Outerborough Blues: A Brooklyn Mystery

Outerborough Blues: A Brooklyn Mystery

3.4 34
by Andrew Cotto
     
 

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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

Overview

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.

Andrew Cotto has written for numerous publications, including The New York Times, Men's Journal, Salon.com, Teachers & Writers magazine and The Good Men Project. He has an MFA in creative writing from The New School. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Cotto follows his first novel, The Domino Effect (2011), with an ambitious noir thriller set in pre-gentrification Brooklyn. Caesar Stiles, a one-time drifter and rare white face in his predominantly African-American neighborhood, has settled down for a quiet existence working at a local bar. When Caesar agrees to help Colette, a damsel in distress from the south of France, find her missing art student brother, Jean-Baptiste Rennet, past family troubles complicate his mission. Caesar’s violent brother, just released from prison, still blames Caesar for their older brother’s death as a teenager and wants his share of their late mother’s property. Caesar must also face the threat of a mysterious gangster he calls the Orange Man in his search for Jean-Baptiste. While Cotto’s lyrical prose sometimes veers into the affected, he shows a strong sense for character and place in a novel that reads like Raymond Chandler taking dictation from Walt Whitman. Agent: Jennifer Carlson, Dunow, Carlson and Lerner. (June)
Kirkus Reviews
A highly unlikely detective pursues the even more unlikely trail of a missing man during Holy Week in Brooklyn. Colette Rennet's brother Jean-Baptist is missing--he stopped attending classes at the Brooklyn Art Institute soon after matriculating--and she doesn't know where he's gone. So she wanders into The Notch, a bar whose owner is universally known as the Captain, and asks Caesar Stiles, the bartender, to find him. Caesar has no experience as a detective, but his experience with crime is intimate and extensive. His grandmother emigrated from Sicily specifically to kill the man who'd traveled to America to escape her; his beloved brother Angie was struck and killed by a train during a fist fight that had migrated to the tracks; and his fearsome brother Sallie is doing time for maiming the man who nearly killed him in another fight. Caesar duly asks questions of Professor Reginald Hamersley, Jean-Baptist's art teacher; his landlady, liquor-store owner Lillian Pettaway; his neighborhood real-estate mogul Will Page, who buys buildings and flips them; and his own friend Don Brown, a one-man construction crew. But any sense of forward motion is undercut by a torrent of anecdotal memories that pull Caesar back to his travels across the U.S., the women he's loved, the men he's fought and his troubled family history. Long before Easter Sunday dawns, present and past will have merged in a definite enough resolution but no clear sense of arriving at a destination. First-time novelist Cotto's shaggy, dreamlike saga begins with a curse and ends with a redemption of sorts. What's in between is a lot less clear.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781935439493
Publisher:
Ig Publishing
Publication date:
05/15/2012
Pages:
200
Sales rank:
1,336,923
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.50(d)

Meet the Author


Andrew Cotto is a writer and teacher who lives in Brooklyn, Andrew has has contributed to many journals, including the New York Times, Men’s Journal, Salon.com, Teachers & Writers Magazine and the Good Men Project. He has an MFA in Creative Writing from The New School and a BA in Literature from Lynchburg College.

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Outerborough Blues: A Brooklyn Mystery 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 34 reviews.
KevinM416 More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. The main character Ceasar has a stoic self assurance amidst his chaotic and dangerous life. Made me think of the movie Drive. The story itself is great and the writing is very visual in its describing various parts of Brookyln and New Orleans. Lots of great food scenes, in general.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book. A page turner full of beautiful language and ugly truths about the human condition with just enough hope in the end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was a good read. Maybe started off a little slow, but kept pulling me in.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found this book very mediocre at best. I had to stop partway or die of boredom. On to something better. Kathy
KajalD More than 1 year ago
Found out about this book after having read another book written by Cotto, The Domino Effect. Having just finished reading Outerborough Blues, I can attest to the fact that Cotto's ability to write in a descriptive manner allows the reader to be drawn into the book in a manner that makes the reader feel as if they're witnessing the events within the book first-hand. Cotto's writing style and gritty dialogue between the characters within this noir allows the reader to visualize the what Brooklyn once was. Personally, I felt as though I was touring Brooklyn in a past that I otherwise would never have known. The author manages to address issues such as gentrification and racial tension in a manner that captivates the reader's attention, raises awareness of what Brooklyn once was, and helps the reader genuinely appreciate Brooklyn's past (and present). The novel is complex in nature in that the reader must focus on details. However, the author manages to tie all details of the story by the conclusion of the novel. The characterization of Ceasar captivates the reader's attention from the very first page of the book. Despite a broken past, the character of Caesar exudes a level of confidence that attracts others (individuals that serve to help as well as hurt him). Themes of this book include family, redemption, and closure. The reader experiences the joy of actually experiencing the adventures Caesar endures. Highly recommended read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I liked this book enough to finish it but it is so...slow...and...hard...to...get through (with only 143 pages). The character ruminates so often and so long on his past that the actual story gets lost.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyable and fast paced.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Starts out well, then the plot gets sloppy and doesn't move forward well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
RBeck More than 1 year ago
I liked the characters and the naration. A great story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For me it was an extremely difficult book to follow. You keep thinking that it will get better but you never get to that point.
anonomas More than 1 year ago
Just OK. Nothing special.
hoopty More than 1 year ago
I could almost see the TV show or movie in it. Not deep but good.
GeorgieMok More than 1 year ago
This book was great. It kept moving, never a slow or dead spot. Very descriptive and made you really like the lead character. Someone that everyone can relate too. I enjoyed that some things were explored in detail and others were left to the imagination. I would recommend this book to anyone that likes to read. It wasn't a book I would normally choose but I'm so happy I did! Take a chance it's worth the ride.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Writes a good sentence, but no sense of narrative.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Reading this book was a lot like listening to a Beethoven symphony. You immediately realize you are enjoying a rare piece of classic art. The book is well worth the time just for the lyrical language - a real pleasure to read. The story is fascinating, but, at times brutal, and the reality of Brooklyn colors everything. I may read it again soon.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Cesar Stiles is a little too good to be true. Handy with knife, good with all women, master chef, master carpenter, and all around clever good guy. Women characters are shallow and stereotyped. Could be a decent book if the main character was repurposed a little and the women had more depth.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago