Book Review: Sarah Jane by James Sallis

Sarah Jane by James Sallis

Title: Sarah Jane

Author: James Sallis

Genre: Literary Fiction

Number of Pages: 207

Rating: A-

Recommended: Yes


Sarah Jane is a lady cop who’s had a tough, tough life. This slim novel is a non-linear exploration of the protagonist’s life and her feelings of isolation, guilt, and existentialism. It’s not exactly a fun book in the most traditional sense but the writing is absolutely beautiful and Sarah is a strong, utterly believable protagonist. Her past starts to resurface when the sheriff goes missing and leaves her an ambiguously written note and pages of his journal.

She’s been working at a small community for years and has never felt like she quite fit in, but she hasn’t pulled a runner yet like she has from everywhere else. She cares about the sheriff but losing people she cares about isn’t exactly anything new. We follow Sarah from her time in the military to her various menial jobs and failed relationships. James Sallis does a extremely good job writing her and even though he provides a minimal amount of physical description, I still felt like I could see her and got a sense of the way she carried herself.

The main thing I didn’t like about this book was it was confusing. The reason this review is a little disjointed is that I’m still confused about what exactly happened and I’d love it if someone could give me their thoughts on the ending. The non-linear structure was also pretty challenging. So, A+ for writing and character development but I wish the writing style had been a little more clear and straightforward.

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