“River of Salt” is a departure by multi-talented Dave Warner, a slow-burning, highly localised mystery/thriller set in a tiny coastal Australian town. The hero is Blake Saunders who operates the Surf Shack and plays guitar in its band, The Twang. Unknown to all is his background as former Philadelphia mob hitman, and when a wacky pal is charged with a brutal murder, Blake’s desperate investigations bring past and present together. Warner is an evocative, stylish writer who somehow reminds me of Garry Disher, a favorite of mine, and the characters (the town Coral Shoals is one) sing. “River of Salt” is not high octane but is a satisfying two-evening read.