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Salt River (Turner #3)

3.7  ·  Rating Details ·  285 Ratings  ·  43 Reviews
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 con
ebook, 160 pages
Published May 1st 2009 by Walker Books Ltd (first published December 26th 2007)
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Sep 09, 2016 Tfitoby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: black-as-night, lit
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 ...more
Jul 14, 2016 Karl marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
This is copy 110 of 500 signed and numbered copies. Signed by James Sallis.
Craig Sisterson
Mar 29, 2016 Craig Sisterson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, rural-noir
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
"Sometimes you just have to see how much music we can still make with what we have left." p. 1

I 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 r
Rob Kitchin
May 24, 2014 Rob Kitchin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 c ...more
Jan 22, 2014 Carol rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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."
Mar 11, 2014 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Joyce Lagow
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. H
Sep 18, 2013 DR rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 th ...more
Debbi Mack
Mar 07, 2016 Debbi Mack rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite-reads
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 previ
Jun 25, 2013 Steve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
Sherrill Watson
Mar 28, 2015 Sherrill Watson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Tim Niland
Feb 11, 2008 Tim Niland rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Tom V
Jun 09, 2012 Tom V rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 t
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 act
Shonna Froebel
Jan 19, 2014 Shonna Froebel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Sherry Oliver
audio book. Takes place in the South, but narrator did not even pretend he had an accent. Pet peeve of mine. Good listen, but Recorded Books, Inc needs to screen narrators for regional accents.
Dec 13, 2015 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
More a novella than a novel, Salt River would make little sense to the reader without parts 1 & 2. Taken together, they make a fine novel much greater than the sum of their individual parts.
Sep 24, 2014 writegeist rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 thi ...more
Aug 18, 2015 Matt rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, crime
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).
Ellen Keim
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.
Ann Tonks
A surpsing thriller, full of quotable insights into the human condition.
James Tyrrell
A solid series of books. Sallis leaves plenty of space for reader-imagined fine detail.
Mar 20, 2016 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful book.
Mar 05, 2008 Nick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Liam Berry
Oct 20, 2012 Liam Berry rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
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.
Feb 01, 2015 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sep 23, 2013 Mysteryfan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
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.
Aug 22, 2013 Robin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
John Kues
Mar 06, 2010 John Kues rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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James Sallis (born 21 December 1944 in Helena, Arkansas) is an American crime writer, poet and musician, best known for his series of novels featuring the character Lew Griffin and set in New Orleans, and for his 2005 novel Drive, which was adapted into a 2011 film of the same name.
More about James Sallis...

Other Books in the Series

Turner (3 books)
  • Cypress Grove (Turner, #1)
  • Cripple Creek (Turner, #2)

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