Sarah Jane

Soho Crime. Oct. 2019. 216p. ISBN 9781641290807. $23.95; ebk. ISBN 9781641290814. M
Sarah Jane Pullman narrates her story, which starts with her growing up “from good hillbilly stock” in the South, then leaving home at 16 and falling in with a group of hippies, getting arrested and sentenced to jail or the army, choosing the latter, and serving in the Mideast. An explosion kills a friend and sends her home. She marries an abusive cop and leaves him. She lives with another cop, who is killed, then Sarah Jane’s military service, tragedies, and life experience garner her a job in the sheriff’s department of a small town, Farr. When her mentor disappears one night, Sarah Jane becomes acting sheriff and searches for the man she replaced. She uncovers glimpses of a man who admits he made mistakes when he came home with PTSD. Then her own past comes calling, in the forms of an FBI agent and a cop from New Mexico. Accidents and rumors dog Sarah Jane, who claims she never did all the things they claimed she did.
VERDICT Sallis (Drive) has a quiet way of narrating a powerful story of accidents and death. The lyrical language and ambiguous ending is reminiscent of the best of Craig Johnson’s “Longmire” stories.
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