The first novel of the Turner trilogy
The small town where Turner moved is one of America's lost places, halfway between Memphis and forever. That makes it a perfect hide-away: A place where you can bury the past and escape the pain of human contact, where you are left alone unless you want company, where conversation happens only when there's something to say, where you can sit and watch an owl fly silently across the face of the moon. And where Turner hoped to forget that he was a cop, a psychotherapist, and always an ex-con.
There was no major crime to speak of until Sheriff Lonnie Bates arrived on Turner's porch with a bottle of Wild Turkey and a problem: The body of a drifter has been found - brutally and ritualistically murdered - and Bates and his deputy need help from someone with big-city experience who appreciates the delicacy of investigating people in a small town. Thrust back into the middle of what he left behind, Turner slowly becomes reacquainted not only with the darkness he had fled, but with the unsuspected kindness of others.
Brilliantly balancing Turner's past and present lives, Cypress Grove is lyrical, moving, and filled with the sense of place and character that only our finest writers can achieve. It is proof positive that the acclaim James Sallis has enjoyed for years is richly deserved.
'James Sallis is a superb writer' - Times
'Sallis's deceptively easy style disguises the skill with which he has produced a satisfyingly complete portrait of a man's life' - Telegraph
'This compelling book is beautifully written. It flows naturally off the pages like a lazy Southern river on a hot, steamy summer's night... Its style, story-telling, psychological elements, are all masterful... a book to be savoured' - Mystery Review
Don't miss the other books in the Turner trilogy, Cypress Grove and Cripple Creek and look out for James Sallis' Lew Griffin series.
Turner, a homicide cop from Memphis, has retired to a cabin outside a small town in the South, but crime comes knocking in this tightly written, low-key thriller. The rural sheriff, Lonnie Bates, introduces himself over a bottle of Wild Turkey and asks for assistance in a murder case that clearly is out of his league. A drifter has been found wired up on latticework, arms ritualistically crossed above his head, a long stake driven through his heart. As he joins in the investigation, Turner meets and likes more and more of the locals, remembering how he came to this place after an on-job shooting and follow-up stint in prison. Alternating chapters build his backstory, with brilliant, disturbing vignettes of police work and scenes of surviving as an ex-cop behind bars that stand with the best in the genre. The prose, unlike other more poetic writing from the versatile Sallis, is easily accessible: "We came in from the north, onto deserted streets. Pop. 1280, a sign said. Passed Jay's Dinner with its scatter of cars and trucks outside, drugstore and hardware store gone dark, A&P, Dollar Store, Baptist church, Gulf station." With his highly regarded six-novel series about New Orleans detective Lew Griffin (The Long-Legged Fly, etc.) behind him, Sallis seems completely comfortable in this solid, lyrical and very human-scale mystery. Fans who appreciate his more quirky touches won't be disappointed, as he brings in an unexpected cult cinema angle. This one may well draw a larger readership to his work.