Salty Like Blood, by Harry Kraus, MD

Salty Like Blood by Kraus Kraus: Book CoverFinished 5-1-09, rating 3.5/5, fiction, pub. 2009

In the next hour we asked every resident of the street if they’d seen our little girl.  Everyone we questioned returned the same concerned stare, as if we were bad parents.  They never said it, but I felt it at every doorstep.  You let your little girl go out by the water alone?

Chapter 3

Seven year old, Rachel Conners, is a normal little girl with two parents who love her.  Then, while visiting her sick grandfather on the Chesapeake shore, she goes missing.  Her parents, Dr. David Conners and his wife Joanne, are frantic and their sometimes troubled marriage approaches a breaking point.  Joanne wants to assume she is dead and move one, but David needs answers and the two live apart, each trying to cope in their own way.  While David stays at the shore to look for answers he is tempted by fantasies of his Muslim neighbor and back in the city, Joanne begins to fall prey to her ex-fiancee, Blake. 

This book tackles the horrifying prospect of losing a child and the uncertainty that comes with a disappearance.  David and Joanne’s marriage was in trouble and it was shown, warts and all.  It shows happens when two partners need to grieve or fight in two different ways. 

There were so many storylines that it was almost too much.  Losing a parent, losing a child, racial prejudice, small town expectations, betraying a friend, and social pressures are just some of the main themes.  The multiple storylines kept the story moving, although I’m not sure they all came together for me. 

The story is a quick read and written in a straightforward voice that will keep you guessing what will happen next.  David’s quest for answers leads to thoughts of revenge and forgiveness and Joanne must deal with the lies in her marriage.  The end was surprising and far-fetched (at least I hope so!) and I never really liked Joanne.  She was too cold and distant and never really thawed.  David was a more sympathetic character and I was rooting for him to find his answers and save the day.

All in all, there was more good than bad and I did enjoy it.