Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Read: "Cripple Creek" by James Sallis

Read: Cripple Creek by James Sallis, 2006, 0802733824.

Good, well written. Sallis wastes no words. There was no padding in 192 pages. This is at least the second novel with this character, I once tried to read the first one but lost interest and quit.

Sallis does not give a lot of description and does not dwell on characters and locations. I had to go back several times to reference things and the flashbacks begin without notice. Sallis also does not go into detailed histories of his characters, he gives just enough to explain some things and wonder about the rest. That's fine.

Turner is a former Memphis cop, ex-con (shot his partner in Memphis), and mental health counselor. Turner landed in small town Tennessee and was kindly pressured into helping the local cops with a case. Turner is now a regular deputy after turning down the Sheriff position. I'm not sure how a former ex-con (11 years in prison) is supposed to be eligible for police work.

A mobster from Memphis is busted for drunk driving, the current Sheriff and secretary are busted up as the mobster is busted out of jail, and Turner goes after the bad dudes. The bad dudes and the resulting hit men after Turner are a small part of the story. Sallis does not delve into the sleuthing, planning, details on guns, breaking into a mobster's house, or fistfights. The events are told with a real economy of language.

Mostly this is about Turner, his girlfriend, and his suddenly appearing, long-lost daughter. Not to mention his friends in town and his ongoing adjustments to being a cop again and getting old.

EDIT, 6 June 2011: This novel always reminds of the flick One False Move and Bill Paxton's sincere but unskilled sheriff.

1 comment: