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Out of the Blues by Trudy Nan Boyce

Out of the Blues

by Trudy Nan Boyce

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Sarah Alt (aka Salt) has just been promoted to Detective-Atlanta Homicide Squad. As the only female on the day shift, and known to typically work alone, almost as a hazing ceremony she is given the 10 year old cold case of blues singer Mike Armstrong’s death. Originally ruled an accidental drug overdose, there is new evidence, in the form of convicted felon Dwayne Stone’s testimony, that Armstrong was intentionally given a ‘hot dose’ of heroin. However, it is Stone who shot Salt a year ago, from which she still carries the physical and emotional scars. Stone will be trading his information for a reduced sentence and Salt will be working towards that goal when corroborating his testimony…another emotional scar.OutOfTheBlues

Salt carries other emotional scars as well, especially that of finding her policeman father’s body after his shotgun suicide when she was nine years old.

When Salt’s cold case intersects with a recent high profile murder, everyone gets involved, from detectives to narcotics to SWAT and the action builds up.

Out of the Blues by Trudy Nan Boyce attracted my attention because of its blues orientation and apparently Atlanta was a hot spot of early blues activity. In an era when hip hop and rap are at the top of the charts, the popularity of the blues seems to be declining and the plight of the old bluesmen is going virtually unnoticed, Boyce brings it to the forefront. Readers can visualize the dusty, dirty clubs that the book’s rag tag blues band is forced to play in. One of the characters is a down on her luck, homeless former blues singer.

Boyce’s (a former police officer) debut novel is a great start for a series, which I hope this is. She’s has a great set of characters in Salt, her detective boyfriend Wills and their dogs, the transgender desk sergeant, Rosie, Thing One and Thing Two, etc. There is an adequate split between police procedural and action. All the characters are believable. The book has an evangelical bent to it, which is not one of my favorite subjects, but it wasn’t an overpowering slant to the book.

While Boyce’s prose are a little hard to follow/read at times, Out of the Blues is still quite readable, maybe a little slower read, but readable. Her descriptions, especially blues related sounds or feelings, are a little over the top, kind of like she went to writing school and this is what they taught her…not naturally flowing is probably a better way to describe it.

While I don’t normally give star ratings, I’d probably give Out of the Blues three and a half stars. Boyce has the characters and plot down, now she just has to make the words flow more smoothly. I’d definitely read her next book and am actually looking forward to it. ( )
  EdGoldberg | Mar 30, 2016 |
Assigned to the cold case murder of Michael Richard Anderson, newly-promoted Atlanta homicide detective Sarah Alt, known in the department at “Salt,” learns that the blues musician’s drug overdose may not have been accidental, after all. A convicted felon Salt helped put behind bars is now claiming Anderson’s death was murder and he hopes to trade his information for a shortened sentence. Salt’s investigation of the cold case takes her back to her old beat in a search for the truth.

In this gritty tale, the author provides a strong sense of place in her vivid descriptions of Atlanta, the result of which is that oftentimes Atlanta itself seems to be the main character. The nuanced, in-depth look at the city is a highlight of the narrative and the day-to-day grind of being a member of the police force is another well-depicted highlight of the story.

The infusion of the blues into the telling of the tale provides another story layer for readers; unfortunately, there are times when the songs impede the flow of the narrative.

Driven by memories of her father, who served on the force and, suffering from severe depression, committed suicide on her tenth birthday, Salt is an interesting, faceted character; however, the improbability of Salt continually being placed in so many implausible situations [and always emerging victorious] may strain readers’ credibility.

Despite the intriguing plot, readers are likely to be frustrated with the often-arising “thrown into the middle of a series” feeling that creates confusion; references to past events would seem to assume the reader is already familiar with these events. ( )
  jfe16 | Mar 15, 2016 |
I received this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways.

While the book was well written I did not find the story very interesting. This book would be more for those who have an interest in Blues music and like dogs as a supporting character in a book. I would read more from this author if I found the subject matter compelling. ( )
  kevin21 | Mar 5, 2016 |
Out of the Blues by Trudy Nan Boyce is the first book in a new series. Sarah Alt (goes by Salt) has just made detective and has been assigned the Homicide Unit. Her sergeant gives her a ten-year-old case (cold case) as her first assignment. It is the death of Michael Anderson, a jazz musician, whose death was ruled accidental (due to drugs). They received new information from a man in prison (who Salt arrested) and now they are looking at the case again. Salt starts by talking to the parents and other people who knew and dealt with Mike. Will she find out the case was murder? Can Salt manage to stay out of trouble while solving the case (avoid getting shot or hurt)?

Out of the Blues is written how the various character’s talk. It makes it difficult to read and understand (they all seem to have poor grammar). It makes it difficult to read and understand (they all seem to have poor grammar). The book has no flow (it is awkwardly written). This is the first book in a new series, but it is written like a book in the middle of a series (makes it confusing). The blurb made it sound like a good book with an enjoyable mystery. I was extremely disappointed. I was never able to get into this story and I did not like the characters. I gave Out of the Blues 1 out of 5 stars. I was frustrated by this book and really did not want to finish it. Out of the Blues was just not my type of book.

I received a complimentary copy of Out of the Blues from NetGalley and First to Read in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  Kris_Anderson | Mar 3, 2016 |
I fell in love with Sandy Salt aka "Alt"! I sure hope this is the start of a new series. I loved everything about this novel. The characters were so believable, the way the guys treated her until she had proved herself in the male-dominated homicide division. She knew the detectives from working on patrol and was a very capable officer and they knew that but she still had to prove that she belonged in "coveted" homicide division.
Her first day in Homicide the Sgt. shows her to a desk, without a PC and then hands her a 10-year-old cold case to work on. Typical fare for a newly minted female detective, Ms. Boyce really hits home on that one.
I also loved the way she incorporated the rich historical facts of Atlanta and it's racial history into the novel as well. Not to mention the Blues, did I already state how much I loved this novel.
This was a great debut novel for Ms. Boyce and I hope it does become a series, I would love to find out what else she has in store for "Alt".
If you like a no-nonsense true police procedural, think of a female Ed McBain with a twist then you'll love this novel as much as I did.
I would like to thank GP Putman and Netgalley for providing me with an e-galley of this novel for my honest review. ( )
  sj1335 | Feb 29, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0399167269, Hardcover)

From an author with more than thirty years’ experience in the Atlanta Police Department comes a riveting procedural debut introducing an unforgettable heroine.
On her first day as a newly minted homicide detective, Sarah “Salt” Alt is given the cold-case murder of a blues musician whose death was originally ruled an accidental drug overdose. Now new evidence has come to light that he may have been given a hot dose intentionally. And this evidence comes from a convicted felon hoping to trade his knowledge for shortened prison time . . . a man who Salt herself put behind bars.

In a search that will take her into the depths of Atlanta’s buried wounds—among the city’s homeless, its politically powerful churches, commerce and industry, and the police department itself—Salt probes her way toward the truth in a case that has more at stake than she ever could have imagined. At once a vivid procedural and a penetrating examination of what it means to be cop, Out of the Blues is a remarkable crime debut.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 31 Aug 2015 13:07:12 -0400)

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