Old Bones

Sarah "Salt" Alt, the Atlanta homicide detective Trudy Nan Boyce introduced in her debut, Out of the Blues, is back on duty conditionally. Because of two incidents involving her use of lethal force, Salt is ordered to undergo a psychological evaluation. Meanwhile, Atlanta is coming apart at the seams. A Take Back the Night vigil ends in violence when 11 Spelman College students are shot, leaving one dead. As the Atlanta police try to find the shooter, the city erupts in angry frustration and all law enforcement hands are called to riot duty. In addition, Salt catches a homicide case involving a decomposed body. That investigation takes her back to her old patrol stomping grounds.

Boyce leads her readers through these events as Salt experiences them, but she also dissects them in Salt's required sessions with Dr. Ian Marshall. Additionally, the appointments with Marshall draw Salt--and Boyce's audience--into her troubled past.

Old Bones is an engaging police procedural with authentic characters, voice and action; it is also a rich literary work delving into racism and law enforcement relationships with the public. Boyce's history in the Atlanta Police Department provides an astute perspective that makes this novel so much more than a bad-guys-versus-good-guys showdown. She reaches deep into the heart of her subject and acknowledges, "The incidents had their roots in slavery, Jim Crow, and the legacies of poverty and systemic racism." Dark, haunting and disturbingly reflective of the world Boyce lives in, Old Bones is astounding. --Jen Forbus, freelancer

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