OLD BONES by Trudy Nan Boyce


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A second staccato tour of Atlanta’s darkest corners for rookie Detective Sarah "Salt" Alt.

“Downtown looks like Beirut,” Salt tells James Simmons, aka Man, her symbiotic informant at the Toy Dolls strip club, and easy to see why. A protest at Spelman College has turned violent; sporadic riots are breaking out across the city; and the police have their backs against the wall. The last thing Salt needs is a case of old bones—the corpse of Mary Marie McCloud, a runaway who’d already gone through a lifetime’s worth of pain and degradation, including a conviction for murder, before she was gunned down at 14. The death of Mary, no stranger to Salt, is worse than a distraction, an affront, and a tragedy; it’s an irresistible invitation for her to stick her neck out. In between appointments with Dr. Ian Marshall, who’s seeing her to help determine if she’s really fit to return to duty after her first tour (Out of the Blues, 2016), Salt delves into the connections among Mary, habitual thief JoJo Jones, and Glory Glover, whose gig at Toy Dolls has been cut short by murder. Inevitably, she crosses paths once, which is once too often, with politically connected rap producer “Flash Daddy” Jones, who makes it his business to pay her back. He gets his chance when the videotape of a looting shows Salt handing a box containing a pair of shoes to Lil D, nee Darrell Mobley, Mary’s brother, and leaves her vulnerable to criminal charges herself before she finally confronts Mary’s killer.

Dispensing with anything like conventional exposition, Boyce lunges at the caldron of Atlanta racial/sexual/institutional politics as if she can’t wait to tear the lid off. Readers prepared for the deep dive will find themselves enlightened, sobered, and maybe even cautiously uplifted by the heroine’s reckless courage.

Pub Date: Feb. 21st, 2017
ISBN: 978-0-399-16727-0
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 2016


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