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Customer Reviews

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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 20 November 2001
Long on atmosphere and short on plot or action, this slim novel ultimately disappoints. The story follows a retired government assassin who is called upon to abandon his life as a sculptor to track down a former colleague who has turned freelance. As the duo play a rather dull cat and mouse game across the backroads of America, the pursuer meditates on the lonely life of the spy. Sallis captures the depressing bleak atmosphere of small-town strip-mall America, but there's not enough a a story to make it all worthwhile.
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on 21 June 2002
This is one of the classiest espionage books I've ever come across; rather than making the main protagonist yer average hard nosed Harry Palmer type, he is a real spook who would rather work in the shadows. Hauled back into the game against his will, a hunt takes place over a desolate road trip through the States. I'd say the plot is stark rather than thin and just provides a backdrop to pitch the characters against; I'd say this is more a book about the people that the events happen to, albeit a tale told in quite a detached cool way. You'll be left with a real sense of how murky and lonely the world of the second oldest profession is.
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on 9 September 2009
A retired spy gets the call he dreads - an old colleague may be after him. He must leave his life - and love - behind and hit the road to find them - or rather be found by them.
Instead of being a strap on, lock and load, weapon and gadget fest, the book has the protagonist considering his options and the strange nature of his "old" job while traveling through America.
It is a slow journey with several unusual thought provoking moments and a few twists and turns, which ultimately reaches its satisfactory conclusion.
While he assesses what is important in his life, you might find yourself doing the same.
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on 7 May 2009
This was such a refreshing change from the usual retired spy forced to return for one more mission and kill fellow agent gone rogue. All those aspects present but no gung ho violence, great dry humour, and a really believable hero with believable relationships. Also great atmosphere.

If you're looking for the usual mixture there are plenty of authors to go to. I was delighted to find this book, and this author who I had not heard of before. I'll now be looking for more of his books.
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on 22 February 2014
I was put onto this book after looking for good thrillers set in small town America. I find it a very difficult book to rate because on the one hand the scene setting is absolutely superb and you do get a real sense of place from James Sallis' prose. On the other hand however the promised tension and drama that you are led to expect at the beginning never materializes and I got to the end of the book thinking "is that it then"? The book also has a lot of literary name dropping which is good if you know your poets but a lot of it does detract from the story. You are led to believe from the beginning that the main character is a tough character like Andy McNab's Nick Stone but as the book progresses he becomes more of an intellectual dreamer. I would say give the book a try is you like word painting and want an evocative description of back woods America from the road. However if you are expecting a tense thriller you are bound to be disappointed.
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on 8 January 2016
Another great read from this man
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on 1 August 2015
Awesome!
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