Readers yearning for a noir mystery in the vein of Mike Hammer or Sam Spade are in luck. Peter Colt has delivered just such a tale of intrigue with his debut novel, The Off-Islander. ... Set in 1982, the book features all the classic tropes of noir: a lonely detective on a missing persons case, shady suspects and red herrings, sultry ladies to entice him, rainy streets and seedy bars, danger lurking at nearly every turn. ... Colt, an Army veteran who served in Kosovo and Iraq and now is a police officer in a small New England city, captures his firsthand, on-the-job experience in moody prose. The novel spends nearly as much time exploring Roark’s inner demons from the Vietnam War and life afterward as it does with the case at hand, adding a deeply evocative perspective to events.
... [an] entertaining debut and series launch ... Like Philip Marlowe—or Robert Parker’s Spenser—[Roark] has a sharp eye for telling detail and male haberdashery. The resulting tale may not be stunningly original, but those who enjoy newish reworkings of classic PI tropes will be satisfied.
New England police officer Colt’s first novel is a boozy pipe dream of a private eye’s search for a long-missing father during a period the narrator guilelessly describes as 'a couple of years into [Reagan’s] first term' ... Throughout it all, Colt conscientiously supplies the obligatory complications of the hard-boiled formula—sexual come-ons, gunplay, mob figures, betrayals—but in slow motion ... Not much incident but lots of attitude.