Tuesday, July 18, 2017

ROBERT B. PARKER'S THE HANGMAN'S SONNET by Reed Farrel Coleman

© by Gerald So | 6:30 a.m.

Thanks to publicist Erin Mitchell, I received an advance readers' copy of Reed Farrel Coleman's fourth Jesse Stone continuation novel, due out September 12. It throws Jesse, still grieving the death of his fiancee Diana Evans, into two cases: the search for a long-lost demo tape of reclusive recording artist Terry Jester, Boston's answer to Bob Dylan, and the seemingly unrelated death of an elderly Paradise resident during a robbery attempt.

Robert B. Parker's Jesse Stone novels, like many of his later works, were self-contained adventures. The only thing that clearly qualifies as a multi-book arc in Parker's work is Spenser's separation from and reunion with Susan Silverman in the mid-1980s. By contrast, Coleman's fourth continuation deliberately builds on characters and events from his first (Robert B. Parker's Blind Spot). Coleman invites readers to think of continuation not as imitation of the original author, but as true further exploration of the original's fascinating characters.

Yes, this particular case teams Jesse with Parker favorites Spenser and Vinnie Morris, but more compelling to me are Jesse's efforts to move on from his addictions and from his ex-wife Jenn, two staples of Parker's books that limited the series' scope on his watch.

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