A penny saved is ridiculous.

A penny saved is ridiculous.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Odd but okay Jesse Stone adventure

Michael Brandman's third and final Jesse Stone novel, Robert B. Parker's Damned If You Do (yes, they now use the late writer Robert Parker's name in all the titles when they release a new entry in the various series he created over his long career) almost seemed like an experiment, as the story was 100% police-thriller plot, straight no chaser. That is, there was nothing about Jesse's personal issues: his drinking, his needy ex-wife, whoever he's dating, etc. Only the two offered plotlines- about a murdered girl found in a seedy hotel room, and a shady assisted living facility that abused its residents- were advanced as I moved through the book. Even when Jesse visited his shrink, they only discussed the two cases and not anything going on in Jesse's life.

If this turns out to be a new direction for the series- all cop stuff all the time- I'd be horrified. But this one time, it was sort of interesting. The two thriller plots are pretty good and are developed nicely, with each giving Jesse some entertaining "tough cop" moments. But, yeah, it was pretty weird not seeing Jesse struggle with something going on his personal life, or having a heart-to-heart talk with his assistant Molly about same. Actually, the Jesse/Molly friendship has been mostly bland since Robert Parker stopped writing the series, but that's another topic.

So, yeah, I enjoyed this quick, fast read, which reasonably suggests that Jesse sometimes works cases while not being distracted by personal issues. But when this series' next assigned writer- mystery author Reed Farrel Coleman- picks up Jesse's adventures with the next book, Robert B. Parker's Blind Spot (which will be coming out shortly), I'll be happy if we get back to the nice layered plotting that's been the hallmark of this series. In other words, I hope it features Jesse both chasing suspects and his personal demons... or at least a new girlfriend.

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