Robert B. Parker’s The Hangman’s Sonnet is the fourth book in the Jesse Stone series that Reed Farrel Coleman has written. If there was any doubt that Coleman has managed to pay homage to the legacy of Robert B. Parker while also stamping the series continuation with his own writing trademarks, The Hangman’s Sonnet should reaffirm his success at maneuvering that tricky pathway.
As readers join Robert B. Parker’s The Hangman’s Sonnet, Jesse Stone is in a dark, dark place. The events at the end of the previous novel have left him heartbroken and he can’t resist giving in to the lure of the bottle. All of his colleagues and friends are noticing. Readers follow along as each of them, in their own way, try to steer Jesse to a better place.
The case at the center of the novel involves an elderly woman who died unexpectedly during a home invasion and burglary. In the meantime, rumors are hinting at the discovery of a long-missing album master from legendary folk singer Terry Jester. How these two tales dovetail forms the backbone of The Hangman’s Sonnet. Jesse Stone’s journey – both personally and professionally – is just as important at the crime plot here and Reed Farrel Coleman certainly understands Jesse and his current mindset.
Told from multiple points of view, chapters in Robert B. Parker’s The Hangman’s Sonnet are brief and fast-paced. This serves the reader well, as it keeps the various threads of the plot moving forward, weaving the strands of one plotline into another to create a satisfying final composition.
The tension between Police Chief Jesse Stone and the Mayor Connie Walker bubbles under the surface throughout the novel and their interactions form a repetitive motif serving in some way to hold novel together. Recurring characters are so important to this series and Reed Farrel Coleman manages to work many of them into the plot in logical and effective ways. Another Robert B. Parker creation – Private Investigator Spenser – even makes a cameo.
In the end, Robert B. Parker’s The Hangman’s Sonnet is a rewarding police procedural with a charismatic central character. The interesting details about the music industry included within are a nice added bonus for readers. The plot – leading to multiple deaths and fascinating revelations – will keep any crime fiction fan engaged and entertained from start to finish. And the ultimate resolution for Jesse Stone bodes well for the future.
Disclaimer: A copy of this title were provided to BOLO Books by the publisher. No review was promised and the above is an unbiased review of the novel.