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Monday 7 August 2023

Robert B Parker’s ‘Fallout’ by Mike Lupica

Published by No Exit Press,
27 February 2023.
ISBN : 978-0-85730545-9 (PB)

Robert B Parker wrote 60 novels during a career showered with awards and several million book sales. He died at his writing desk in 2010.

He set his crime fiction in and around Boston. In 1972, he created the first of 40 novels featuring his private detective Spenser – one name only, “spelled with an ‘s’ like the poet”. 

The body of work is astonishing. Not simply because of the amount produced, but because of the enduring quality of the writing. Parker, always happy to acknowledge the writers who inspired him – Dashiel Hammet, Scott Fitzgerald, Mark Twain, Raymond Chandler, William Shakespeare – wrote lean, stripped to the bone prose. And became one of the greats of the American crime genre.

He also wrote six novels featuring his female private investigator, Sunny Randall. And nine led by Jesse Stone, the Police Chief in Paradise, a small town in New England. All nine were adapted as a collection of TV movies starring Tom Selleck.

In 2020, Mike Lupica was selected by the Parker estate to continue the Jesse Stone series.

Fallout  features many of Parker’s long serving characters – the diverse bunch of varied creeds, colours and sexuality includes Spike, owner of the ‘Grey Gull’ restaurant (“gayer than laughter” he cheerfully acknowledges), Crow the reformed Apache hit man now working for the good guys, Molly Crane Deputy Police Chief and black activist.

Jesse Stone has finally stopped drinking “for a while now and so far, all of today”, and although he’s not quite over his relationship with Sunny Randall, he is getting by.  Until Paradise is devastated by the death of its star high-school baseball shortstop, who is found dead a day after winning the team’s biggest game. Jesse had been coaching the boy – the nephew of Police Detective Luther ‘Suitcase’ Simpson.

As the team begin to investigate, another death hits the town. Charlie Farrell, the former Police Chief and a close friend of Jesse, is shot dead in his home. Charlie had been helping out a bunch of elderly folks, looking into a series of scam ‘ghost calls’ they were being plagued by.

One case bleeds into the other. Threats and gunshots invade Jesse’s own street as the race to find answers becomes tangled up in the ambitious plans of a Boston mobster. Old and new enemies come into play. Jesse and his team must dig up the connection between the two deaths in order to prevent a third.

In Fallout, Mike Lupica has combined, murder, mystery, mobsters, diamond hard scenes and right on the button dialogue, in a successful homage to the Parker novels which came  before.
Reviewer: Jeff Dowson.

Mike Lupica is one of the most prominent sports writers in America. His longevity at the top of his field is based on his experience and insider's knowledge, coupled with a provocative presentation that takes an uncompromising look at the tumultuous world of professional sports. Today he is a syndicated columnist for the New York Daily News, which includes his popular "Shooting from the Lip" column, which appears every Sunday.

Jeff Dowson began his career working in the theatre as an actor and a director. He moved into television as a writer/producer/director. Screen credits include arts series, entertainment features, documentaries, drama series and TV films. Turning crime novelist in 2014, he introduced Bristol private eye Jack Shepherd in Closing the Distance. The series developed with Changing the Odds, Cloning the Hate and Bending the Rules. The Ed Grover series, featuring an American GI in Bristol during the years following World War 2, opened with One Fight At A Time. The second book New Friends Old Enemies was published in May 2021. Jeff is a member of BAFTA, Mystery People and the Crime Writers Association.

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