Building Community10 Jun 2019

Fremantle Press book of the month: “River of Salt” by Dave Warner

Armelle Davies is the recipient of the inaugural Minderoo Editorship at Fremantle Press, a WA publishing house which supports and champions uniquely Australian stories. Armelle recommends and reviews a book for Minderoo Foundation every month.


1961, Philadelphia. After having to give up his brother to save his own life, hitman Blake Saunders flees the Mob and seeks refuge on the other side of the world. Two years later he has been reborn in a tiny coastal Australian town. The ghosts of the past still haunt him, but otherwise Coral Shoals is paradise. Blake surfs, and plays guitar in his own bar, the Surf Shack. But then the body of a young woman is found at a local motel, and evidence links her to the Surf Shack. When Blake’s friend is arrested, and the local sergeant doesn’t want to know, it becomes clear to Blake – who knows a thing or two about murder – that the only way to protect his paradise is to find the killer.

Dave Warner is an author, musician and screenwriter. His first novel City of Light won the Western Australian Premier’s Book Award for Fiction, and Before it Breaks (2015) the Ned Kelly Award for best Australian crime fiction. His latest novel Clear to the Horizon features the lead characters from both these books. Dave Warner originally came to national prominence with his gold album Mug’s Game, and his band Dave Warner’s from the Suburbs. In 2017 he released his tenth album When. He has been named a Western Australian State Living Treasure and has been inducted into the WAMi Rock’n’Roll of Renown.

Review of “Heaven Sent” by Armelle Davies

Dave Warner is a bit of a crime writing veteran now, and it feels like he’s at the top of his game with this one. I loved the nostalgic but still tangible world of the 60s surf scene that he created in River of Salt, which, along with a cracking pace and nuanced characters, made it my favourite recent crime read. Blake is an immensely likeable main character, and his colleague / love interest Doreen is such a good character that I would love to see her star in a spin-off. I also absolutely couldn’t pick the killer with this one, in the best possible way. I’ve got my fingers crossed for a sequel.

Read more about “River of Salt” here

Megan Wallis
by Megan Wallis
Megan has been the Partnerships Co-Ordinator in the Building Community portfolio since August 2018. Her role encompasses Arts and Culture, Community and Environment, Early Childhood and the Forrest Research Foundation. Megan has a Commerce Degree in Tourism Management and previously worked in the tourism sector.
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