The history of rock ‘n’ roll is dotted with enduring mysteries and myths; Paul is dead, Bobby Fuller found dead, battered and doused in gasoline in the front seat of his car, Jim Morrison, did he really die in the bath tub and did Kurt Cobain really die from suicide, are among the most legendary tales.
So why not create a mystery around a rock ‘n’ roll tale of a long lost studio session from a Bob Dylan-esque singer songwriter that featured alleged contributions and studio appearances by a cavalcade of star performers rumored to included numerous members of the Rock ‘n’ roll Hall of Fame?
That’s exactly what Reed Farrel Coleman has done as he continues to churn out novels based on the characters created by the late, great Robert B. Parker, with his latest entry in the Jesse Stone series, The Hangman’s Sonnet. This mystery is chock full of all of the elements for a great story; criss-crossed storylines that don’t make sense until you play out the entire storyline; plenty of curveballs and red herrings to throw you off the scent and even a couple of sympathetic characters who turn out to be driven by desperation to do bad things.
Add to the mix the fact that Coleman, in the great music tradition even takes a stab at putting the band together by spicing the storyline to include a visit with Parker’s most famous creation, Boston-based private investigator Spenser, who tosses a clue to Chief Stone that puts him on the scent of a long lost audio engineer who was a prime suspect in the case of the missing recordings, and who just happen to be related to the book’s first victim.This is entertaining stuff all the way. Parker fans will always find something to quibble about, but for my money Coleman does a nice job of keeping on point, serving up a good read and breathing not just life, but new life into Parker’s creations. Heck he even makes mention of long lost Sunny Randall, who is long overdue for a re-visit by a skilled fiction hand.