Salty Like Blood: A Novel

Salty Like Blood: A Novel

by Harry Kraus M.D.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781416592617
Publisher: Howard Books
Publication date: 03/24/2009
Sold by: SIMON & SCHUSTER
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 919,841
File size: 273 KB

About the Author

Best-selling author Harry Kraus, MD, is a board-certified surgeon whose contemporary fiction (beginning with 1994’s Stainless Steal Hearts and including his 2001 best-seller Could I Have This Dance?) is characterized by medical realism. He practices surgery in Virginia and formerly in Kenya where he served as a missionary surgeon. He's also the author of two works of nonfiction.

Read an Excerpt


1

Rachel and I tumbled into the tall grass at the bottom of the hill, having survived yet another Daddy-just-one-more sled ride from the edge of our front porch. I collapsed on my back, trying to find oxygen between gasps of laughter, and looked up at the summer sky. My daughter, with limbs sprawled in a wide X and her head against my foot, shouted her delight toward the house. "We did it! We made it!"

Seconds before, airborne and soaring toward record distance, Rachel reached for an octave above the normal human voice range, squealing a note that rang on in my head, and I suspected invited half the neighborhood's canine population to play. I laughed and put my fingers in my ears, rolling them in an exaggerated twist as if she'd deafened me.

She moved to lay her head upon my chest and quieted herself there, listening to my racing heart.

I stroked her hair, inhaled the scent of mown grass, and nestled my head back into the tickle of green.

"Is it okay?" she asked.

"It's okay."

"It's too fast," she said, raising herself up and pushing a bony elbow into my gut.

"Oh, so now you're the doctor."

She smiled. "Someday," she said. "For now, you're the doctor."

"Don't worry. I'm okay." I scowled at my seven-year-old. "Really."

We rested together, staring at the sky full of clouds of hippopotami, horses, rockets -- whatever Rachel imagined. Mostly I gasped and oohed. In a moment I found myself blinking away tears, overwhelmed with the enormity of it all.

It was so ordinary. A summer Saturday morning without an agenda. It's hard for me to describe beyond the sense I had of emerging, as if I'd been submerged for so long, and now, just to play and laugh and roll in the grass seemed a joy that would burst my heart. I smiled, taking it in, gulping in ordinary life as if I'd never have a chance again.

As Rachel chatted on with her running commentary of sky castles, fiery dragons, and fairies, other images drifted through my mind, pictures of painful chapters that set my current joy into sharp contrast. Traveling with Joanne through the dark tunnel of postpartum depression. My mother's battle with cancer. Memories of an intensive care unit visit while I was the too-young patient, watching my own heart monitor and wondering if life would be cut short.

Joanne's voice swept me into the here and now. "What's going on?"

I looked up to see her standing on the covered porch, eyeing a bottle of vegetable oil that was set on the white railing.

Rachel lifted her head, her blond hair dotted with grass seed. "We're sledding, Mommy."

Joanne's hands rested firmly on her hips. "It's July, David." She picked up the bottle. "And I've been looking for this." She was serious, but her eyes betrayed her attempt at scolding me. Her happiness at my delight in our little Rachel couldn't be spoiled by my summer antics.

I exchanged a mischievous glance with Rachel. She betrayed me in a heartbeat. "It was Daddy's idea."

"Women!" I said, grabbing my daughter by the waist and swinging her around in a circle. "You always stick together!"

As I trudged up the hill with Rachel folded around my back, I grunted exaggerated puffs. "You're getting so big."

I set her on the top step and kissed her forehead. She started pulling away. "Wait." I picked at the seeds in her hair. "You'll need to brush this out."

She opted for the shake-it-out method. "I'm a rock star."

I smiled. My star. For Joanne and me, Rachel had been the glue that helped us stick together through a valley of misery.

Joanne reappeared, carrying lemonade in tall, sweaty glasses. She handed me one and kissed me. She had thin lips to go with sharp, elegant features, dark eyes alight with mystery, and hair the color of caramel. She could have been a model before big lips became the rage.

I'd been to hell and back with Joanne, but the last six months, I'd sensed a real change in her. She seemed settled, somehow. Content. More romantic toward me -- the way she had been back in my medical school days. Our relationship, once teetering on the precipice of divorce, was now solidly a safe distance from the edge. I'd seen significant pieces of my life's puzzle fall together in the last few years. When the marriage one finally clicked into place, everything else brightened with it. It was as if I'd been living my life in black-and-white and someone just invented color.

I kissed her back, trying to discern her mood. There seemed a surface calm, but I sensed a deeper stirring. I'd become a champion at reading her. I knew the quiet of her bitterness, the bubbly way she prattled on when she felt guilty, and the aloofness that dared me to pursue her into bed. For a moment our eyes met. It was only a flash, but in that instant, I felt the foreboding that threatened my wonderful ordinary-life euphoria.

