A Book Spy Review: ‘The Policeman’s Daughter’ by Trudy Nan Boyce

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The PolicemanAuthor Trudy Nan Boyce is taking readers back in time with her latest novel, The Policeman’s Daughter, a prequel to her Detective Salt series. 

Set before her detective days, Sarah “Salt” Alt is an Atlanta beat cop patrolling a rundown, dangerous part of the city known as the Homes. When a routine traffic stop goes terribly wrong, Salt takes a bullet to the head — landing her in the hospital. She recovers enough to get back on the job but hides major symptoms that linger on, such as double-vision, problems with her eyesight, and odd, daydream-like visions that she keeps only to herself. 

While working through the medical issues plaguing her, Salt attempts to help a woman named Shannell, who makes her living as a hooker. Shannell (who speaks in a way that suggests the concept of proper grammar has fully eluded her) asks Salt to locate Darrell “Big D” Mobley, the father of her child, who was last seen roaming the streets “bleedin’ like a faucet” from a knife wound. Salt agrees to try and help, but things take a sad turn when Shannell is later found dead. 

The detectives in charge of investigating Shannell’s murder don’t have much to work with. Any trail that may have existed has gone cold, prompting Salt to take on more than her beat cop duties as she tries to solve the case herself. In doing so, Salt comes into contact with a number of shady characters — from gangbangers and druggies to thieves and prostitutes — who are up to no good. Eventually, she makes some headway when she ties Shannell’s murder to gang members who are connected to Shannell’s son, who goes by the name “Lil D.” The plot promises a big reveal, which, though many readers will see it coming, does tie into the author’s last novel, Old Bones (2017). 

All in all, The Policeman’s Daughter is a dark, gritty police procedural that has enough intrigue to hold readers’ attention, though the story is at times a bit confusing. The timing of the prequel is a tad odd, as Trudy Nan Boyce had only written two previous books in this series before deciding to tell Salt’s origin story. Yes, readers will now have a deeper understanding of the main character, a tough woman working in the roughest part of town, but much of Salt’s history could have probably been told in flashbacks or passing in a later story. . . it’s all fine and well, I’m just not sure there needed to be an entire book — especially this early in her series — dedicated to Salt’s life on the beat, especially when Nan Boyce could have started there from the get-go a couple of years ago. 

All that said, this is an ideal starting point for newcomers to the series, as the story Segways nicely into Judy Nan Boyce’s other books, Out of the Blues (2016) and last year’s Old Bones.  

Book Details

Author: Trudy Nan Boyce 
Series: Detective Salt #3
Pages: 352 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 0399167285
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Release Date: February 27, 2018
Book Spy Rating: 5.5/10

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Praised as “one of today’s finest book reviewers” by New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds, Ryan Steck has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.

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