


The Killer is Dying is beautifully written . . . read as an extended prose poem, it's well-nigh perfect
- Laura Wilson, The Guardian [read the full review]

Beautifully written and subtly brought together
- Peter Millar, The Times [read the full review]

Atmospheric . . . Sallis develops an interesting kinship between cop and killer
- Susannah Meadows, New York Times [read the full review]

Another brilliantly written, brutally short slice of existential noir
- Henry Sutton, The Mirror

'Sallis is a wonderful writer, dark, lyrical and compelling'
- Andrew Taylor, The Spectator [read the full review]

Wonderful writing that stitches a complex picture of America’s south west, with the story of a killer and a cop as part of that tapestry.
- Crime Fiction Lover [read the full review]

Unlike those pretenders who play in dark alleys and think they’re tough, James Sallis writes from an authentic noir sensibility, a state of mind that hovers between amoral indifference and profound existential despair
- Marilyn Stasio, New York Times [read the full review]

Sallis’s spare, concrete prose achieves the level of poetry
- Julia Handford, Telegraph [read the full review]

carefully crafted, restrained and eloquent
- Jacques Testard, Times Literary Supplement [read the full review]

As unique as it is profound
- Declan Burke, Irish Times [read the full review]

James Sallis is without doubt the most underrated novelist currently working in America
- Catholic Herald [read the full review]

Tersely hard-boiled, literary, soulful and filled with surprises
- Woody Haut, Crime Time [read the full review]

'Sallis's multi-layered novel has an otherworldness that transcends its genre...A fine example of literary crime fiction'
- We Love This Book - Autumn 2011 [read the full review]

A breathtaking novel about a dying hitman and his last job
- Mike Nicol, Books Live [read the full review]

A work of staggering pathos
- Mike Stafford, Bookgeeks [read the full review]

Sallis writes crime novels that read like literature
- Los Angeles Times

Sallis creates vivid images in very few words and his taut, pared‐down prose is distinctive and powerful
- The Sunday Telegraph

Through no-nonsense staccato chapters, with minimal action, Sallis does a superb job exploring the workings of his characters' thoughts and motives.
- Publishers Weekly [read the full review]

No other writer renders the texture of solitude with more uncanny accuracy or brings more poetic intensity to the everyday.
- John Repp, [read the full review]

Taut and evocative, this beautifully written story is slow to unfold but haunting in its effect
- Jeff Popple, Sunday Canberra Times [read the full review]

Sallis is an unsung genius of crime writing
- The Independent

one of the very best writers in the crime fiction genre
- Barry Forshaw, Crime Time [read the full review]

A dazzling, haunting work that intertwines the tales of three characters who never actually meet, but who are nevertheless inextricably linked.
- Big Issue [read the full review]

An immensely rewarding read
- Paul Kane, @JildySauce [read the full review]


Crime writer Roger Smith is liking The Killer is Dying

Drive Film Preview at BFI Sept 19th - Director Nicolas Winding Refn Q&A after

The Killer is Dying by James Sallis is selected by Andrew Taylor as one of best books of the year in The Spectator

New York Times Notable Crime Books of 2011 include The Killer is Dying

Jame Sallis Video Interview on The Killer is Dying

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


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