I took her hand. "What's up?"

She lowered her voice, but even at that volume, sharp irritation cut at the edges of her words, clipping them into little fragments. "Your father."

I raised my eyebrows in question.

"His neighbor called."

I waited for more, but it seemed the silence only uncapped her annoyance. In a moment she was on the verge of tears.

"He always does this. Every time we have plans, he has a crisis."

Plans. The practice was dining at the country club tonight.

I started to protest, but she interrupted, pushing her finger against my lips. "You know they're going to announce that you've made partner."

I smiled. Partner. A year early. Just reward for the practice's highest revenue producer nine months in a row. Another puzzle piece in my wonderful life about to connect.

"Which neighbor?"

"That Somali family," she said, flipping her hand in the air. "A woman. She has an accent. She said his place is a wreck. He's ill." She seemed to hesitate before adding. "He's asking for you."

It was my father's way. The crab fisherman wouldn't pick up the phone and let me know he needed me. He sent word around the block and expected me to show. "Define 'ill.'"

Joanne imitated the neighbor's accent. "Mister Gus isn't eating. He toilets in the bedroom."

I groaned. Whatever the neighbor meant, I knew it couldn't be good. I walked into the house to my study and picked up the phone. I was listening to the endless ringing on the other end when Joanne entered. "Not a good sign," I said. "He doesn't pick up."

"What are we going to do?"

I looked at my wife. Petite. Strong. And so able to read my thoughts.

She threw up her hands. "We're going to the shore," she said. "Just like that."

I nodded. I was predictable. Family first. We had to go.

She glared at me. I read the silence, loud and clear. That's why I love you...and hate you.

"I'll call Jim. The practice will understand."

Joanne shook her head. "This is your night, David. The moment you've been waiting for. And you throw it away because of family."

I couldn't say anything. She had me pegged.

"I'll see if Kristine will take Rachel for the weekend."

"Let's take her with us."

Joanne's face hardened. "With us? That place is so..." -- she paused, apparently mulling over adjective options -- "crusty."

It was the gentlest description of several other options that came to mind.

"We'll take care of the crisis and stay at that seaside bed and breakfast. It will be fun. A chance for her to see her grandfather." I let a hopeful smile tease at the corners of my lips. "Even if he is crusty, he does adore her."

Joanne sighed in resignation. "Yes, he does." She tipped her glass against mine. "As long as we don't have to sleep there," she said, shivering as if that thought was horrifying. She gave me a don't-even-try-to-cross-me look. "You're driving."

I walked out onto the porch and into the humidity we Virginians call summer. As I called for Rachel, I followed the border of the house, my prize lawn soft beneath my bare feet. From her perch on the back deck, my daughter ambushed me with open arms.

"Can we sled some more?"

I looked at the blue sky and my Southern Living home, and I pushed aside a fleeting presence. A ripple beneath the calm.

I'd been through too many hard times to trust the peace. Nothing this great can last forever.

"We're going to Grandpa Conners'," I said, trying my best to sound excited.

Rachel wrinkled her nose. To her, the shore meant stinky crabs and everything smelling fishy.

I poked her nose with a finger. "You're too much like your mother."

She poked me back. "You're too much like your father."

A sudden breeze lifted Rachel's hair against my face. I stopped, looking east. In the distance, a small thundercloud hung over the horizon. Not today. I don't want to travel the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel in the rain.

My daughter squeezed my neck, bringing a smile to my face and pushing my anxieties aside. I nestled my face into her hair, trying to find an earlobe. She giggled, and everything seemed right again. © 2009 by Harry Kraus

2

Joanne packed in a rush, throwing in enough clothes for one night. I added my medical bag and swimwear for myself and Rachel, slipping in her little fishing rod and reel on the sly, hoping to escape from family obligations with Dad long enough to hear Rachel's delight over reeling in a croaker or if we were lucky, a catfish or two.

With our sights set on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, we left our suburban home west of Richmond by eleven. By noon we were sitting at a picnic table outside Pierce's Pit Barbeque near Williamsburg.

Joanne wiped Carolina Red sauce from Rachel's chin. "I don't like those clouds."

To the east, fluffy popcorn clouds darkened the sky above the pines. I grunted a response and shoved the last of a shredded pork barbecue sandwich home. The clouds bothered me, too. I'd seen the tenacity of storms coming off the Chesapeake, and I didn't like the idea of being over the water on the lonely twenty-three mile bay bridge-tunnel between Norfolk and the Eastern Shore. But my job, as chauvinistic as it sounded, was to offer a rock solid reassurance to my women. "Not to worry," I said. "They come up fast and burn out fast. We'll be fine."

