Sunday, September 4, 2016

Review of "Robert B. Parker's Damned If You Do" by Michael Brandman

This book, written by Michael Brandman, is a continuation of Robert B. Parker's 'Jesse Stone' series.

Jesse Stone is the Police Chief of Paradise, Massachusetts, a small city near Boston. As the story opens Jesse is called to a local motel, where a young prostitute has been stabbed to death. The woman has no identification, so Jesse needs to find out her name as well as who killed her. During his investigation Jesse talks to the local crime boss, Gino Fish, as well as some pimps who run prostitutes - none of whom is very forthcoming. Nevertheless, Jesse pushes on, determined to find the murderer and return the victim to her family for a proper burial.

Meanwhile, Jesse is worried about his former accountant, Donnie Jacobs, who's suffering from alzheimer's disease. Donnie lives in an elder care facility called Golden Horizons Retirement Village, whose owners have a reputation for overmedicating patients, tying them to their beds, and generally mistreating them. The owners of Golden Horizons have good lawyers though, and it's been impossible to shut any of their facilities down. The people who run the elder care centers get a shock, however, when they discover how clever and ruthless Jesse can be.

The new author does a good job capturing Jesse's manner of speech and personality. Brandman's Jesse still speaks in clipped sentences, for example, and continues to be more respectful to criminals than your average cop. Other regular characters also have authentic voices, but they make very brief appearances. In fact we hardly see Molly and Suitcase, which is disappointing. Lastly, the plot is overly simplistic with very little development. Thus, fans of Jesse Stone might enjoy the story but the book is not up to Robert B. Parker's standards.

Rating: 3 stars                 

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