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Much later, as he sat with his back against an inside wall of a Motel 6 just north of Phoenix, watching the pool of blood lap toward him, Driver would wonder whether he had made a terrible mistake. Later still, of course, there'd be no doubt. But for now Driver is, as they say, in the moment. And the moment includes this blood lapping toward him, the pressure of dawn's late light at windows and door, traffic sounds from the interstate nearby, the sound of someone weeping in the next room....Thus begins Drive, a new novella by one of the nation's most respected and honored writers of noir fiction. Set mostly in Arizona and L.A., the story is, according to Sallis, ..."about a guy who does stunt driving for movies by day and drives for criminals at night. In classic noir fashion, he is double-crossed and, though before he has never participated in the violence ('I drive. That's all.'), he goes after the ones who doublecrossed and tried to kill him."
His highly praised Lew Griffin novels evoked classic New Orleans. James Sallis has conjured a small town somewhere near Memphis, where John Turner--ex-policeman, ex-con, war veteran and former therapist--has come to escape his past. But the past proves inescapable. Thrust into the role of Deputy Sheriff, Turner finds himself at the center of his new community, one that, like so many others, is drying up, disappearing before his eyes. As Salt River begins, two years have passed since Turner's amour, Val Bjorn, was shot as they sat together on the porch of his cabin. Sometimes you just have to see how much music you can make with what you have left, Val had told him, a mantra for picking up the pieces around her death, not sure how much he or the town has left. Then the sheriff's long-lost son comes plowing down Main Street into City Hall in what appears to be a stolen car. And waiting at Turner's cabin is his good friend, Eldon Brown, Val's banjo on the back of his motorcycle so that it looks as though he has two heads. They think I killed someone, he says. Turner asks: Did you? And Eldon responds: I don't know. Haunted by his own ghosts, Turner nonetheless goes in search of a truth he's not sure he can live with.
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