A distant rumble punctuated the end of my sentence. Joanne raised her eyebrows at me and stayed quiet for Rachel's sake.

"Jim says they'll miss us for dinner," I said.

Joanne smiled. "I'm sure he'll drink enough to make up for all of us."

I chuckled. She was right, though. My senior business associate was a savvy businessman and a competent physician, but I worried that his liver would die before he did. When I told him this, he joked it would likely last forever, as often as he'd drowned the organ in pickling juice.

I remembered the uncomfortable moment like it happened yesterday. I had put my hand on his shoulder. "Are you really okay?"

His face reddened above his silk tie. "Mind your own business," he'd said, ending the conversation.

Joanne gathered our trash and looked at Rachel. "Let's use the ladies' room. Last stop before Grandpa's house."

Rachel closed her lips around a straw and pulled noisily at the last of her soda.

I watched them go and stood to take a better look at the sky. Having grown up in a small fishing town on "the shore," as we called it, I turned my eyes constantly to the horizon. It was second nature, something I still did, in spite of my indoor occupation as a family physician.

Moments later we were on our way again, east on Interstate 64 and moving shoulder to shoulder with a steady flow of Virginians escaping to the beach.

Joanne fretted in heavy traffic and liked it even less when the rain started. Soon the isolated plunk, plunk, plunk, closed together into a steady rhythm. I turned on the wipers and glanced at my wife. She needed something else to think about. "Why don't you call ahead to the Bayside Bed and Breakfast?"

I squinted through the windshield and frowned, noticing a fraction too late that I was about to pass my exit. I changed lanes quickly, a maneuver that rocked my Ford Explorer and prompted an expletive from Joanne. "Look out!" she screamed.

A horn blared. An old red convertible with the top down pulled up beside us, all occupants screaming. Three angry white men, with their hands in the air, lifted a redneck welcome with middle fingers flying. A lone occupant in the backseat, a tattooed man seated beside a surfboard, clasped his hands together as if carrying a handgun and jerked his arms back and forth as if experiencing a handgun's recoil.

"Idiots," I muttered. "Don't look at them." I bolstered my bravado by laughing at their predicament. "Looks like they can't put the top up because of the surfboard."

"You almost hit them."

"I know." I hesitated. "Blind spot." Inside, I cringed. I didn't enjoy being the cause of conflict. I glanced in the rearview mirror and wished for a Rolaids.

We exited toward the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, a manmade wonder crossing above and below miles of open water near the mouth of the Atlantic Ocean. Behind us, the red convertible followed. From the front, the bumper and grille heaved forward with menacing shiny braces exposed in a snarl of chrome. I watched as he nestled in behind me, thankful that Joanne was busy with her cell phone. I tapped the steering wheel and shifted my eyes from the road to the mirror, fighting the churning anxiety in my gut.

I glanced at Joanne. At least for the moment, she ignored me. I wished I hadn't eaten that second barbeque.

The red car hugged my bumper. He followed for two blocks, then pulled off, engine revving, likely seeking refuge from the pounding rain.

I took a deep breath and turned to see that Rachel had fallen asleep. Oh, to be that trusting, I thought.

Joanne folded her flip phone. "No service."

"Maybe it's the storm."

She sighed.

I squeezed her hand. I love you.

She didn't squeeze back.

The rain picked up again before the first tunnel. The bay churned white beneath us. I suspected the water gushing onto my SUV was at least half bay, half rain, a miserable recipe for corrosion.

In the tunnel there was peace.

A few minutes later we exited the tunnel, and my alarm grew as we began to cross the open water. I squinted ahead, looking for the safety of the next island. Just before the start of the second tunnel, the storm accelerated, and wind gusts forced me to a crawl. Once on the man-made island, with my wipers set to frantic, I pulled into a parking lot with the others seeking safety off the open bridge.

Five minutes later the red convertible reappeared, top up, surfboard jutting from the trunk. The three angry men stopped directly behind me, at a right angle to us, hemming us in. Faces to the windows, they leered at us through the downpour.

My eyes studied the rearview mirror. Joanne turned around and cursed under her breath. I double-checked the locks and waited.

There we sat, each second stretched unmercifully by our circumstance. My chest tightened. I wiped my forehead and forced a smile at Joanne, an implant I was certain she saw through.

Five minutes passed. The rain slackened. I wanted the license plate number but couldn't get it since I had only a view of the side of the car. I studied the vehicle, wishing I knew cars. It was old. Beautiful and restored. High back fins bordered the trunk. I guessed late fifties, a Chevy perhaps, with paint too new for its owner to tolerate a dent.

I started the SUV, flashed my brakes, and put it in reverse to warn the driver I meant business.

The red car sat there. I backed up an inch. Then two.

"What are you doing?" Joanne whispered.

"I want him to move."

