Robert B. Parker's The Hangman's Sonnet by Reed Farrel Coleman

Reed Farrel Coleman takes the reigns of the late Robert B. Parker's Jesse Stone series with The Hangman's Sonnet. Oddly, I've never read any of the novels in this series that were actually written by Parker. I did read and enjoy Michael Brandman's take on the character in Fool Me Twice, so I was excited to see what another author could bring to the table. True to form, The Hangman's Sonnet is a quick moving mystery that adequately evolves Jesse Stone as a character while adhering to the standards set in the books that have preceded it.

When the novel opens, Jesse Stone is a mess. He's a far cry from the stable, competent police chief we've come to know. Still reeling from the tragic murder of his wife-to-be, Stone has turned to alcohol to numb the pain. This self medicating is beginning to interfere with his work. Several times, his drunken blackouts cause him to miss important calls or meetings. The town's mayor, who has never seen eye to eye with her police chief, smells blood. She's waiting for any reason to fire Stone, and Jesse isn't doing much to prevent this from happening.

On top of his personal crisis, Stone's professional life is as busy as ever. The town is preparing to host a star-studded birthday bash for famed folk singer Terry Jester. Jester's lost album, The Hangman's Sonnet is the stuff of musical legend and would be worth a pretty penny if it were ever found. The security implications of this bash alone would be stressful but manageable for stone. Unfortunately for him, the body of an elderly woman was just discovered. With the entire town on him to solve the murder and secure the city before their big party, Stone must face his demons and solve the case. His career and entire livelihood is on the line.

True to form, The Hangman's Sonnet, is a light and entertaining read. The short chapters and fast-moving plot make for a book that is easily devoured within a few hours. For his part, author Reed Farrel Coleman is not bound by reverence to Parker and his character. While he maintains the spirit of Jesse Stone, he is unafraid to push the character into new, darker territory. This makes for a much more layered approach to character development that mostly works. The Hangman's Sonnet is certainly a worthy addition to the Jesse Stone series.

For more information, visit the author's website, Amazon, and Goodreads.

(2017, 40)

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2 Responses to “Robert B. Parker's The Hangman's Sonnet by Reed Farrel Coleman”

  1. Sounds like a good detective/mystery novel. I don't read many and I've never heard of that series. I'm glad you liked this one going forward with the series and I hope the new author takes off with them.
    Rebecca @ The Portsmouth Review

    1. It was exactly the kind of light read I needed to get out of a recent reading slump!


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