Bos­ton bike mes­sen­ger Zesty an un­likely sleuth

South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday) - - Books - By Oline Cogdill Sun Sen­tinel Cor­re­spon­dent Oline H. Cogdill can be reached at [email protected]

A bi­cy­cle mes­sen­ger may seem a most un­likely sleuth, but Adam Abramowitz makes a per­sua­sive case for his char­ac­ter Zesty Mey­ers in the sec­ond novel in this se­ries.

Zesty thrives on be­ing a bit reck­less, “tak­ing even greater risks on Bos­ton’s non­sen­si­cal streets,” lives a bit off the grid while also pur­su­ing a sec­ond ca­reer as a stand-up comic. Zesty’s back­ground also has made him a bit of an out­sider — his mother was a rev­o­lu­tion­ary bank rob­ber who went miss­ing for decades, his fa­ther ran Bos­ton’s best un­der­ground poker games and was a po­lit­i­cal fixer.

And his brother, Zero, runs a mov­ing and stor­age com­pany that hires ex­con­victs.

But “A Town Called Mal­ice” goes be­yond Zesty avoid­ing Bos­ton traf­fic and pot­holes — al­though there is plenty of that. Abramowitz also looks at Bos­ton’s gen­tri­fi­ca­tion and how the Big Dig, the city’s mega high­way project, has af­fected its neigh­bor­hoods and econ­omy. Those once run-down ar­eas have been re­born with sky­rock­et­ing rents.

Zesty is asked by homi­cide de­tec­tive Batista Wells to find out who tried to fire­bomb a com­edy club and the owner of a pri­vate de­tec­tive agency wants him to fol­low a man and keep track of what he does.

These are not jobs for or­di­nary bike couri­ers, but then Zesty, as both his new em­ploy­ers ac­knowl­edge, pays at­ten­tion, even if it seems he is not. He owes that per­cep­tion to all those late night poker games to which his fa­ther dragged his two sons. While his fa­ther would play, his sons

‘A Town Called Mal­ice’

by Adam Abramowitz. St. Martin’s, $26.99, 320 pages would watch the play­ers’ fa­cial ex­pres­sions and habits. It taught Zesty to

un­der­stand body lan­guage and to be aware even when it seemed as if he wasn’t. The cases lead to a mid­night bas­ket­ball league, a real es­tate scheme and a look at Bos­ton’s now shut­tered rock clubs and the bands that played there.

Abramowitz weaves a solid part­ner­ship of place and peo­ple in the clever “A Town Called Mal­ice.”

Meet the au­thor

Adam Abramowitz will dis­cuss “A Town Called Mal­ice” at 7 p.m. April 17 at Mur­der on the Beach Mys­tery Book­store’s new

lo­ca­tion,104 W. At­lantic Ave., Del­ray Beach,

561-279-7790, mur­deron­the­beach.com.

/AN­TO­NIA ABRAMOWITZ / COUR­TESY

Adam Abramowitz is the au­thor of “A Town Called Mal­ice,” the sec­ond in a se­ries about bike mes­sen­ger and sleuth Zesty Mey­ers.

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