Academic journal article Pennsylvania Literary Journal

Out of the Blues

Academic journal article Pennsylvania Literary Journal

Out of the Blues

Article excerpt

Trudy Nan Boyce. Out of the Blues. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, an imprint of Penguin Random House, February 2016. 352pp. 6X9". ISBN: 978-0-399-16726-3. $26.95.

The author's note to the review copy of the book explains that Trudy Nan Boyce has a "nice" approach to dealing with crime. By being nice, she was able to make connections in the criminal world that led to some of her convictions in her career as a beat cop, homicide detective, senior hostage negotiator and finally as a lieutenant, before she retired from Atlanta's police department in 2008. She received a PhD in community counseling before she started this line of work, so after she retired she felt compelled to practice a more scholarly pursuit, such as writing this first novel.

Since I am looking at this book immediately after Boyer's, I can see its positives in the comparison. First, the author served as a police officer, so it is interesting to look into the criminal procedural world from the perspective of a female detective, as opposed to from that of a noisy private investigator chatting about steak, instead of working a case. Second, the book opens with an actual crime scene, "Frantic, she couldn't think hozo to clear his eyes of the blood. She couldn't leave him to get a cloth'' (1). The paragraphs are appropriate in length for the glum, deadly subject. While I personally wish the words used were more specific and technical, they offer some curious information that is not painfully repeating the same formulaic phrases and motions. Also, when the dialogue starts, there is tension between characters, and what they are saying actually pertains to something that adds drama or moves the plot of the story forward. …

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