Karielle's Reviews > Salt City

Salt City by Robert C. Fleet
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Jun 14, 2012

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Read from May 29 to June 14, 2012

Salt City by Robert C. Fleet
Release Date: March 23rd, 2012
Publisher: Red Frog Publishing
Page Count: 247
Source: From the author, via Innovative Online Book Tours for review, as part of the Salt City book tour

Syracuse, upstate New York. The “Salt City.” An apartment building on the edge of The Projects — and Anne Malloy dies, thrown out of a sixth floor window, an apparent suicide, while Mark Cornell watches. Mark was there for a purpose, his part‐time gig being to snap incriminating photos for a divorce lawyer who happily takes cases over the phone. Watching the apartment was Mark’s assignment.

But this assignment has a problem: Mark learns that “Anne Malloy” had died months before, leaving behind a grieving husband. So who is this woman?

It’s 1976, before cellphones, internet, and all the easy ways of satisfying curiosities, so Mark Cornell’s search for a name to give the victim makes him a foot soldier slogging personally through the facts. And, as those facts pile up, Mark discovers that he really shouldn’t be playing detective, stumbling across the thin line between commerce and crime.

What Stephanie Thinks: Fleet exhibits a rich, literary voice through the eyes of Mark Cornell, a young and intelligent SUNY student who has, to both his excitement and horror, been tangled up in the suicide of Anne Malloy, in Salt City. Mark is a fresh character, and as clever as he is, he is still tremendously naïve, even if he doesn't like to think so. He never asked to play detective; all he was assigned to do was follow the woman around to gather evidence for a divorce case. But as the only eyewitness for her fall through a sixth story window, detective is the role he plays throughout the book, whether he likes it or not.

Even though this book is supposed to be a thriller, I'm disappointed to say the 'rush' of it isn't very exciting. There are some scenes I can tell were written to pump adrenaline, but they fall miserably, miserably flat. The plot is not engaging and moves too slowly to constitute for a solid suspense novel, and the character dynamic is so weak, I didn't get that satisfying That was a great book feeling by the book's end. The mystery aspect is also inadequate as well, the rising action meek, and the solution dissatisfying and ambiguous.

However, I am impressed with two things: the concept and gruesomeness of Anne Malloy's 'murder', despite the fact that she supposedly died months ago, and Fleet's writing style. The action of the novel itself may be unremarkable, but I love what the author does to manipulate the narration. Mark's first person voice is consistent and ever-descriptive, excellent in highlighting the heights of Syracuse and the frights of a repulsive crime.

Though the shock factor of this 'thriller' failed me, the elaborate and smooth style and the intrigue of the storyline make up for it. I don't see myself picking this one up again, but if you'd like to try it as a quick — but beware, rather dull — read, be my guest.

Stephanie Loves: "The card had been lying in Anne Malloy's face when I'd put my coat over its memory. She'd been holding the small rectangle of thin cardboard, I imagined, when her left hand became a part of her face. People will hold on to anything when falling. Sometimes it keeps you from hitting the ground."

Radical Rating: 6 hearts-Satisfying for a first read, but I'm not going back.
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