Excerpt from Salem Falls by Jodi Picoult, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Salem Falls

by Jodi Picoult

Salem Falls by Jodi Picoult
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Apr 2001, 448 pages
    Paperback:
    Jul 2002, 448 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

"Do you mind if I ask what the job is?"

"Yes. I mean, no, I don't mind. We're in the market for a dishwasher."

A reluctant grin tugged at Jack's mouth. "I heard."

"Well, even if we fix the machine, we'll still need someone to run it."

"Is it full time?"

"Part time...afternoons. Minimum wage."

Jack's face fell. He had a Ph.D. in history, and was applying for a job that paid $5.15 per hour. Misinterpreting his reaction, Delilah said, "I've been asking Addie to hire a prep cook a while now. That would be a part-time morning job, wouldn't it?"

Addie hesitated. "Have you ever worked in a kitchen before, Mr...."

"St. Bride. Jack. And yeah, I have." He didn't say where the kitchen was, or that he'd been a guest of the state at the time.

"That beats the last guy you hired," Delilah said. "Remember when we found him shooting up over the scrambled eggs?"

"It's not like he mentioned his habit at the interview." Addie turned to Jack. "How old are you?"

Ah, this was the moment -- the one where she'd ask him why a man his age would settle for menial work like this. "Thirty-one."

She nodded. "If you want the job, it's yours."

No application, no references, no questions about his past employment. And anonymity -- no one would ever expect to find him washing dishes in a diner. For a man who had determined to put his past firmly behind him, this situation seemed too good to be true. "I'd like it very much," Jack managed.

"Then grab an apron," said his new boss.

Suddenly, he remembered that there was something he needed to do, if Salem Falls was going to become his new residence. "I need about an hour to run an errand," he said.

"No problem. It's the least I can do for the person who saved me."

Funny, Jack thought. I was thinking the same thing.


Detective-Lieutenant Charlie Saxton fiddled with the radio in his squad car for a few moments, then switched it off. He listened to the squelch of slush under the Bronco's tires and wondered, again, if he should have stayed with the Miami Police Department.

It was a hard thing to be a law enforcement officer in the town where you'd once grown up. You'd walk down the street, and instead of noticing the IGA, you'd remember the storeroom where a local teen had knifed his girlfriend. You'd pass the school playground and think of the drugs confiscated from the children of the town selectmen. Where everyone else saw the picture-perfect New England town of their youth, you saw the underbelly of its existence.

His radio crackled as he turned onto Main Street. "Saxton."

"Lieutenant, there's some guy here insisting he'll talk only to you."

Even with the bad reception, Wes sounded pissed. "He got a name?"

"If he does, he isn't giving it up."

Charlie sighed. For all he knew, this man had committed murder within town lines and wanted to confess. "Well, I'm driving into the parking lot. Have him take a seat."

He swung the Bronco into a spot, then walked in to find his guest cooling his heels.

Literally. Charlie's first thought, pure detective, was that the guy couldn't be from around here -- no one who lived in New Hampshire was stupid enough to wear a sports jacket and dress shoes in the freezing slush of early March. Still, he didn't seem particularly distraught, like the recent victim of a crime, or nervous, like a perp. No, he just looked like a guy who'd had a lousy day. Charlie extended his hand. "Hi there. Detective-Lieutenant Saxton."

The man didn't identify himself. "Could I have a few minutes of your time?"

Charlie nodded, his curiosity piqued. He led the way to his office, and gestured to a chair. "What can I do for you, Mr...."

"Jack St. Bride. I'm moving to Salem Falls."

Copyright © 2001 by Jodi Picoult. Reprinted with the permission of the publisher, Pocket Books.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The End of Eddy
    The End of Eddy
    by Edouard Louis
    The End of Eddy has been a publishing phenomenon in Édouard Louis' native France, where it...
  • Book Jacket: If We Were Villains
    If We Were Villains
    by M L. Rio
    22 out of 28 of our reviewers rated If We Were Villains four or five stars, giving it an overall ...
  • Book Jacket: The Islamic Enlightenment
    The Islamic Enlightenment
    by Christopher de Bellaigue
    In this comprehensive and well-researched history, de Bellaigue examines the evolution of Islamic ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood

A richly layered novel of hearts broken seemingly beyond repair and then bound by a stunning act of human devotion.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Scribe of Siena
    by Melodie Winawer

    Equal parts transporting love story, meticulously researched historical fiction, and compelling time-travel narrative.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Chalk Pit

The Chalk Pit:
A Ruth Galloway Mystery

A string of murders takes Ruth underground in the newest book in the series.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

T's A S B Every M

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
Modal popup -