Monday, May 3, 2010

Salty Like Blood, by Harry Kraus, M.D.

Dr. David Conner has the perfect life. He has a wife he loves, a gorgeous little girl, and is about to make partner at his medical practice. But all that changes when his daughter Rachel disappears during a trip to the shore. He spends the next weeks trying to find what happened to Rachel, trying to save his marriage, and trying to convince their wife that both their child and their love are still alive. Throughout the book, David and his wife are both forced to face up to their pasts, and how it has impacted their lives in the present.

This book was unlike anything I have ever read. I am not much of a fan of mystery or suspense novels, but this book is so much more than just the mystery of what happened to the little girl. When the book first starts, I have to admit, it is a little hard to get into. I attribute this to the fact that very little character development happens up front, and the action happens early on (not necessarily a bad thing mind you). As the story develops, however, we get to know more about the characters, and their backstories. Once I got about seven chapters in to the book, I could not put it down. I simply had to know what happened to Rachel, and what would happen to David and his wife Jo.

Because the book was written by a medical doctor, the level of medical realism in the book is simply stunning. But that realism, along with some of the very dark themes covered in the book, make it very gritty. In one book, we are dealing with cancer, pedophilia, kidnapping, politics, racism, family issues….this is definitely a heavy read. However, I think that is what I liked so much about it. These issues were not handled with kid gloves; they were presented just as they are in real life, and the ideas of faith, forgiveness, redemption, and spiritual freedom are woven into them in the most seamless and beautiful ways.

I would recommend this book for mature, adult readers, both male and female. It has a very special appeal for anyone raised in a seaside community, or who has a connection to the shore, as this setting plays a particular place in the story.

I most definitely look forward to reading more work by Harry Kraus.

This book was provided for review free of charge courtesy of the Christian Review of Books.