Mystery Review: Outerborough Blues by @andrewcotto

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Outerborough Blues

A Brooklyn Mystery

Written by Andrew Cotto

Genre: Mystery

Book Synopsis

A beautiful young French girl walks into a bar, nervously lights a cigarette, and begs the bartender for help in finding her missing artist brother. In a moment of weakness, the bartender—a lone wolf named Caesar Stiles with a chip on his shoulder and a Sicilian family curse hanging over him—agrees. What follows is a stylish literary mystery set in Brooklyn on the dawn of gentrification.

While Caesar is initially trying to earn an honest living at the neighborhood watering hole, his world quickly unravels. In addition to being haunted by his past, including a brother who is intent on settling an old family score, Caesar is being hunted down by a mysterious nemesis known as The Orange Man. Adding to this combustible mix, Caesar is a white man living in a deep-rooted African American community with decidedly mixed feelings about his presence. In the course of his search for the French girl's missing brother, Caesar tumbles headlong into the shadowy depths of his newly adopted neighborhood, where he ultimately uncovers some of its most sinister secrets.

Taking place over the course of a single week, Outerborough Blues is a tightly paced and gritty urban noir saturated with the rough and tumble atmosphere of early 1990s Brooklyn.

Walki's Rating

Walki's Review

It is the story of Caesar, an unattached young man in his 20's. It starts one evening when a young woman arrives at the bar/restaurant where he cooks, and asks for his help to find her brother. 'Outerborough Blues' is about the Brooklyn neighborough where Caesar is currently dwelling and its estate intrigues and power games. It is about how Caesar ran away from home to escape his violent brother and made a wandering life off grid throughout the U.S.

This end-of-the-20th-century story is written almost emotionlessly, but with enough life to keep the reader going with the main character. The search for the missing man seems an excuse for Caesar to dig out the secrets of his neighborough and take a stroll down Memory lane. It is the story of Caesar's coming of age in a brutal world where surprisingly he learned an honest trade.

Outerborough Blues' starts like a mystery, but doesn't deliver the intrigue first expected. The background is a bleak look at a community and its unravelling. The most interesting parts for me were his memories and the snippets of his family history.

While it didn't totally grasp my attention, it had enough to keep me reading, but its feeling of hopelessness left me dissatisfied at the end despite Caesar finding closure with his past.

Review Disclaimer: The book was provided free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

Maturity Disclaimer: Has some violence.