When 11-year-old Sally Horner steals a notebook from the local Woolworth's, she has no way of knowing that 52-year-old Frank LaSalle, fresh out of prison, is watching her, preparing to make his move. Based on the experiences of real-life kidnapping victim Sally Horner, this novel traces the next two harrowing years as Frank mentally and physically assaults Sally while the two of them travel westward from Camden to San Jose.
...a shocking crime novel about the famous real-life 1948 abduction that inspired Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita and the film that followed ... Readers will sympathize with Sally’s tragic plight while being revolted by LaSalle’s predatory instinct as he sexually exploits her ... Greenwood reportedly spent more than two years researching Sally’s abduction and years drafting Rust & Stardust. The result is an unflinching portrait of a vile criminal and his helpless victim.
The elusiveness of Sally’s story makes it fertile ground for a novelist. T. Greenwood, in Rust & Stardust, has clearly done her research. She remains faithful to the details we know about Sally Horner and Frank La Salle, but it’s as though she is frightened to take liberties with them. What we get instead are sanitized characters ... The novel progresses...in clipped, fast-moving chapters and gravelly dialogue. It never comes alive. Lurking in the back of the reader’s mind is the question of ownership. Who controls Sally’s story? Is this a serious attempt to explore it from her point of view, or is the author merely exploiting her for a readymade and sordid plot?
...[a] riveting suspense tale that takes readers across state lines and through several years of terror ... grace touches this dark tale, too, in the form of genuinely kind characters whose concern is a balm to the difficult events of the book ... Greenwood’s story will spellbind readers as the terrors mounts.