THE DEVIL WINS Is a Worthy Continuation of the Jesse Stone Series of Stories

Book Review - Jackie K Cooper

Robert B. Parker had a noted career as a fiction writer. One of his most celebrated achievements was the creation of the character known as Jesse Stone. He wrote about a dozen novels concerning this small town police chief in Massachusetts, and several of them were made into TV movies starring Tom Selleck. Following Parker's death, Reed Farrel Coleman decided to continue the exploits of Mr. Stone. His latest novel about the Chief is THE DEVIL WINS.

The first question on most people's minds as they read Coleman's work is how true is it to the work by Robert B. Parker. I can not give you that answer as I never read any of Parker's novels featuring this character. I came to THE DEVIL WINS as a complete novice to the world of Jesse Stone.I also had not watched any of the Tom Selleck movies. Still I was familiar with Jesse Stone in a general way but not enough to know what to expect as I opened the pages of this new book.

What I found was a fascinating character full of many facets and complexities. Jesse Stone has a murky past and an insecure future as Police Chief of Paradise, Mass. In many ways Stone is first cousin to Harry Bosch, the hero of Michael Connelly's mysteries. They both share a variety of insecurities as well as a slightly pessimistic outlook on the future. Oh yes, and they both have problems with the opposite sex.

Stone has a hostile City Council that seems ready to terminate him for the slightest reason. This is especially true when three bodies are discovered in an abandoned building after a Nor'easter has swept through the town. The storm caused some havoc and revealed two older bodies and one new one. The two older bodies belonged to young girls who had disappeared decades earlier. The body of the male was a new murder.

Coleman takes the story of the mystery behind the murders and runs with it. Having taken over the reins of an already hugely popular series, you would think this new author might be a little insecure. He isn't. He lays out his plot with ease and then brings in his cast of characters with total assurance. Even a new reader, such as myself, is soon warmly ensconced in the family of Stone's friends and enemies.

THE DEVIL WINS is such a winner of a novel that Parker's loyal fans and Coleman's new ones will be equally delighted by his skills. This series can run forever in these new capable hands and readers will eagerly await each new book about Jesse Stone. I know I will.

ROBERT B. PARKER'S THE DEVIL WINS is published by G. P. Putnam's Sons. It contains 352 pages and sells for $27.00.

Jackie K Cooper