Salt of the Earth

  • by Jack Olsen
  • Narrated by Kevin Pierce
  • 12 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Joe Gere said he died on the afternoon his 12-year-old daughter Brenda disappeared. It was left to Brenda's mother Elaine to sustain her stricken family, search for her missing child, and pressure the authorities for justice. From the first minutes of the investigation, suspicion fell on Michael Kay Green, a steroid-abusing "Mr. Universe" hopeful, but there was no proof of a crime, leaving police and prosecutors stymied.
Tips and sightings poured in as lawmen and volunteers combed the Cascades forest in the biggest search in Northwest history. Years passed with no sight of the blue-eyed girl or the bright clothes she'd worn on the day she disappeared, but Elaine remained undaunted.
Salt of the Earth is the true story of how one woman fought and triumphed over life-shattering violence and how she healed her family - and herself.
Salt of the Earth is the true story of a courageous woman who survived a hellish 20th-century nightmare. Mob violence, injustice, kidnapping, murder, and suicide were the black holes in the awful astronomy of Elaine Gere's life. Somehow she had to summon the courage to endure: to honor her beloved dead and to rebuild the shattered lives of the sons who depended on her strength.
Jack Olsen has been lauded for his psychological insights into the most violent criminals in such previous masterworks as Doc, The Misbegotten Son, and Predator, but he has never overlooked their victims. By viewing the world through the eyes of Elaine Gere and her devastated family, he finds the core values that enabled them not only to survive and flourish, but, in the end, to triumph.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

You are the proverbial 'fly on the wall' ...

In one review or another, the reviewer said, to my astonishment, that the prologue had given away the whole story ... as if it were a fiction novel. Not about this book, but another true crime book. I looked at those words in bewilderment. This is True Crime, not a suspense novel.

This book is so well done that it feels like a suspense novel. It puts you right in there with the family. Some True Crime books are told through the eyes of the police, the prosecutors or the lawyers. This book puts you more right in the midst of the family. For myself, I marveled at Elaine's incredible strength of character, love, resolve. She is not a heroine in a fictional novel, but a real woman who suffered a terrible series of tragedies but never felt sorry for herself. I think I should love to photograph her one day. Her eyes must hold the spectrum of emotions only visible in those with heart, strength, love, resolve.

Kevin Pierce is a fine narrator. His voice lets you imagine the entire scene. I have many of the books he has narrated.

Yes, I do like reading paper books...very much...but without these audio books, I'd never get a chance to go out walking for 4 miles without boredom. But I think I will have to start getting the Kindle editions as well because I want to see the spelling of the names and places.

Jack Olsen has taken facts and woven a fine tapestry. He does not sensationalize this awful deed, but he does not marginalize it either. His point of view is not pounded into your head. Only a fool would not share how Brenda foiled another prior attempt (I won't clarify).

I'm old and my memory is not that good. Don't feel sorry for me because it has its advantages. Next year I can listen to the book again as if it were the first time! :)

Enjoy the mastery of a true wordsmith with this True Crime book.
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- IndyMcDuff

Compelling True Crime -portrait of a family

What about Kevin Pierce’s performance did you like?

His narration was excellent. He has a tone that sounds like the actor, Tom Hanks. At first I found the pace a bit slow, but then I settled into the story. Kevin got the right balance of conveying a serious story but without a dry historical distance. He used accents for the dialogue but these were done well and didn't detract from the subject.


Any additional comments?

This is the true story of a child disappearance and the investigation to solve the crime. It starts many years in the past with the story of Elaine (the mother) and then section two rewinds to tell the background of the father. Usually I dislike books that take ages to get to the event (in this case the disappearance of teenage Brenda), but I found this worked well in this book for two reasons. Firstly because the backstory was well told and in a personal way with dialogue rather than historical distance. Secondly it gave insight into the family so that when Brenda disappeared it was easier to empathise and understand the actions of the parents.After the story reaches the crime -the disappearance and aftermath it then goes back in time and we hear about the background of the main suspect. This provides an interesting viewpoint that many crime novels miss and it helps make the suspect a real person, rather than a caricature. I felt it didn't undermine the crime or excuse it, but put things into a wider context for the listener.I found the whole story compelling and I listened almost non-stop in my spare time, finishing in a few days. The fact I wasn't aware of the outcome helped keep this a 'page turner' for me. Finally, I must mention I received a no-cost copy in exchange for a review, but don't let this influence you. This really is a great listen that I wholeheartedly recommend. It's a portrait of life and family, poverty and tragedy-not a gruesome crime /CSI novel.

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- Suzanne

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-29-2016
  • Publisher: Jack Olsen Literary Works, LLC