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Friday, February 17, 2017

Robert B. Parker’s "The Devil Wins" By Reed Farrel Coleman

by Gloria Feit

From the publisher: In the wake of a huge nor’easter, three bodies are discovered in the rubble of an abandoned factory building in an industrial part of Paradise known as the Swap. One body, a man’s, wrapped in a blue tarp, is only hours old. But within feet of that body are the skeletal remains of two teenage girls - - soon discovered to be the bodies of girls who went missing during a Fourth of July celebration twenty-five years earlier. Not only does that crime predate Jesse Stone’s arrival in Paradise, but the dead girls were close friends of Jesse’s right hand, Officer Molly Crane. And things grow even more complicated when the mother of one of the dead girls returns to Paradise to bury her daughter and is promptly murdered. It’s up to Police Chief Jesse Stone to pull away the veil of the past to see how all the murders are connected.

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Jesse has been the Chief of Police in Paradise, Massachusetts for over a decade, having left his days as an LA homicide detective behind him. (His drinking at that time of his life being the predominant cause.) But he had found a home in Paradise, in more than the literal sense. His colleagues, among them Molly, Captain Healy (head of the State homicide bureau), and Fire Dept. Chief Robbie Wilson, are wonderfully brought to life by the author (who picked up this series after the passing of Jesse’s creator, Robert B. Parker, and done complete justice to him, and the series). Molly has four kids and a husband, and has recently been promoted to detective, replacing his good friend, Luther “Suitcase”\ Simpson, usually referred to as Suit, after he was seriously wounded in an incident where he took a bullet for Jesse, literally.

The reappearance of ghosts from 25 years ago makes it clear to Jesse that “the past was unrelenting and no grave was deep enough to keep it buried forever . . . those two girls found down there needed a voice, and he meant to give it to them.” And three murders certainly present a challenge to him, not helped by more bodies that soon turn up. Jesse’s private life is looking up, however – he had been divorced for many years from his [cheating] wife when he meets the new ME, Tamara Elkin, who had come to Paradise from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of NYC, in what she describes as “a long story” left for another time.

Image source: Putnam

The title derives from some philosophizing about fate and the devil being unseen factors driving what we do, and what is done to us, one character saying to Jesse, speaking of the devil [no pun intended], “Most of the time he loses, but sometimes the devil wins.”

The author wraps it up with a couple of unexpected twists that I for one did not see coming, and doesn’t let up on the suspense as to the identity of the remaining ‘bad guys’ until very late in the book, in very satisfying manner. (Parenthetically, I loved his reminiscences of Ozzie Smith, the great shortstop, called “the Wizard of Oz,” a poster of whom hangs in his house.)

A fast read that lives up to the previous novels of the Messrs. Parker and Coleman, and one that is recommended.

You can use this link to purchase the book. If you have adblocker on you may not be able to see the Amazon link:

Ted & Gloria Feit live in Long Beach, New York, a few miles outside of New York City. For 26 years, Gloria was the manager of a medium-sized litigation firm in lower Manhattan. Her husband, Ted, is an attorney & former stock analyst, publicist & writer/editor for, over the years, several daily, weekly and monthly publications. Having always been avid mystery readers & since they're now retired, they're able to indulge their passion. Their reviews appear online as well as in three print publications in the UK & US.

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. I have never read this series but need to add it to my list now. Enjoyed the review very much & thanks for the chance to win. doward1952(at)yahoo(dot)com

  2. Its a new to me series, I'm glad I found it.