Robert B Parker’s Debt To Pay – Reed Farrel Coleman (G P Putnum)
Robert B. Parker was one of those rare authors that created characters and fiction the truly captured my imagination. The wise cracking, tough talking, smart crew that honored a personal code and finished things. I have read everyone of his books and after his passing I began a journey to re-collect all of his books in original hardcover. Along the way I have continued to read all of the books penned by the folks charged with the task of keeping Parker’s legacy of characters alive.
Some of those efforts have been strong, others have struggled to match Parker’s unique tone. Reed Farrel Coleman, a talented weaver of fiction in his own right has picked up the mantle of continuing the Jesse Stone series about a small town police chief battling not only crime, but his particular set of demons. In Robert B Parker’s Debt To Pay, Coleman re-visits the character, Mr. Peepers that he invited to the party in the book, Blind Spot.
Peepers was one of those bad penny characters that you just knew was not going to go away quietly and he returns with an eye towards settling a score with Stone and crew. Coleman sets things against the back drop of Stone’s ex-wife Jen, one of those aforementioned demons, getting re-married. While I can’t imagine many exes getting an invite to a former spouse’s wedding, the connection between Jen and Stone makes for strange wedding guests.
Peepers plays on that connection and utilizes to twist Stones into knots with a cat and mouse chase as he tries to exact his revenge. While the cat and mouse plot is a time-honored tradition in fiction, here it seems just over the line into convoluted. Coleman at times appears to be trying just a little too hard and things come off a little hokey. While a found Debt To Pay to be a quick easy read, the plot seemed to lead off to a few too many dead ends.