Though she’s only notched two earlier appearances, Detective Sarah "Salt" Alt, of the Atlanta PD, gets a prequel that will be her ticket from the ranks of uniformed patrol to the homicide squad.
Fresh from a gunshot wound that sent her from a routine traffic stop to the hospital, Salt, whose own cop father killed himself on her 10th birthday, is in no mood for trouble. Sadly, The Homes, the housing project that she and “Pepper” Greer patrol, is where trouble lives. Addict/prostitute Shannell McCloud wants Salt to find Darrell Mobley Sr., the father of her son, Lil D, because he’s wandering the streets with a knife wound somebody should look at. But the search for Big D is abruptly eclipsed when Shannell herself is shot to death. In a place like The Homes, it makes no more sense to talk about red herrings than about innocent suspects. Everybody’s guilty of something; the only question is which of them happened to shoot Shannell. Salt’s attention fixes on fellow gangsta Curtis Stone, but it hardly matters, because it’s not Salt’s case; she’s just a beat cop who can’t turn away from Lil D; she still feels guilty for having failed to rescue him from Shannell and The Homes 10 years ago. Her all-but-unofficial investigation brings Salt up against a quartet of streetwalkers—Glenda, Rocksand, Black Sally, and JoJo—the members of Lil D’s gang—Man-Man, Johnny C, Bootie Green, Half-Dead, Q-Ball—and Sister Connelly, the neighbor who watches The Homes with a patient attentiveness rivaling Salt’s own. Although the final revelation links the story neatly to Old Bones (2017), it’s neither as plausible nor as logical as the rest of the case.
Even so, Boyce presents compelling evidence in support of the heroine’s conclusion that “there seemed no way to do right without collateral damage.”