As a founder member of Mystery Women in 1997, promoting Crime Fiction has always been my passion.
Following the closure of Mystery Women, a new group was formed on 30th January 2012 promoting crime fiction.
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Robert B Parker’s ‘The Devil Wins’ by Reed Farrel Coleman
Published by No Exit
Press, 22 September 2016. ISBN: 978-1-84344-846-4
I discovered the late Robert B
Parker back in 1986, when Spenser Private
Eye arrived on our TV screens. The detective, played by the brilliant
Robert Urich was a huge hit and cemented Parker’s reputation as one of the
greats of the hard-boiled PI genre. Parker set his stories in Boston, and the
city he loved became a major character in his books. He wrote forty Spenser
novels, another six featuring his lady private eye Sunny Randall and then the
Jesse Stone series, set in the fictional small town of Paradise, on the coast
north of Boston.
a disintegrating marriage ramps up Jesse Stone’s drinking, he is fired by the
Los Angeles Police Department. With nowhere to go but down, to his amazement he
is hired by the Paradise Town council as their new Police Chief. A place that
on the surface appears to be a quiet New England community, but swiftly proves
to be a crucible of trouble.
died in 2010 and left substantial boots to fill, but Jesse Stone lives on in
new novels authorised by the Parker Estate; initially written by Michael
Brandman and currently by Reed Farrel Coleman - author of the New York set Moe
Prager private eye series. Brandman’s Jesse Stone is more melancholic than the original,
something I rather warmed to.Farrel
Coleman’s version is less introspective, but then he is writing a Jesse Stone
who has been in Paradise for a decade.He sums him up with characteristically lean prose…
“Jesse always took
life in his stride, sometimes with an assist from Johnnie Walker. He had never
been the type of man to go round and round with himself.Never been a man to second guess or waste too
much energy on regret.”
However, Jesse is
having to question more than he wants to in The
Devil Wins. Just when he has decided
he has a handle on his work in Paradise and knows the town well.
After a violent
storm, three bodies are found in the wreckage of an abandoned factory building.
One, a man’s body wrapped in a tarpaulin, is barely hours old.But alongside him, are the remains of two
teenage girls who disappeared during a July 4th celebration
twenty-five years earlier. That’s a long time ago, and the situation isn’t
helped when Jesse learns that Officer Molly Crane – his right hand – was a
close friend of both girls. Then the investigation becomes more complicated
when the mother of one of the dead girls returns to Paradise to bury her
daughter and is killed a day later. Jesse has to dig deep into a past he knows
nothing about. A past which the small town would prefer to stay buried.
Not an original
plot idea, but Farrel Coleman handles the storyline effortlessly. It’s a while
before he allows us to enjoy spending time with Parker’s associate characters -
Dix the ex-cop turned shrink; Luther ‘Suitcase’ Simpson, the officer nicknamed
by Jesse after one of his baseball heroes; his ex-wife Jenn who he has taken a
decade to get over; and Molly Crane his close friend and sounding board.But when he does, Parker is back with us and
Farrel Coleman’s writing soars, his prose boiled to perfection. There is a
sentence which will stay with me for a long time - at the moment when Jesse and
Molly accept the realities of the town’s past…
“She smiled a heart-breaking
smile as sad as a June day is long”.
I look forward to
Reed Farrel Coleman getting inside Jesse Stone’s skin once again.
Robert B. Parkerwas the
author of seventy books, including the legendary Spenser detective series, the
Jesse Stone series, and the Virgil Cole/Everett Hitch Westerns. Winner of the
Mystery Writers of America Grand Master Award and long considered the
undisputed dean of American crime fiction, he died in January 2010.
Farrel Colemanwas born
29 March 1956. He has been called a hard-boiled poet by NPR s Maureen Corrigan and
the noir poet laureate in The Huffington Post. He has published
twenty-three novels, including nine books in the critically acclaimed Moe
Prager series, and most recently, Where It Hurts. He is a three-time
recipient of the Shamus Award for Best Detective Novel of the Year, a winner of
the Barry and Anthony Awards, and is a two-time Edgar Award nominee. Coleman
lives with his family on Long Island."
worked in arts and entertainment business since the mid 70s. Beginning as a
theatre writer and director – specialising in work by Alan Plater, Howard
Brenton, Joe Orton, Harold Pinter; and European writers Samuel Beckett, Max
Frisch and Bertolt Brecht. He took this
experience into television and joined ITV company, Granada, as a writer and
producer; which in the mid 80s, launched a second career as an independent
screenwriter/producer/director.Recently, after a decade as a script producer, edit
producer and executive producer, he sat down at his desk and decided to go back
to writing full time.