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Reviewed by Pete Loveday for Readers' Favorite
"Outerborough Blues” was written by Andrew Cotto. The story of Caesar Stiles is a compelling one with one week in his 20 year old life in a grim Brooklyn neighborhood. The product of a sad dysfunctional home, Caesar has many demons to live with: a missing father, a dead mother, a dead brother and a habitually violent older brother. Having left home at a young age and fending for himself he comes to us working at The Notch, a restaurant/bar run by a colorful character, the Captain. Enter an attractive French waif looking for her brother. This strikes a chord with Caesar and so begins a treacherous journey through the criminal jungle of Brooklyn. Searching for Jean-Baptist, Colette’s brother leads Caesar into some very dangerous situations with crime boss the Orange Man. In the background there is always the sadness and tragedy of Caesar’s violent home life and the deep abyss he has fallen into.
The story is a familiar one and is well-developed with a grim and bleak look at urban reality. Though not familiar with Brooklyn, thanks to skilful writing, I had a feel for the reality of the area. This book will appeal to all lovers of dark, dysfunctional mysteries. Andrew Cotto has done a fantastic job with the development of the interesting characters in the story. This book would have required a great deal of research to maintain its realism. Well-written and ingeniously crafted, this story is a stark reminder of that other life that is just beyond the tracks.