ARC Book Review: Rust and Stardust by T Greenwood

Release Date: August 7, 2018
Publisher: St. Martins Press
Format: ebook
Pages: 368 pages
Genre:  True Crime Fiction
Buy: Kindle | Paperback | Audio


Camden, NJ, 1948. 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. Accosting her outside the store, Frank convinces Sally that he’s an FBI agent who can have her arrested in a minute—unless she does as he says.

This chilling 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, forever altering not only her life, but the lives of her family, friends, and those she meets along the way.

Based on the experiences of real-life kidnapping victim Sally Horner and her captor, whose story shocked the nation and inspired Vladimir Nabokov to write his controversial and iconicLolita.


This is a fictionalized true crime story.  Sally Horner was kidnapped at age 11 and not found for 2 years.  Little is known about those 2 years or the people whose lives she touched, T Greenwood has given a voice to those people and to Sally. While the narrative is fiction many of the characters are true. So many times I found myself thinking this can't be true only to find out through research that much of this tale is documented by newspaper accounts.

This is a sad tale, that really touches your heart.  Its hard these days to fathom that someone would fall for Frank's deceit but we have to remember when this took place. I found myself angry with Sally and with her mother for pretty much handing her over to this criminal but this was a naive world and the world today is very different.

This took me a while to read, not because it was difficult but I think because it was so disturbing and to find out this is true was all the more heartbreaking. Very well researched T Greenwood gives voice to a young girl's tragic life.

Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher through in exchange for an honest review.

Discover other books or products I like: