To live in Boston during the 1970s, 80s and 90s was to live in Boston through major changes that the city was going through. The biggest change was the biggest infrastructure project in the country, The Big Dig. It literally changed the landscape; it changed the feeling and the economic vibe of our great city. Enter Adam Abramowitz, who captured these changes beautifully in his first novel, a thriller called Bosstown, that features a fast-talking bike messenger named Zesty Myers as its protagonist, and now Adam is back with a sequel which is titled, A Town Called Malice. And it features the same cast of characters. Both books are about Boston when it was a gritty blue collar music town. The interview below was slightly edited for clarity.

Henry Santoro: Welcome home, Adam. You are a local guy, born and raised in these neighborhoods, these streets. You know them probably as well as anybody.

Adam Abramowitz: Yeah, I was raised in Allston for most of my time, snuck into Brookline High School because they didn't keep track of things back then, and then moved to the South End, where I stayed for many, many years.

Henry Santoro Let's start with the title to the book, A Town Called Malice. It was a major hit by the band, Jam, and was written by the great Paul Weller. I know that song well. What is it about that song that spoke to you that you made it the title?

Abramowitz: Well, what's amazing to me is the first time I ever went to The Channel in South Boston, a great club that's no longer there, as you know, that song was playing. I love that song and as soon as I stepped in, I just thought 'Oh my God, I've reached nirvana. I've reached the place I need to be. And years later when I was thinking of a sequel title to Bosstown, not only did it have the word town in it, but it fit the mood of the book perfectly. So, I used that.

Santoro: And the lyrics to the song really could be written into the book itself.

Abramowitz: I almost used that for the beginning of the book--the song lyrics, but they were actually difficult to get--to get a hold of Paul Weller. So, I went in a different direction, but it did capture what was actually going on in the book.

Santoro: Tell us about Zesty Myers, the protagonist.

Abramowitz: So, when I wrote the book, originally, I had a couple of friends read it and they called me up and they're like 'hey Zesty, great book you wrote!' I was a bike messenger for a number of years, in Boston. Zesty was actually a real character who's a glass blower artist who I just knew casually in town, but I always loved that name. Unfortunately, some book reviewers thought that it was a drag queen type of name and they actually put it into a review: 'Why does every countercultural figure have to have a strange name.' Sorry, Zesty, it's a real thing.

Santoro: Was there ever a time while writing Bosstown, and now A Town Called Malice, that you thought to yourself: 'Holy cow. I lived through this?'

Abramowitz: Absolutely. The fact that I survived as a bike messenger for as long as I did, and a mover, in Boston. Zero, Zesty's brother, owns a moving company. I basically put in everything that I've done in this city into the book, because I just wanted to capture a different voice I didn't think had been heard in Boston. It's a miracle I'm not behind bars and that I'm alive.

Santoro: I get the feeling that even though, you don't live in Boston anymore, you teach writing in New York and spend some time in the western part of the state, but I get the feeling that it bothers you that life here will never be like that again.

Abramowitz: Boston kicked my ass--there's just no two ways to go about it--and sent me packing. It's almost like a girlfriend that you just never get over, and I always come back and just say: 'How can I have made this work? What could I have done to make this work for me?' It's hard, it's hard to look at Boston and just see how different it is. It's not that I begrudge anybody living here, it's a great city, it's a world class city. I just kind of want them to know this town of yours is built on a lot of rock and roll and a lot of hard work from people that you've probably never heard of.

Santoro: Adam Abramowitz his book is called A Town Called Malice. Adam, great stuff. Thank you so much for documenting Boston the way you have. And you can find him May 28 at the Trident Bookseller on Newbury Street. Adam, thanks again.

Abramowitz: Thanks Henry.

Henry Santoro Great to meet you. This is Henry in the Hub on WGBH. And don't forget to follow me on Twitter @HenrySantoro.