The Salt Line (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

Yes, this book is another dystopic look at the future, but it is so much more than that. Humanity has been pushed behind salt lines to keep away from a deadly tick infestation. As in every society, there are the haves and the have-nots, so you have people who live behind the salt lines in relative safety, while the unprotected live in fear of being bitten by a tick. Holly Goddard Jones does a superb job of describing the consequences of such a bite happening in many, many ways. Plus the stamping of the ticks out of the skin was both disgusting and great. There are great, flawed, and well-meaning characters that are stuck in horrible circumstances. A group of Zoners (that is what the people living behind the salt line are referred as) travel outside to see the natural world. Precautions are taken, rules are set, and the group pays a crazy price to go on this mini trip. Of course, that is when everything goes wrong. At the end, I wanted to continue the journey, perhaps one day I will have the opportunity.


— Jason Kennedy


"Great, near-future sci-fi...A propulsive, character-driven thriller...I really love this book."--Kelly Link, author of Get in Trouble and Magic for Beginners

In the spirit of Station Eleven and California, award-winning novelist Holly Goddard Jones offers a literary spin on the dystopian genre with this gripping story of survival and humanity about a group of adrenaline junkies who jump "the Salt Line."

How far will they go for their freedom--once they decide what freedom really means?

In an unspecified future, the United States' borders have receded behind a salt line--a ring of scorched earth that protects its citizens from deadly disease-carrying ticks. Those within the zone live safe, if limited, lives in a society controlled by a common fear. Few have any reason to venture out of zone, except for the adrenaline junkies who pay a fortune to tour what's left of nature. Those among the latest expedition include a popstar and his girlfriend, Edie; the tech giant Wes; and Marta; a seemingly simple housewife.

Once out of zone, the group find themselves at the mercy of deadly ticks--and at the center of a murderous plot. They become captives in Ruby City, a community made up of outer-zone survivors determined to protect their hardscrabble existence. As alliances and friendships shift amongst the hostages, Edie, Wes, and Marta must decide how far they are willing to go to get to the right side of the salt line.

About the Author

Holly Goddard Jones is the author of The Next Time You See Me and Girl Trouble (stories). Her work has appeared in The Best American Mystery Stories, New Stories from the South, Tin House magazine, and elsewhere. She was a recipient of The Fellowship of Southern Writers' Hillsdale Prize for Excellence in Fiction and of a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers' Award. She earned her M.F.A. from Ohio State University and her B.A. from the University of Kentucky. She teaches creative writing at UNC Greensboro and lives in Greensboro with her husband, Brandon, and their children.
Product Details
ISBN: 9780735214316
ISBN-10: 073521431X
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
Publication Date: September 5th, 2017
Pages: 400
Language: English