Published on: September 16, 2016
Reed Farrel Coleman is out with his third Jesse Stone novel, "Debt To Pay," and he yet again proves not just a worthy successor to Robert B. Parker - who wrote nine Stone novels among the some 70 books that he turned out before he passed away in 2010 - but that he is a writer willing and able to go beyond the boundaries sketched out by Parker.
Especially as he got older, Parker specialized in a kind of minimalism, sometimes seeming to be trying to convey as much as he could through the fewest possible words. I admire that, as I admire so much of Parker's work. The chief differences between the Stone novels and the Spenser novels that made Parker famous were that the latter were written in a highly distinctive first person narrative, while the Stone books were third person; Spenser also was a more fully formed protagonist, while Parker seemed to enjoy showing Jesse Stone as someone still developing and maturing.
In "Debt To Pay," Coleman spends much of his time focusing on Stone's alcoholism, looking at his struggles to maintain sobriety while in a new relationship with a woman who he hopes can make him finally forget the ex-wife on whom he's always been obsessed. This is all interesting stuff, and it plays out against Stone's cat-and-mouse game as he hunts - and is hunted by - a professional killer who appeared in an earlier book. And the action moves from Paradise, Massachusetts, where Stone serves as police chief, to Dallas and back again ... the plot is edge-of-your-seat compelling, the dialogue is first rate, and the approach is reminiscent of Parker's while probing deeper into the mysteries of the characters' psyches.
The best thing about Coleman's Stone novels, beside the fact they keep alive a favorite character (who also has become known through the TV movies where he's played by Tom Selleck), is that they brought Coleman's other work to my attention. He's a terrific writer, and I recommend all his books to you.
One of the best things about the fall is that good movies start to come out. I don't know about you, but I found the summer to be pretty disappointing. (My favorite two movies of the season, I think, both starred Chris Pine - Hell or High Water
and Star Trek Beyond
But an example, I hope, of what we have to look forward to is the new Tom Hanks movie, Sully
, about Captain Chesley Sullenberger's heroic landing of a full passenger plane on the Hudson River when birds crashed into it and disabled its engines. Directed by Clint Eastwood - who keeps churning out movies at age 86 - Sully
is a fascinating look at the events of that day in January 2009, as well as the personal agonies being suffered by Sullenberger after the landing, despite the fact that everyone survived.
To be honest, I'm not a huge fan of Eastwood's directing style, which I often find to be too linear and often missing any significant tension. But I though Sully
was terrific - it has a tone of energy, and I think it benefits by a wonderful performance by Hanks.
See it. And if you can, see it on an IMAX screen, where it is even more impressive.
I have two wines to recommend to you this week - the 2014 Evolution Pinot Noir, from Oregon's Willamette Valley, which is utterly delicious, and the 2015 Commanderie de Peyrassol, a rose from the Provence region of France, which when served cold is perfect for those lingering summer days and nights.
By the way ... Sunday is National Cheeseburger Day. I don't know about you, but I'm planning to celebrate big time.
New MNB readers may want to take a look at the MNB list of best hamburger joins around the country, as suggested by readers. You can read it here
Also ... Business Insider
did a side-by-side comparison of In N Out vs. Whataburger. Also worth taking a look at, here
That's it for this week. have a great weekend, and I'll see you Monday.