cover image The Salt Line

The Salt Line

Holly Goddard Jones. Putnam, $26 (400p) ISBN 978-0-7352-1431-6

Set in the near future, this second novel from Jones (The Next Time You See Me) introduces readers to a U.S. separated into territories behind giant vibrating walls (called “the salt line”) designed to keep out tiny ticks that carry the fatal Shreve’s disease. While life behind the salt line feels very similar to our social media–driven contemporary world, extreme tourism expeditions into the wild offer the rich and famous an opportunity to remember a natural setting free from physical borders. The narrative focuses on one such expedition, introducing a full cast of complex characters with hidden motivations—a rock star and his girlfriend, a tech mogul, and an unassuming housewife. As the group leaves behind the comfort of life behind the salt line and acclimates to the dangers normally kept at bay, allegiances are tested and new friendships are forged. Fans of Jones will appreciate her return to an ensemble-driven narrative, and new fans will find social commentary and intense thrills rolled into one seamless story. Outwardly an adventure story, this suspenseful novel uses a thrilling premise to examine the fallout of abandoning universal freedoms in order to ensure collective safety. (Sept.)