A Thousand Steps

A Thousand Steps
A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Rust & Stardust by T. Greenwood- Feature and Review


Camden, NJ, 1948.

When 11 year-old Sally Horner steals a notebook from the local Woolworth's, she has no way of knowing that 52 year-old Frank LaSalle, fresh out of prison, is watching her, preparing to make his move. Accosting her outside the store, Frank convinces Sally that he’s an FBI agent who can have her arrested in a minute—unless she does as he says.

This chilling novel traces the next two harrowing years as Frank mentally and physically assaults Sally while the two of them travel westward from Camden to San Jose, forever altering not only her life, but the lives of her family, friends, and those she meets along the way.



Rust & StardustRust & Stardust by T. Greenwood
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Rust & Stardust by T. Greenwood is a 2018 St. Martin’s Press publication.

Rarely do I happen to read a non-fictional account of a book before I read the fictionalized version. Usually, it is the other way around. However, I requested this book and ‘The Real Lolita” at the same time from the library, and as fate would have it, the true crime book became available first.

This book had a very long ‘hold’ period, so I was caught off guard when It suddenly became available, a couple of weeks after I finished ‘TRL’. I am not a fan of reading books with the exact same subject matter too close together. However, because this is a library loan, and I didn’t want to get back in line for it later, I just had to suck it up.

The story of Sally Horner has suddenly become a hot topic. Her role in Vladimir Nabakov’s creation of ‘Lolita’ has recently come under great scrutiny. For me, all of the hype and speculation on that front, drowns out the true horror of what Sally Horner endured during her captivity.

Blessedly, this author leaves out the Nabokov conjectures during the telling of Sally’s ordeal, and keeps the focus on Sally and her family, where it should be.

Although this is a fictionalized account of Sally’s troubled life, the author did a very credible job of recreating this vulnerable, lonely girl and vividly depicts her harrowing experience at the hands Frank LaSalle, and her ultimate release from his grasp.

Sally’s life is a troubled one, very sad, and full of tragedy. This book does her story justice, and handled the emotions and criminal parts of her life with great respect and dignity, while giving the reader a full -blown view of what this child suffered.

This I my first book by T. Greenwood. I’ve heard so many wonderful things about his author, and now I see why she is held in such high regard. This book is utterly absorbing, very well written, although I am sure the story must have been an emotional undertaking.

I am glad to see that Sally has not been forgotten. I do wish she didn’t have to share the spotlight with Nabakov, but at least her journey goes a long way towards dispelling some myths associated with the case and its connection to ‘Lolita’.

If you are interested in Sally’s life, my advice would be to read this fictionalize account before reading ‘The Real Lolita’. Both books are good, both are very thought provoking, and both would serve well as book club reads. This one, however, gives Sally’s case the absolute undivided attention it deserves.





T. Greenwood is the author of twelve novels. She has received grants from the Sherwood Anderson Foundation, the Christopher Isherwood Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and, most recently, the Maryland State Arts Council. She has won three San Diego Book Awards. Five of her novels have been BookSense76/IndieBound picks. BODIES OF WATER was finalist for a Lambda Foundation award. Her twelfth novel, RUST & STARDUST, was published in August 2018.

She teaches creative writing for San Diego Writer's Ink and online for The Writer's Center. She and her husband, Patrick, live in San Diego, CA with their two daughters. She is also a photographer.

More information on T. Greenwood can be found at her websites: http://www.tgreenwood.com and http://www.ephemerafiles.com

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