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James Sallis Books In Order

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Publication Order of Lew Griffin Books

Publication Order of Turner Books

Publication Order of Drive Books

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Renderings (1995)Description / Buy at Amazon
Death Will Have Your Eyes (1997)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Killer Is Dying (2011)Description / Buy at Amazon
Others of My Kind (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
Willnot (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
Sarah Jane (2019)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Short Stories/Novellas

More Light (1998)Description / Buy at Amazon
What You Were Fighting For (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Collections

Sorrow's Kitchen Poems (2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
Time's Hammers: The Collected Short Fiction of James Sallis (2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
A City Equal to My Desire (2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
Limits of the Sensible World (2003)Description / Buy at Amazon
Potato Tree (2006)Description / Buy at Amazon
Rain's Eagerness (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
Black Night's Gonna Catch Me Here (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon
Night's Pardons (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
Dayenu and Other Stories (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

The Guitar Players: One Instrument and Its Masters in American Music (1982)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Guitar in Jazz: An Anthology (1996)Description / Buy at Amazon
Ash of Stars (1996)Description / Buy at Amazon
Difficult Lives (2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
Gently into the Land of the Meateaters (2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
Chester Himes: A Life (2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
Difficult Lives Hitching Rides (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

Orbit 3(1967)Description / Buy at Amazon
Orbit 6(1970)Description / Buy at Amazon
New Worlds 6(1975)Description / Buy at Amazon
Lone Star Universe(1976)Description / Buy at Amazon
Whispers(1977)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction Volume 104 Number 2, February 2003(2003)Description / Buy at Amazon
Breaking Windows(2003)Description / Buy at Amazon
Phoenix Noir(2009)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Best of Talebones(2010)Description / Buy at Amazon
Books to Die For(2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
Borderland Noir(2015)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Highway Kind(2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
Bound by Mystery(2017)Description / Buy at Amazon
Ten Year Stretch(2018)Description / Buy at Amazon
Bullets and Other Hurting Things: A Tribute to Bill Crider(2021)Description / Buy at Amazon

James Sallis is a critic, poet, and editor best known for writing the Lew Griffin novels. The author has made a name for himself as a novelist, essayist, and translator.


James Sallis was born in 1944 in Helena, Arkansas. He spent a lot of time on the banks of the Mississipi River during his earliest days, enjoying his childhood alongside older brother John.

It should be noted that John went on to publish as many books as James. James distinctly remembers the noises that would fill his nights, emanating from a drive-in near his bedroom window that played music all night.

Considering his exposure, it isn’t surprising that James took to music with fervor, finding joy in listening to Sonny Boy Williamson on the King Biscuit Hour (KFFA Radio). School gave James a platform to put some of his hobbies and interests to good use.

For instance, he would spend several hours on end telling stories to his classmates. He also found time to play the French Horn in his school’s band, gaining recognition for his musical talent.

At home, James took every moment he could find to put stories, plots and conversations on paper. James remembers initiating so many beginnings to stories that he could never continue for one reason or another. However, as he grew older, he began to find solace in the simple art of writing.

By the time James wrote an essay about his band director, there was no question in anyone’s mind that he would continue to pursue the creative arts to great success.

+Literary Career

In the 1960s, James Sallis began writing stories and selling them to Damon Knight; this was after spending a few years writing science fiction for magazines. The author had to work in a number of fields and take various opportunities before he began to see any notable success, this including going to London to help edit New Worlds as it was being changed to its large format.

One of James’ more notable memories was when his first story ‘Kazoo’ was published in 1967. Since then, James has fulfilled a number of roles. He has been a music teacher, a creative writing teacher, a book reviewer and a translator.

He also had numerous opportunities to put his respiratory therapy training to good use by caring for adults and newborn babies at a number of hospitals. Institutions like Otis College and Phoenix College saw him teach writing classes.

There are few authors that have been as immersed in the literary world as James Sallis. James’ career has been long and illustrious, allowing him to deliver some truly impressive gems to voracious readers.


One of James Sallis’ most notable adaptations is Drive. The novel was turned into a film starring Carey Mulligan and Ryan Gosling. Directed by Nicholas Winding Refn, it was released in 2011.

Additionally, one of this Lew Griffin novels, Eye of the Cricket, was adapted for radio, airing between 2007 and 2010 on BBC Radio 7.

+The Long-Legged Fly

Lew Griffin is a black private detective living in modern-day New Orleans, and he has just taken on a missing person’s case, one that many consider being hopeless. Determined to succeed where others have failed, Lew’s search throws him into one violent dead end after another, the winding trail dragging him through the underbelly of the French Quarter.

It soon dawns on Lew that he might be as lost as the victims he seeks to recover. When an alcoholic binge leaves him in the hospital, love with the nurse he meets gives his life new meaning.

But it isn’t long before he returns to his old ways, taking to the streets and lounging amongst predators and their prey. Life only grows darker when his son vanishes, Lew determining to resolve his personal mysteries if only to gain the strength necessary to determine the whereabouts of others.

People have called this book visceral and exciting.

If you like crime fiction and read detective novels religiously, this book will still surprise because it just isn’t like any other detective novel on the shelves of bookstores today. Most detective novels have a similar thread that connects them.

You have a detective that is essentially confronted with a standout case, a mystery that is somehow elevated above the other cases that he encounters on a regular basis and which, once all is said and done, will stay with him for years to come.

That is the furthest thing from this James Sallis book which focuses, not on that one major case, but all the other smaller cases. Readers are basically allowed to follow Lew as he does his regular work.

As a result, readers are treated to a series of short stories, each adding a new layer to Lew’s character and giving insight into his complex mind. This book is worth reading if only to enjoy the unique approach it takes to the genre.


Drive is a James Sallis novel that follows a man who does stunt driving for movies, but only in the day. At night, the man takes to the street driving for criminals. Sallis delivers violence, murder, and betrayal in a plot that is very reminiscent of the pulp fiction movies of the 1940s.

James Sallis’ drive has a great anti-hero. He is one of those characters that can do everything, from driving to fighting and drinking. You get plenty of violence but nothing so graphic that it puts you off.

Readers do not need to worry about gore; this is despite the fact that this book is so tense. And it isn’t even as verbose as one might presume. James Sallis leaves a lot of things unsaid and that only makes his story so much more taut.

Interestingly enough, James doesn’t really break any new ground in the genre. Yet, the author still adds something new to the equation. It might have something to do with the fact that James is such an amazing writer and his words add a spark to what could have been a fairly lifeless plot.

There isn’t a single wasted word in the novel. James keeps his story tight and wound and brilliant. You would be hard pressed to find a more beautifully written James Sallis book.

Book Series In Order » Authors » James Sallis

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