A veteran Atlanta cop’s debut novel presents a newly minted homicide detective who's struggling to keep her sights trained on the cold case she’s been assigned while Atlanta seethes around her.
Last year, when Sarah "Salt" Alt was a beat cop, she was shot by a man she was arresting: Curtis Dwayne Stone, a fearsome gangster who worked out of The Homes, the housing project where Salt grew up. Now that she’s out of danger and working with Atlanta Homicide, their relationship’s about to change dramatically. Stone, looking to slice some years off his sentence, has offered evidence that blues singer and guitarist Michael Anderson didn’t kill himself with an overdose years ago; he was given “a hot pop,” a dose of pure heroin, by someone he trusted. Sgt. Charlie Huff puts Salt on the old case with no partner or backup, and it’s clear that she’s got her work cut out for her. Stone’s not exactly forthcoming with new details when she visits him in prison, and Mike’s parents, still mourning their son, recoil in horror from her questions. All Salt can do is follow the trail of dubious tips that leads her to Mike’s girlfriend, Melissa Primrose, his friend and band mate Dan Pyne, and homeless singer Pretty Pearl White. Her slow progress is further impeded by hints that seem to link Mike’s death to the Rev. Midas Prince’s Big Calling Church and the execution-style shootings of highflying lawyer Arthur Solquist’s wife and daughters—a white-hot case Salt’s live-in lover, Detective Bernard Wills, is working and an emphatic no-fly zone for her.
Less whodunit than odyssey, as Salt—clearly bent, as Wills observes, on fixing the world one sociopath at a time—navigates anti-woman prejudice in her unit, anti-cop sentiment in her hometown, and the steaming corruption that reaches from Atlanta’s lower depths to its very top.