The Blues Don’t Care

Down & Out. Jun. 2020. 400p. ISBN 9781643960500. pap. $18.95. M
In this Los Angeles–based mystery, an outsider must solve a murder with no more private investigator knowledge than what he learned in the movies. Bobby Saxon is the only white member of an all-Black swing band in the 1940s, and when one of his bandmates is accused of murder, it falls to Bobby to find the real killer. The city becomes a part of the story as Bobby’s investigation takes him from nightclubs to diners to an IBM building. Not all the characters Bobby meets have fully developed motives, but readers really get to know Bobby himself, as he drives the story through twists and turns and subplots involving social justice issues such as race, sexuality, and identity. Readers should note that dialog makes up a good portion of the storytelling, and while it may be in context of the times, offensive slang is prevalent.
VERDICT Rich in plot if sometimes lacking in characterization, this latest from Marks (Broken Windows) will keep even seasoned mystery readers guessing.

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