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  • Writer's pictureJ J Hanna

Book Review: Rust & Stardust by T. Greenwood

Updated: Dec 31, 2023

๐Ÿ–‹๏ธ๐Ÿ–‹๏ธ๐Ÿ–‹๏ธ๐Ÿ–‹๏ธ๐Ÿ–‹๏ธ This book is extremely well-written, keeping you on your toes all the way to the end. The characters are entrancing and the way Greenwood brings them to life is like magic.

๐Ÿ”ช๐Ÿ”ช This is a kidnapping, and there are some violent sequences. However, it's mostly limited to threats and fear of violence rather than vivid violence. Domestic violence is the main contributor.

๐Ÿ’‹๐Ÿ’‹๐Ÿ’‹๐Ÿ’‹ A trigger warning: this book includes multiple accounts of r@pe and abuse, though none are written explicitly.

โญโญโญ While well-written, this book is a heavy read. I highly recommend it as a literary read. However if you're looking for something light and entertaining, this book is NOT the book you should pick up.


Set in 1948, Rust & Stardust follow the story of eleven-year-old Sally and her family during and following a tragic kidnapping.

Sally Horner is a lonely girl looking for friends. When a group of girls offers to let her into their club if she completes an initiation, she is determined to win their favor. As she attempts to steal a notebook from the local store to please them, a man catches her arm, claiming to be an FBI agent. Caught in her guilt for stealing, and desperate to avoid the consequences the FBI agent told her were coming her way, she agrees to meet him after school the next day and also to tell no one about her crime and his involvement. Unwilling to put her mother through the pain of knowing she'd raise a thief, Sally lies, and lies again, until the man, going by Mr. Warner, has taken her for a vacation at the beach and kept her away from home for over a month.

With tensions rising and Sally getting more and more desperate to go home, Mr. Warner gets nervous and takes her across state lines to Baltimore. Then to Texas. Then to California. The closer the police get, the less they stay in one place, always on the move, always on the run, until finally, two years later, the police catch up.

But the story doesn't end with her rescue. It continues on through the effects of the kidnapping and ending with the eventual, sudden death of Sally Horner in a car accident.



The story doesn't end when you want it to end, and a quote from White Collar seems fitting: "If you want a happy ending, it depends on where you stop the story." Because this is inspired by a true story, it follows what really happened, following Sally Horner through her short and tragic life.

This is not a pretty story. This is not a happy story. It's an important story, but it's heavy.


Book information:

Title: Rust & Stardust

Author: T. Greenwood

Genre: True Crime Novel, fiction inspired by a real story

Published: August 7th, 2018 by St. Martin's Press


A note on how I review fiction books:

I have a few genre specific reviews (out of 5):

Knives (๐Ÿ”ช) for how much violence/gore/death there is in a book.

Pens (๐Ÿ–‹๏ธ) for how well I feel the book was written, this includes grammar and plot.

Kisses (๐Ÿ’‹) for how much romance or how many/how spicy romantic encounters are in the book and how well it's written.

Stars (โญ) for how likely I am to recommend the book to someone.

I will then provide a summary of the book and a few final thoughts.



J. J. Hanna is a writer and reader of suspense, crime, thriller, and mystery novels. If you'd like her to review your novel, reach her on the contact page. She may review your book even if it doesn't fall into those genres.

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