Published in 2001. 434 pages.
I started reading Salem Falls very late last Saturday night when I couldn't fall asleep. I sat down with it again on Sunday evening - and I had to keep reading until I finished!
First sentence: Several miles into his journey, Jack St. Bride decided to give up his former life.
Basic plot summary: Just released from prison after being wrongfully accused of the sexual assault of a teenage student, Jack St. Bride lands in the quiet town of Salem Falls, hoping to build a new life. Addie Peabody is struggling to rebuild her own life, following the death of her daughter. Together they face the ignorance and arrogance of those who live in a town where bad things just don't happen.
Literary connection: Picoult says she was looking to write an update to The Crucible, which I read in high school, "because so many of the themes in Arthur Miller's play are still so timely: the concept of a town excluding someone they don't believe to be fit; the way lies spread so much faster than truth."
Connection to other Picoult novels: Jordan McAfee, the attorney from The Pact, is back in action in Salem Falls. (He also plays a role in Nineteen Minutes, which occurs subsequent to Salem Falls, although I read it first.)
Contribution to the Reading the Author Challenge: This is the first of three Picoult novels I need to read for Reading the Author. It is the eighth of Picoult's books that I've read so far this year - so I definitely am "reading the author"! Luckily, I find her books to be compelling, so I'm sure I'll get at least two more read before the challenge ends.
Appropriateness for the R.I.P. II Challenge: This was not on my original R.I.P. list, but with a ghost and a coven of witches, I think it qualifies. I'm still going to try to read The Historian this month - and I've got to get a review of Gossamer posted - but I'm going to count this one for the challenge too. By the way, the book cover of the copy I picked up at the library (top left) helps create an atmosphere of creepiness better than other covers I've seen around the internet. Don't you agree?