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by Trudy Nan Boyce
GP Putnam's Sons, February 2017
352 pages
ISBN: 0399167277

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Detective Sarah Alt, known to most as "Salt" is nearly done with her shift when the call comes in about the shooting at the scene of a Spellman College students' march. Several students are down, one already dead and the suspects are on the run. While following the suspects, Salt is ambushed. So begins OLD BONES, the second of the Sarah Alt mysteries. But while the Spellman case grabs the headlines, the decomposing body of a teenager is the case that hits home for Salt. The victim was a throwback to a previous case of Salt's leaving her feeling responsible for this outcome. The top brass wants the Spellman case solved, but justice for the teen weighs heavier on Salt.

Salt's life is also due for some major changes. She and her fiance need to decide where they will live. It makes sense for Salt to leave her farm, sheep, and ancestral home to move into her fiancé's home located much closer to work, but to do that is leaving behind her history, both good and bad. Can she do that? Going through boxes and trunks in the attic brings the possibility of long buried family secrets. What bearing could they have on Salt's life today?

I feel the author has done an excellent job of creating a character whose depth goes beyond her job. She has a conscience and a heart which tears easily while she works her cases as well as in her personal life. However, this also creates the one flaw I found with the book. The transitions from Salt's inner thoughts as she ponders her family's past and her future lead to rather long dry passages with no action at all. Then suddenly the reader is thrown back into the action of the various police cases. A couple of times I paused to look back to make sure that I hadn't somehow skipped a page or two as the transition from Salt's dusty attic to the police station was abrupt to say the least.

As far as character development goes, Sarah Alt is a complex, well-developed character with many layers to her soul for readers to still discover in future books. As for the other characters, readers only get a sense of them in terms of how they relate to Salt. While none of them really stand on their own in OLD BONES, a few have the potential to star in future books.

Overall, in spite of some transition issues, OLD BONES was an excellent book. Although it is the second book in the series, I had not read the first book and had no problem at all picking up who the people were and the basic series outline.

§ Caryn St.Clair resides in University City, Missouri and is a former elementary school media specialist, President of the Parks Commission and a docent at the St.Louis Zoo.

Reviewed by Caryn St Clair, February 2017

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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