It Hurts is the first book of a new series written by
Reed Coleman, the contracted writer of the Robert B. Parker's
Jesse Stone books. He introduces the character, Gus Murphy,
who becomes a grieving father after unexpectedly losing his
son, while at the same time attempting to solve a murder mystery.
The plot goes into great detail about how Gus' world changes
on the day his son dies from an unknown heart defect. He is
a broken and wounded man, losing everything he loved in his
life: his son dying, his wife having an affair with his partner,
his job, while his daughter is arrested for a DUI and drugs.
Ironically he is brought back to life after being approached
by a small time criminal, Tommy Delcamino, who also lost a
son without any warning. While Gus lost his son to a disease
Tommy's son is murdered. As Gus reluctantly agrees to pursue
an investigation, he uncovers a major conspiracy to thwart
the investigation. Plugging away to find the truth allows
Gus to come out of his grieving world. Coleman takes the readers
on a journey with Gus as he attempts to find the murderers
as well as recover from his walking trance and bitterness.
The most powerful theme in the book is how someone reacts
to losing a loved one. Being a policeman forced Gus for over
twenty years to have a distant view of life and death until
it became very personal for him. Through Coleman's descriptions
and relatable dialogue, Readers will understand Gus' pain
and the nightmare he must face each and every day. It becomes
obvious that grief is a very personal issue, as the author
shows how someone encompassed with their own sorrow never
realizes how others have also been affected. Gus and his family
are consumed by their own anguish and in doing so have completely
lost perspective of each other.
Coleman commented, "I wanted readers to understand how
hard it is to put the emotional pain behind you, which is
why I put the quote in the book, 'To heal I suppose there
has to be forgetting. There's no healing if the scab is always
peeled away.' Gus is not sure who he is or where he is going.
He knows what he no longer believes, but does not know what
he actually believes anymore. I know one of the biggest clichés
is 'time heals all wounds.' Gus will always remember, but
eventually it will not be at the forefront of his thinking.
It will not be as constant and painful. The character's emotions
are a reflection of my own as I tried to put myself in their
situation. I hope those who had tragedy in their life contact
me, and let me know their reaction."
The author gave a heads up about his next books. Out in the
fall will be another Jesse Stone book, entitled, Debt To Pay.
Coleman said readers should expect changes in the Spenser
and Stone universe after his ex-wife Jen and someone else
from Jesse's past reappears. Also preeminently featured will
be former FBI Agent Diana Evens, first introduced in the book
Blind Spot. Then a year from now, the next Gus Murphy book
will be published, a continuation of his journey. The plot
includes the exploration of good versus evil: what would happen
if you really love somebody and find out they have done some
Regardless of which series he is writing, Coleman always has
characters with flaws that eventually the reader will root
for. Where It Hurts main focus is how a person handles
grief within a mystery of police corruption, drug lords, and