I backed a total of two feet, until my bumper must have been nearly kissing his car. He sat there, unmoving, daring me to continue.

Joanne pleaded, "Stop."

I looked ahead, judging the distance between the front of my Ford and the concrete wall -- a secure barrier that separated the parking lot from the boulders that provided the foundation for the man-made island. "Hang on."

I shifted into drive, cut hard to the left, and gunned the accelerator, hopping over a concrete wheel stopper intended to keep me from parking too close to the wall. My front bumper scraped the wall, but my momentum was enough. We completed the turn and fishtailed into the wet parking lot.

My evasive move took my nemesis by surprise. I sped across the parking lot and onto the bridge road, with lightning flashing and the red convertible dead on its wheels. Inside the tunnel I pushed the accelerator, rocketing past the speed limit -- pushing eighty, ninety, and then one hundred miles per hour. Fortunately, traffic in the tunnel was sparse. Changing lanes in the tunnel was illegal, but I was jazzed and afraid. I had no idea what kind of drug or psychosis was driving the man in the red convertible, and I had little interest in finding out.

Weaving around slower traffic in the tunnel, I was soon out in the rain again and tangled in traffic. I made four passes, one around a large delivery truck emblazoned with a large blue crab. In the mirror there was no sign of the red convertible.

I slowed the SUV, dared my heart to do the same, and glanced at Joanne. She was pale, eyes closed and knuckles whitened around the shoulder strap. "It's okay," I said. "He's not following us."

Joanne uncurled her fingers from their death grip on the seatbelt harness.

The storm slackened, with the rain soon a nuisance drizzle. I glanced around at Rachel. She slept with her arms around Bobo, her little stuffed Pound Puppy. I was amazed that she could sleep through such craziness. I stole a second look, savoring the air of peacefulness around her. My eyes landed on Bobo. He struck me as a bit scary. With one missing eye, the remaining one seemed to stare blankly ahead, boring into me, chilling me with unreasonable dread. It's just the storm and those crazy men in the red convertible.

We drove in silence, exhausted from the rain or rednecks or both. I tried to recapture some optimism about my wonderful life, but my earlier mood had been destroyed. The suddenness of our trip, the storm, the inoperable cell phone, and the red convertible all combined forces against us.

It was weird in a heavy sort of way. I'm not suspicious by nature, but I felt weighted by our experience. I couldn't admit it, but I knew Joanne sensed it, too. "I want to go home," she said, gripping my hand.

"We'll be fine," I said, unconvinced. "The storm's over." I pointed up the road. "Look, here we are. Wake up Rachel." © 2009 by Harry Kraus

Reading Group Guide


Discussion Questions

1. So is Salty Like Blood is a metaphor? Or a simile? (Hint: it's both! How?)

2. How is it ironic that David Conners ends up working in a prison?

3. How is David already in a prison?

4. What does the turtle (trapped in the crab pot) represent? How about the crabs scraping the inside of the boiling pot?

5. Explain the tension David feels between being a doctor and doing what he is capable of doing for his father, and acting only as his son, out of love for his father.

6. Does love mandate the use of every possible treatment to combat illness?

7. Not only is David bound by his bitterness against the man he presumes is responsible for his daughter's disappearance, he is bound by events in his own childhood. How is his childhood horror mirrored in his adult experience?

8. What will be the keys to David's freedom? Is the issue, can he forgive Riley, or can he forgive himself?

9. What is hampering David's ability to love and support his wife? Is it related to his inability to love himself?

10. In the final scenes with David and Riley, David has choices to make. How does his choice reflect the advice his wife gave him regarding the treatment of David's father?

11. How is forgiveness bloody? Salty?

Q&A with the Author

How did you come up with the concept for this story?

I was initially intrigued with the idea of whether a parent could forgive a man for abducting/killing his or her child. I envisioned a scene where the parent and the perpetrator of this horrible crime could meet face to face. What would they say to each other? Would it be possible for a parent to forgive?

Forgiveness issuch a challenging issue. Do you think it's possible for a parent to forgive the impossible?

Not only possible, but necessary. Remember, until we forgive, we are bound in a prison of our own bitterness. Will it be easy? Never!

Can you share a few things that might make forgiveness easier?

It is never easy, but it is easier if we remember a few things. 1. The ground is level at the foot of the cross. In other words, we've all sinned. We come as sinners to forgive those who have sinned against us. 2. We need to ask God to let us see the ones who have hurt us through his eyes, the eyes of a loving God who gave his son to die in their place. 3. The person who hurt us is not our enemy. Often they are the victim of our true enemy.

How is your life in Africa reflected in this book?

