Wednesday, February 28, 2018

ARC Review: The Policeman's Daughter by Trudy Nan Boyce

The Policeman's Daughter
Author: Trudy Nan Boyce
Series: A Detective Sarah Alt Novel (Book 3)
Publication: G.P. Putnam's Sons (February 27, 2018)

Description: From author Trudy Nan Boyce, whose police procedural debut was hailed as "authentic" (NYTBR) and "exceptional" (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel), returns with a stunning prequel to the Detective Salt series, the story behind the case that earned Salt her promotion to homicide.

At the beginning of her career, Sarah "Salt" Alt was a beat cop in Atlanta's poorest, most violent housing project, The Homes. It is here that she meets the cast of misfits and criminals that will have a profound impact on her later cases: Man Man, the leader of the local gang on his way to better places; street dealer Lil D and his family; and Sister Connelly, old and observant, the matriarch of the neighborhood. A lone patrolwoman, Salt's closest lifeline is her friend and colleague Pepper, on his own beat nearby. And when a murder in The Homes brings detectives to the scene, Salt draws closer to Detective Wills, initiating a romance complicated by their positions on the force.

When Salt is shot and sustains a head injury during a routine traffic stop, the resulting visions begin leading her toward answers in the case that makes her career. This is the tale of a woman who solves crimes through a combination of keen observation, grunt work, and pure gut instinct; this is the making of Detective Salt.

My Thoughts: This novel introduces Sarah Alt known as Salt to her colleagues and the people she serves as a police officer in the Homes, a poor and violent housing project in Atlanta. Salt has patrolled the streets working the 4 to midnight shift for ten years. She has gotten to know the streets and the people.

This case concerns the death of a drug addicted hooker named Shannell. Salt has known her, her boyfriend Big D, her son Lil D, and her daughter Mary for years. Shannell and Big D have a contentious relationship. Shannell often goes after him with her favorite knife. When she is found shot to death, Big D is the first suspect. Lil D is sure he did it. But Salt isn't and begins an investigation which is hampered by sheer amount of crime in the Homes. Homicide, in the person of Detective Wills, has too many cases to spend much time working on Shannell's death.

Salt finds herself looking at Man Man who runs the local gang and who sells drugs to get justice for Shannel. Lil D works for him. So does Stone. Over the years, Salt has tried to help Lil D get away from the drug culture and the violence but the problems are so deep that it is easy for one kid or two to slip through the cracks.

Salt is an intriguing character who is still battling her own ghosts resulting from the suicide of her policeman father on her tenth birthday. Her mother remarried and moved away even before Salt finished college. They talk every once in a while but she doesn't feel any need to let her know when she's shot while conducting a routine traffic stop. 

Her best friend is Pepper, a black man, who became a police officer the same time she did and who has worked with her patrolling the same area. Her focus on finding Shannell's killer and dealing with the aftereffects of the gunshot that grazed her head has caused her to distance herself from Pepper and her other work colleagues until a traumatic event reminds her that they are there for her.

The story setting is gritty and grim with rampant poverty and the culture that goes with it. The day to day police work is a never ending slog with only the occasional small victory. Still there are glimpses of hope and Salt is determined to make a difference. I enjoyed this story which is the first I've read about Salt enough to buy copies of the previous two books in the series to learn what happens next for her. 

Favorite Quote:
Sister stepped closer. "You ever go to church?"

"I was raised in the church," Salt said.

"'Salt,' now that makes me think of Lot's wife who got herself turned into a pillar of salt when she looked back at evil."

"It's my job to look."
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

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