The Blues Don’t Care (Bobby Saxon Book 1) by Paul D. Marks Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

The only white member of an all-Black swing band must help clear one of his band member’s names after they are falsely accused of murder during WWII in Los Angeles, at a time when prejudice and racism are at an all-time high in the nation, at author Paul D. Marks’s “The Blues Don’t Care”.

The Synopsis

Bobby Saxon lives in a world that isn’t quite ready for him. He’s the only white musician in an otherwise all-black swing band at the famous Club Alabam in Los Angeles during World War II—and that isn’t the only unique thing about him…

And if that isn’t enough to deal with, in order to get a permanent gig with the band, Bobby must first solve a murder that one of the band members is falsely accused of in that racially prejudiced society.

The Review

This was a remarkable and captivating read. The author does an excellent job of finding the pulse of the era that this narrative takes place in. Having loved noir films and projects for years, especially 40’s era stories such as L.A. Noire, the author’s writing allowed for this setting to really come to life, both the good and the bad. The glamour and heart-pounding adrenaline of the music scene and the style of the times naturally clashed with the societal issues that many faced, and the author wove through these clashes with ease and grace that allowed the story to flow smoothly.

The balance the author found in giving the mystery behind this murder investigation the space it needed to grow and shed its layers at its own pace with the heartfelt development of the protagonist made this a compelling novel. The themes of racism, sexism, and identity all played crucial roles in the narrative and gave Bobby a unique journey to explore the nuanced worlds of those dividing lines and the era perfectly. The shocking investigation and the suspects that line up are just as powerful as the motivation behind the death, and add the tension one needs in a great suspense novel such as this.

The Verdict

Memorable, iconic, and entertaining, author Paul D. Marks’s “The Blues Don’t Care” is a remarkable mystery noir period piece thriller and a great start to the Bobby Saxon series. The twists and turns in the narrative and the chilling nature of the crime are a great backdrop for the more personal and intimate character development and themes that reflect our own society today. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

About the Author

Paul D. Marks is the author of award-winning Mystery-Thrillers about imperfect or flawed people trying to do the right thing in a corrupt and unjust world.

Paul’s latest book, The Blues Don’t Care, drops on 6/1/20. NY Times Best-Selling Author Brendan DuBois says this of Blues: “Award-winning author Paul D. Marks hits it out of the park with this finely-written novel bringing WWII-era L.A. alive with memorable characters, scents, descriptions, and most of all, jazz. Highly recommended.”

He is the author of the Shamus Award-Winning mystery-thriller White Heat. Publishers Weekly calls White Heat a “taut crime yarn.” Betty Webb of Mystery Scene Magazine calls its sequel Broken Windows “Extraordinary”. Though thrillers and set in the 1990s, both novels deal with issues that are hot and relevant today: racism and immigration, respectively. Marks says “Broken Windows holds up a prism from which we can view the events burning up today’s headlines, like the passionate immigration debate, through the lens of the recent past. It all comes down to the saying we know so well, ‘the more things change, the more they stay the same’.”

His short story Ghosts of Bunker Hill was voted #1 in the 2016 Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine Readers Poll. His story Windward was selected for the Best American Mystery Stories of 2018 by Louise Penny and Otto Penzler, and won the 2018 Macavity Award for Best Short Story. His story Fade-Out on Bunker Hill, published in Ellery Queen, was voted #2 in the 2020 Ellery Queen Readers Poll. His stories have won or been nominated for multiple awards. He has also been published in Beat to a Pulp, Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, Switchblade, Hardboiled and more.

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He is co-editor of the multi-award nominated anthology Coast to Coast: Private Eyes from Sea to Shining Sea. Two stories from which were chosen for The Best American Mysteries of 2018 and one received a Macavity Award that year.

Though Paul writes about other places, he considers himself an L.A. writer and lives in the Los Angeles area with his wife, dogs and cats. He has served on the board of the L.A. chapter of Sisters in Crime and currently serves on the board of the SoCal chapter of Mystery Writers of America.

He also has the distinction, dubious though it might be, of being the last person to have shot a film on the fabled MGM backlot before it bit the dust to make way for condos. According to Steven Bingen, one of the authors of the well-received book MGM: Hollywood’s Greatest Backlot: “That 40 page chronological list I mentioned of films shot at the studio ends with his [Paul D. Marks’] name on it.”

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