Out of the Blues by Trudy Nan Boyce

out-of-the-blues-trudy-nan-boyceOut of the Blues by Trudy Nan Boyce
Series: Unknown
Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural
Setting: Atlanta, Georgia
Published by G.P. Putnam’s, 2016
Format: e-Arc (Release Date: Feb 23)
–I received a review copy of this book from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. The opinions stated here are entirely my own.
352 pages
Grade: B+
Synopsis: 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.

Initial impressions

  • I really liked this police procedural. It feels authentic. This is a strong debut and I’m so happy to find a new author.

The story

  • When Sarah Alt–better known as “Salt”–begins her first day in homicide she finds a murderer. She does a lot of things wrong that first day, but she still manages to catch the murderer.
  • She’s given a cold case (a suicide from 10 years ago that might have been murder). The information about this possible homicide is given by a prisoner who is in prison because of Salt–after he tried to kill her. If his tip is correct it will reduce his sentence.
  • Even though she’s not too happy investigating this case she pursues all the leads she can find.


  • I really enjoy Salt. She jumps from insight to insight to get to the bottom of her cases. Other officers don’t always see what she sees, but often it works for her to follow her instincts.
  • Her father was also a police officer, but he committed suicide when Sarah was 10 years old and she found him as he lay dying. The images continue to haunt her and go a long way to making her who she is. As she grew into an adult she realizes he must have suffered from depression.
  • She’s afraid she may have the same affliction. Ever since she was shot the year before the book opens she has vivid dreams which haunt her, but also help her solve some of her cases. Any of her friends she tells about the dreams think they sound “crazy.”
  • The cold case is about the death of a blues singer so there’s lots of music references which I really enjoyed. I like blues and though I don’t know a lot about it I really like that aspect of the book. Salt knows a lot about the blues since her father enjoyed and listened to them.
  • The book has a lot about friendship, professional allegiances and the connections we have with people. I like that aspect a lot. I like mysteries where we find out about the people in the book as well as just the mystery.
  • The mystery was also engrossing. And I like the way the author shows the day-to-day workings of a police department–good and bad.
  • Salt puts up with a lot of hazing and even discrimination on the job, but she’s pretty stoic about it. She’s very tough and really cares about people. I like that the book shows many aspects of police officers as well as racial tensions in the community.
  • The title is very clever!


  • The e-Arc was hard to read since the formatting made it difficult at times to figure out who was talking.

And concluding thoughts . . .

  •  When I was younger I worked in law enforcement (mostly clerical work) and though police departments have modernized a lot since then (mostly in the communications) I still recognized a lot of what the author writes about.
  • I really hope she writes some more books about Salt and her world.

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

Author info

  • Trudy Nan Boyce received her Ph.D. in community counseling before becoming a police officer for the City of Atlanta. During her more-than-thirty-year career she served as a beat cop, homicide detective, senior hostage negotiator, and lieutenant. Boyce retired from the police department in 2008 and still lives in Atlanta.

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