In many ways, Africa has started seeping into my writing. My life as a surgeon has been a continuous source of drama, bringing me into contact with all kinds of human conflict...great stuff for fiction! A village hospital in Africa can be a difficult place to be, a place of human suffering and blood, a place of pain and sweat...exactly the type of thing we delight in reading about (to experience vicariously), but would love to avoid in our personal experience. The Somali character in this book was inspired by my work with the beautiful Somali people who are refugees living in Kenya where I worked.

How did you come up with this title?

I was looking for a title with layered meaning. I wanted to use a metaphor, and use words that aren't immediately linked in people's minds. This title came to me while I was walking up the rocky dirt road leading from my house in Kijabe, Kenya to the hospital. Often writing ideas come to me like that. I'm not sitting at the keyboard trying to think it out; I'm away, doing something else, and my right brain comes up with it. It's as if I've taken the issue off the front burner to let it simmer on the back burner and suddenly, without trying, the answer comes bubbling up! Salty not only refers to the fact that forgiveness sometimes demands sweat, the salt image comes up over and over because of the salt water setting.

Why did you choose this issue (the issue of child abduction)?

Because it is such an emotionally strong issue. It is charged, like dynamite. The explosion is so great in the life of my protagonist, Dr. Conners, that everything unravels. I wanted to use a strong issue to show that forgiveness isn't just necessary for the one being forgiven; it is absolutely critical to rescue the life of the one who needs to grant forgiveness.

Do you always write with a moral premise in mind?

Not always in mind, but the moral premise is always there, in every story, or the novel will be groundless, always floating about looking for sure footing. The moral premise gives the novel direction. Without it, the reader may be entertained, but little else. The stories that stick with you long after the book is closed, always have a controlling theme. For Salty Like Blood, I'd state it like this: Unforgiveness leads to a loss of control and self-destruction; Forgiveness leads to emotional healing and wholeness.

About the Author

I don't just write about medicine and surgery. I am a practicing surgeon and draw the medical landscape with true colors from my experiences.

I grew up in Eastern Virginia on a finger-river of the Chesapeake Bay, so when I write a salty tale, I draw from my days fishing and crabbing in the salt water of Virginia.

I spent four years serving as a surgeon in Kenya, where I worked with the Somali people. This inspired me to include a Somali character in this novel.

This novel was entirely crafted while I worked in Africa in a village hospital. The finale was written while I was on a medical outreach in northern Somalia. Working in Africa wasn't a "have-to." It was a "get-to." The experiences my family had there have enriched our lives beyond what we could have ever given.

