A spare, sparkling tour de force about one woman's journey to becoming a cop, by master of noir James Sallis, author of Drive.
Sarah Jane Pullman is a good cop with a complicated past. From her small-town chicken-farming roots through her runaway adolescence, court-ordered Army stint, ill-advised marriage and years slinging scrambled eggs over greasy spoon griddles, Sarah Jane unfolds her life story, a parable about memory, atonement, and finding shape in chaos. Her life takes an unexpected turn when she is named the de facto sheriff of a rural town, investigating the mysterious disappearance of the sheriff whose shoes she’s filling—and the even more mysterious realities of the life he was hiding from his own colleagues and closest friends. This kaleidoscopic character study sparkles in every dark and bright detail—a virtuoso work by a master of both the noir and the tender aspects of human nature.
Sarah Jane Pullman, the narrator of this hypnotic, meticulously crafted crime novel from Sallis (Drive), has become the acting sheriff of Farr, a rural southwestern town, following the disappearance of her predecessor and mentor, Sheriff Cal Phillips. Sarah's combat experience in the Gulf War and her heightened perception of human nature have made her a natural for law enforcement, but her life up until this point has followed anything but a linear route. Amid her search for the missing Phillips, Sarah fills in her past. After fleeing from her small Southern town at 17, Sarah hit the road, and a bit of trouble led to her court-ordered stint in the military. After her discharge, Sarah spent years adrift, finding work as an itinerant cook in faceless diners and shelters, moving through a string of relationships (including one with a violent cop), getting a college degree, losing a child, improvising a life, moving on when things got complicated. An insightful character study of one woman's reckoning with her own demons, this is also a powerful look at contemporary America. Sallis is writing at the top of his game.