MYSTERY

Back Bay Blues

Kensington. (Andy Roark Mystery, Bk. 2). Sept. 2020. 304p. ISBN 9781496723420. $26. M
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Private investigator Andy Roark has come to the streets of Boston for a fresh start and to escape some of the horror he witnessed years before in the Vietnam War as he deals with PTSD and survivor’s guilt. Roark soon develops a strong friendship with a Vietnamese restaurant owner, Nguyen, whom he is able to share stories and drinks with and who eventually helps Roark settle some into the community. Roark is soon approached by a young Vietnamese woman to investigate the connection between the death of her uncle and another prominent businessman from Washington, DC Later, he witnesses Nguyen talking to some strange men who turn out to be extortionists sending money back to Vietnam. The investigation continues and soon Roark discovers a link between the dead men and the extortionists and his friend may be involved.
VERDICT The second installment of Colt’s 1980s-set series (after The Off-Islander) will lure fans of Robert Parker’s Spenser into the atmospheric Boston setting. A tight plot, great characterization, and sensitive topics make this a good addition to library collections.

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