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Salty Like Blood 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 31 reviews.
lwatson1120 on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Before reading this book, I wanted to see if LibraryThing thought I would like this book. So I clicked on the ¿Will you like it?¿ application, and it said ¿LibraryThing thinks you will not like Salty Like Blood: A Novel¿. Therefore, I read it with an open-mind. In addition, it was something I could read outside of my normal reading habits because this was my first Christian-based book. I was completely captivated after reading the first chapter. The characters are well written, and keep my attention throughout the entire book. The difficult part of the book is the thought of a missing child. I would recommend this book to others, even if you are not ¿Christian¿. The author explains forgiveness in a way that all people can comprehend. I am at a time, in my adult life, where this book has influenced me in many ways. The ending does end abruptly and leaves a loose end, but I believe that is exactly what the author wanted to do. He wanted to let the readers know, that in the end all there will be is forgiveness. This is my first Early Reviewer¿s book that I have actually thoroughly enjoyed!
zweven on LibraryThing 10 months ago
It took me half way through to really get into this book. The second half is when the plot started moving, and the need to know what happened kicked in. Before that it dragged on without much background to go on. As the holes started to be filled in (about why the people acted and reacted the way they did), I could care. The constant switching of scenes made me think this was written as a movie script also. That was overdone. But the story saves it in the end, but the very last Epilogue irked me. Why partisan politics had to get dragged into it at the very end confuses me.
sdtay on LibraryThing 10 months ago
I loved the book. Just like so many others I had a hard time starting the book, but am so glad I did. I have never read any of Harry Kraus' books, but this was a true gem.I had a hard time putting the book down.....would their marriage survive, would they find their daughter, would the doctor survive all these emotional tolls?Great book - definate thumbs up!
FutureBestSeller on LibraryThing 10 months ago
I wasn't sure I would be able to read this book all the way through (my daughter is the same age) but I was intrigued enough to want to try. I was glad I did!Not only was it gripping, emotional and hopeful...it has a twist that I didn't see coming! Dr. Conner's journey could be anybody's journey. The book was well written and the plot was well organized. Don't let the 'Christian Fiction' label turn you off!I passed this book on to family and friends...of all levels of faith...and all have enjoyed! I look forward to other books by Harry Kraus...I hope maybe he is working on books that include the in-laws?!?
fiberfool on LibraryThing 10 months ago
The pacing was very slow to begin with and it took me quite a while to get pulled in. Once I was invested in the story the reading was very interesting. I found myself feeling much of the same questions as David did and I was kept guessing the whole way.I did find some of the discussions on faith to be rather heavy handed so I would not recommend it to someone who might be offended by rather overt Christian tones.
libraryfrog on LibraryThing 10 months ago
This was my first Early Reviewer's book and I have taken my sweet time putting this review up. Best laid plans... Now, to the review!I actually enjoyed this book. I was a little put off when I read that the author, Harry Kraus, described himself as a "Christian writer" and was worried that it would play too big a role in his writing for my taste. However, this was just not the case. Christianity does play a minor role in the novel, but not in the way one expects. In fact, the main character, David Conners - an M.D. who's daughter goes missing - spends more time questioning his faith and the existence of a god who would allow this tragedy to befall his family then he does finding solace in that god's message. Overall, this is a great detective story. Of course, our "detective" is also the catalyst for much of the conflict in the story - taking his daughter's kidnapping into his own hands, and eventually becoming judge and jury for the other players in the story.An engaging read, and good for those who enjoy medical mysteries, family stories, and plenty of self-reflection and examination by the characters.
hsullivan on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Kraus brought us into the world of a family in torment over a lost daughter, and did it in a way that every one of us can relate to, even if we've never been in a situation like his. I found this story to be a page turner, I couldn't put it down until I finished reading. This is one of few books that I would read a second time and thoroughly enjoy it again!
hippolytus on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Admittedly, this book did not call me and I was somewhat prejudiced by the knowledge that it was written by a Christian author, but don't let this or the banal cover put you off from reading it. The story it utterly original and compelling, with well-drawn characters. The loss of a child is trope which never becomes cliche because of the sheer horror of it. Kraus crafts an excellent story around this topic, one which I recommend.
smartell on LibraryThing 10 months ago
After their seven-year-old daughter disappears, David and Joanne try to come to grips with their loss. As time goes by, the police abandon the search and decide that the child has probably drowned in the nearby ocean and the current has in all likelihood carried her away. Refusing to believe that his daughter has drowned, David becomes obsessed with finding her kidnapper and exacting revenge. Joanne, on the other hand, accepts that she has drowned and wants to lay her to rest and begin the process of healing. Filled with many plot twists and turns and a somewhat unexpected ending, this title was hard to put down. Although categorized as Christian Fiction, this title is not as preachy as some others of this genre. I didn't want to put it down.
maryintexas39 on LibraryThing 10 months ago
I really liked this book and I didn't. I know that doesn't make since, I'll try to explain. It has so many different things going on-a mystery (Rachel is kidnapped), a marriage falling apart (David and Jo), family difference (The senator and his wife), stalking (Blake) and revenge (Riley Johnson). Oh and death of parents, siblings....I liked the separate stories, but taken as a whole it didn't mesh for me.
alaja957 on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Dr. Conner's daughter is missing and he is willing to do anything to find her. He is convinced she was kidnapped even when others, including his wife, disagree with him. I had a hard time getting into the story and I did not identify with the characters, although I always read other reviews and some have really loved it so YMMV.
