The Killer Is Dying: Book summary and reviews of The Killer Is Dying by James Sallis

The Killer Is Dying

A Novel

By James Sallis

The Killer Is Dying
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  • Published in USA  Aug 2011,
    240 pages.

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Book Summary

A hired killer on his final job, a burned-out detective whose wife is dying slowly and in agony, a young boy abandoned by his parents and living alone by his wits. Three people, solitary and sundered from society.

In what is at one and the same time a coming-of-age novel, a realistic crime novel, and a novel of the contemporary Southwest, The Killer Is Dying is above all the story of three men of vastly different age and background, and of the shape their lives take against the unforgiving sunlight and sprawl of America's fifth largest city, Phoenix.

The detective, Sayles, is looking for the killer, Christian, though he doesn't know that. Christian is trying to find the man who stepped in and took down his target before he had the chance. And the boy, Jimmie, is having the killer's dreams. While they never meet, through the course of the novel, all find community.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Hallucinatory, almost visionary novel of suspense... Sallis does a superb job exploring the workings of his characters' thoughts and motives." - Publishers Weekly

"Sallis takes his time weaving together the lives of these lost souls, each apparently as aimless as the bugs and birds they can't help noticing. The payoff is a moment of well-nigh miraculous consolation." - Kirkus Reviews

"Around these three economically (but trenchantly) characterised protagonists, Sallis weaves his customary pared-down narrative, one that this time fruitfully combines several different strands of genre." - Crimetime (UK)

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Author Information

James Sallis Author Biography

James Sallis is the acclaimed author of more than two dozen volumes of fiction, poetry, translation, essays, and criticism, including the Lew Griffin series, Drive (made into the movie of the same name), Cypress Grove, Cripple Creek, and Salt River. His biography of the great crime writer Chester Himes is an acknowledged classic. Sallis lives in Phoenix, Arizona, with his wife, Karyn, and an enormous white cat.

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