The Devil Wins is Reed
Farrel Coleman’s second novel since he has taken over
the Robert B. Parker’s Jesse Stone series. Anyone that
was a Parker fan and those new to the world of Paradise Police
Chief Jesse Stone should enjoy these stories. Coleman expands
on the supporting cast of characters he inherited from Parker,
is able to create his own very well developed characters that
add to the plotline, and allows the readers to learn more
about the small town of Paradise, Massachusetts.
In this novel, the Paradise’s residents allow readers
to see how the town developed over the years. The reason for
this is that the story is both a cold case and a new case
having to do with the town’s occupants. After a storm
three corpses are found, a man wrapped in a tarp along with
the skeletal remains of two teenage girls. After being examined,
the girls are identified as Mary Kate O’Hara and Virginia
Connolly, two 16-year-olds who vanished about 25 years earlier
during a Fourth of July celebration. The crime predates Jesse’s
arrival into Paradise and also involves one of his police
officers, Molly Crane, who was good friends with the girls.
Jesse is attempting to solve these murder mysteries, but is
stifled by the town’s tight lips and unsupportiveness.
Enjoying the supporting cast of characters, Coleman noted,
“In some way this is a book about Molly. Her regrets
are about her past boyfriends, wanting to be a big city cop,
and her desire to be a patrol officer. She and Jesse are the
central figures. In this book we see some of her personality
other than the wise cracking person to Jesse. What I am doing
with the series is writing the story of the supporting characters.
There were about twelve books about Jesse and the supporting
characters played minor roles. But all the characters are
so rich I think there is an opportunity to write their stories.
That is the genius of Robert Parker, he left space to explore
these characters and the town of Paradise.”
For those readers new to the series, Jesse Stone is a law
enforcement officer in the mold of Michael Connelly’s
Harry Bosch. They both have insecurities, and will push the
line to make sure the victims gain justice. With both Jesse
and Harry, they see themselves as providing victims a voice.
But, Jesse is his own character since his life is based on
regrets. He is more of the mold of the old west sheriff, a
combination of Matt Dillon and Wyatt Earp.
Coleman commented, “All Jesse Stone books to some extent
are about regret and struggling. He is really a hands-on guy
who women adore. He is a tough guy, very athletic, one of
the top former homicidal cops in Los Angeles, and currently
the police chief of a beautiful New England town. Since there
is not much fault to these attributes, he has to have something
the average person can relate with, which are his struggles
with alcohol and his regret of being injured, causing him
to not have a professional baseball career. Because Bob Parker
always thought of his characters in a western sort of way,
I think the reality is Jesse is somewhere between Dillon and
The author also gave a heads up that, in January 2016, he
is going to have his own book out. The main character, Gus
Murphy, is a retired Suffolk County (Long Island, N.Y.) cop,
who is happy with his life. Not an overly ambitious guy, he
is satisfied to live a life of retirement, having a great
pension, a wonderful wife, and two mostly grown children.
But a family tragedy unravels his life. This first book begins
two years after the tragedy. Gus finds his way back to life
when he decides to help solve the murder of the son of someone
he arrested years ago. Coleman is also busy with next year’s
Jesse book, Debt To Pay, which will bring back Diana,
the former FBI agent. She and Jesse are romantically involved
and work on a case together as the villain Mr. Peppers makes
Anyone looking for a good mystery should read Coleman. He
has taken up the torch of Robert Parker and allowed Jesse
Stone to grow as a character. His plots are action packed
and fast moving, while the characters are relatable and likeable.
The Devil Wins is a riveting and suspenseful novel.
Reviews of other titles in this series