theresa2011 on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Salty Like Blood tells the story of a Doctor who, upon the disappearance of his daughter, becomes obsessed with finding her kidnapper and exacting revenge.Though the concept was interesting, I found the characters and plot to be largely unrealistic and very forced. Especially in the case of Blake, I found the character development sorely lacking. Too much of the characters' thoughts and motivations are simply spelled out and expected to be taken at face value. The ending in particular feels hastily done and fails to resonate with the reader. With this book's storyline, I expected to be moved to tears. That just didn't happen here.
reader247 on LibraryThing 10 months ago
David Conners, M.D. has a pretty good life until his daughter disappears. He will not give up hope while he searches for her and replays all the losses in his life already. Other people in his life want to give up and move on but he sets out on this mission even though it costs him what little family he has left. For me there was two many unbelievable things going on in one novel. I have to give it 3 stars only.
JadedJenn on LibraryThing 10 months ago
I have to admit that I was a little skeptical of this book at first. I don't normally read Christian fiction. I was pleasantly surprised though. It had an interesting plot and wasn't "preachy" liked I feared it might be. It is a fast paced story and that kind of hurts it in the beginning. I thought things got a bit glossed over. But the second half is much better. The biggest thing I disliked about this book was the storyline with the next door neighbor, Amina. You find out hints about her, but her development doesn't really go beyond that. It seemed like she is just there to be a temptation for David. A pretty Muslim woman tempting a good Christian man. That didn't sit right with me and is the main reason I gave the book an overall rating of 3 stars.This book could have been better but it was worth reading.
afyfe on LibraryThing 10 months ago
I was a little confused by this book. I really enjoyed the whole book as I was reading it and I wanted to know what happened at the end, but when I got there I was confused and disappointed. With the way the book ended (trying not to give away spoilers) it should've resolved itself better or ended another way. It was just very frustrating to me not to know what happened and to have everything just be ok. Also there were way too many story lines going on, you really didn't need the whole thing with the neighbors and his father's boat because that never went anywhere, just left you hanging waiting to see if that would resolve itself too. I guess from the standpoint who likes a book with twists and interwoven plots I usually expect them all to come together somehow in the end, this did not happen which was weird. I wasn't happy that I ended up with another christian literature book from ER without knowing it was chistian lit, but this one wasn't as bad, although you could just take out all his talking to god and it wouldn't have to be christian lit anymore. I wouldn't recommend this book because it left me unsatisfied, but it was very close to being a good book.
caroline123 on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Salty Like Blood was an Early Review book, but having said that, I already liked the author, Harry Kraus, and own several of his books.David Connors and his wife Joanne and small daughter Rachel take a trip to coastal Virginia to visit his Dad who is very ill. While there, Rachel vanishes without a trace seemingly. Horrified, panic-stricken, they search for her without success. Local authorities are not helpful, thinking the child was drowned in the ocean and swept away.David begins a search, not believing his daughter could be dead. His wife Joanne, fragile emotionally, decides her daughter has drowned in order to cope. This story is heartbreaking and suspenseful. His wife becomes entangled in a relationship with an old boyfriend.David, a physician, loses his job at a private practice and ends up a prison doctor, working on a lead to an inmate whom he suspects may know something about his daughter.Ultimately a story about a journey to forgiveness, and exploring different aspects of it. This book kept me in suspense and was a great read. Recommended.
vindemia on LibraryThing 10 months ago
When Dr. David Conners daughter goes missing, his life is thrown into a downward spiral. He struggles to deal with his loss as well as past issues that are coming back to haunt him. This book has many elements of a great story; love, lust, loss, family secrets, past betrayals, and more. Individually, any one of these generally makes for a great story. However, in this case I found them to not mesh well with each other and the end result being a hodgepodge of events that are totally far-fetched and unbelievable. I think there were too many things going on for me to feel like I could relate to the characters. In theory, this story should have moved me emotionally, instead I was waiting for the next ridiculous thing to happen.
jedziedz on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Summary: Dr. David Connors has a wonderful life with a beautiful wife and loving young daughter, Rachel. When Rachel disappears and the local authorities consider her to have drowned, David refuses to believe it. Instead, he holds onto the hope that she is alive and begins to search for his daughter.Review: Salty Like Blood is a book primarily about forgiveness. Can we forgive others that have done terrible things to us and our loved ones, so that we can begin to forgive ourselves? The prose flows nicely and the main character of Dr. Connors is interesting and fully developed. The plot moves along, but I had trouble engaging in some of the secondary characters. David's wife, Joanne, was difficult to sympathize with and I kept questioning why they were married. There are Christian aspects throughout the book but they are not preachy and make sense in the scope of the novel. Overall, a quick read with some interesting thoughts on forgiveness in extreme situations.
