A Boston bike messenger finds himself implicated in a robbery that digs up skeletons from his family's past.
Zesty Meyers has a colorful background, with a political-fixer father who was the Hub's king of illegal poker games and a radical mother who's been underground since taking part in an armed robbery that left a cop dead. After Zesty is hit by a car in the course of his messenger duties, he finds that the client he just picked up a package from denies he ever came for the package. And since it contained $50,000 that has now disappeared, Zesty finds himself under pressure from the cops and the money's shady owners. The plot isn't as clearly told as it might be. And does every young character in fiction who opts out of mainstream life have to have such sketchy personal cleanliness and lack of financial responsibility? It doesn't help that the hero has been saddled with the name of a second-rate burlesque queen. But the book has a long, long memory for Boston rock clubs (some of them wiped out in fires of suspicious origin) and the bands of the city's punk era (extra points for name-checking the great all-female metal group Malachite, which, at its glorious best, was louder than God) as well as a rueful sense of what gentrification hath wrought and of Boston's seemingly intractable segregation. The bank robbery that's part of the story has roots in the 1970 robbery that sent Brandeis student Katherine Power on the run and on to the FBI's Most Wanted list.
This entertaining-enough thriller is built on a social history of a flawed American city.