Jenners26 on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Story OverviewDr. David Conners has a good life -- a successful medical practice, a stable marriage (although it has had its ups and downs in the past) and a young daughter. But when he travels to the coastal town of Tippins (off the Chesapeake in Virginia) to assist his ailing father, his life comes to a halt when his 7-year-old daughter Rachel disappears. His wife and the local police believe Rachel was swept away by the Chesapeake tide, but David is unwilling to believe that. He becomes obsessed with finding out Rachel's fate. This obsession threatens to cost him his marriage and his profession. It also forces him to face his past and his lifelong guilt over the death of his sister.As his marriage to his wife Joanne disintegrates, David moves to Tippins to conduct his own investigation into Rachel's disappearance. This leads him to work at a correctional facility -- where he comes face to face with the man who he believes has abducted his daughter. Can David forgive the abductor? Can he forgive himself? Can he repair his marriage?My ThoughtsI got this book as part of LibraryThing's Early Reviewer program, and I am sad to say that this book was not one of favorites. Perhaps part of the problem was that I had read a similarly themed book earlier this year (Efrem Sigel's The Disappearance) and, unfortunately, this book suffered by comparison. One of my biggest problems was that I just did not like or believe in David or Joanne's reactions when Rachel disappears. David immediately starts conducting his own half-cocked investigation driven by revenge, and Joanne doesn't want to admit that perhaps Rachel might be alive. To me, they were both unsympathetic and I just didn't get enough of a feeling of grief from them over the loss of their daughter. In a way, it felt like Rachel's disappearance was more of a plot twist to keep the story moving than the focus of the book.The fact that this is a Christian fiction book might have something to do with this as the primary theme of the book is forgiveness. Can David forgive the man who he thinks killed his daughter? Can David forgive himself for the role he played in his sister's death years ago? Can Joanne and David forgive each other and find love again? Although there is nothing wrong with this theme and I understand why it might be the focus of the book, I just think the story itself is sloppily executed. To me, many of the story threads seem designed to accomplish certain goals or agendas of the author rather than contribute to the overall story.The book is stuffed full of subplots -- the reappearance of Joanne's former fiance, Rachel's true parentage, the racial targeting of David's Muslim neighbors in Tippins, David's lust for his neighbor, the ill will between the Conners and Joanne's family (a senator and his scheming, politically driven wife). In addition, the book flashes back to the past -- to David's childhood, his mother's battle with breast cancer, his courtship with Joanne, and Rachel's birth. In many of these plots, I felt very unsympathetic to David. He comes off as a bit of an ass, to tell you the truth. Plus many of the subplots just felt plain unbelievable to me -- such as when David takes a job at the correctional facility where the inmate he believes killed his daughter is being held. It just seemed to me this would not be allowed to happen in this day and age. Yet he waltzes right in there and immediately starts getting involved with the inmate.On the plus side, the books moves along at a good clip. There is always something going on and some new "fly in the ointment." It certainly wasn't boring, but it did feel a bit overstuffed for my tastes. It also makes you think about the topic of forgiveness. Could you forgive someone who killed your child? Could you forgive yourself for playing a role in a loved one's death? These questions are the central focus of the book, and you can't help but think about them.My Final RecommendationI wasn't a big fan of this book -- m
NovelBookworm on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Dr. David Connors is on the path of fulfilling his lifetime dreams. He is a successful doctor, within days of being made a partner in the practice he works for, his patients love him, his marriage seems good, and his daughter is the light of his life. When David¿s daughter, Rachel, disappears, he discovers he is capable of things he never thought possible. His intense need to find his daughter, no matter what, is a threat to his career, his marriage, his integrity and ethics, and to his soul. If Rachel is dead, can any parent find the way to forgive someone for this horrendous crime? If Rachel is still alive, can her determined father discover he in time to save her? How far would we go to get our child back? In Salty Like Blood by Harry Kraus, M.D. that question is left for each of us to answer for ourselves. Harry Kraus is an author unfamiliar to me. When I began reading Salty Like Blood, I was reminded of another ¿missing child¿ story I read about a year ago, Stuart O¿Nan¿s Songs for the Missing. Kraus, like O¿Nan, spends time building a sense of ¿what would you do?¿ We see everyone¿s reaction to the loss of Rachel. Her mother, who suffered greatly from postpartum depression after Rachel¿s birth is poised to return to the depths of despair. Her father, typical of all fathers, I believe, is a ¿fixer¿ and a ¿doer¿ and he is certain that he can succeed where the police have failed. This book succeeds because David is just so much like we imagine ourselves in the same situation. It¿s easy to see how the loss of our child could turn us into obsessed searchers, and we empathize with his choices and his losses. Throughout the book, David is forced to face the worst parts of him, he searches for compassion he knows he should have, questions the faith of those around him, and sees exactly what he is capable of. But he never gives up hope. And even though the subject matter seems so hopeless, Kraus manages to infuse it with hope that we readers can share as well.
brendaholmes on LibraryThing 10 months ago
This is a book of love and loss, of devastation, explorations, retribution, faith and new beginings. When Dr. David Connors daughter suddenly disappears, his life is turned upside down. Within the book you read of how David and all the members of his family deal with the disappearance and with each other. A book that holds suprises all the way to the very end. I found this book to be totally engrossing from the first page.
snaprebelx on LibraryThing 10 months ago
At first I had trouble with the constant changing of narration, and it was pretty slow in the beggining. Took me a while to get into it. Once I did however the story was very gripping. You feel this mans pain as he refuses to belive that his daughter could be dead. To him its just not an option.I feel there was a little too much going on, and I wasnt too satisfied with the ending, but the book was a pretty good read none the less.
seasaw432 on LibraryThing 10 months ago
This books plot was very unique! It kept you guessing throughout each chapter, "Is Rachel alive?" "Who did it". It also kept you thinking whether the Doc and his wife have what it takes to stay together. It was a little slow in the beginning but picked up and kept you going until the end. This is not the typical book I read but I really enjoyed it!
landa102 on LibraryThing 10 months ago
this one was just okay for me. I loved the cover and the premise of the story.
ZippySuzy on LibraryThing 10 months ago
This was an extremely enjoyable book. There were so many layers to the story as it kept unfolding in front of me. David is an extremely likable character and we are drawn into his life and feel every moment of his pain and anguish over the loss of his daughter. He is a man with a mission, attempting to save his daughter, his marriage, and himself.