retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Reed Farrel Coleman is out with a new Jesse Stone novel, “Colorblind,” as he continues the series that was started by the great Robbert B. Parker, and it is a yet again a strong entry that advances the characters in new and mostly interesting ways.

One of the things that Coleman has done since taking over the Jesse Stone books is bring his own particular sensibility to the subject. Parker prided himself on being a novelistic minimalist, but that’s not where Coleman lives. He likes to dig into characters’ pain, the deeper the better, and he always has explored Stone’s alcoholism to a greater degree than Parker ever did. Parker liked to write Stone as a functional alcoholic, but Coleman harbors greater doubts about his functionality.

As “Colorblind” begins, Stone has returned from rehab, which is where he landed after falling apart after a personal tragedy. The novel explores Stone’s ability to balance his own healing process with the need to do his work, and in this case, the work is tough. A white nationalist group has begun operating in his town of Paradise, Massachusetts, and is getting increasingly aggressive about targeting African-Americans in town.

Coleman brings both nuance and reasonable moral outrage to the scenario; Stone, for all his failings, remains very much in the mold of a western sheriff charged with not just protecting his town but standing for moral clarity.

As with all of Coleman’s work, “Colorblind” is compelling, textured and a page-turner, especially for those of us who are longtime fans of the series (and the Tom Selleck movies based on the character, but that increasingly occupied as different universe as time wore on).

Except … for the first time in any book that Coleman has written, I have one enormous problem with a narrative choice that leads to a twist that I cannot and will not describe here because it would be a spoiler. I can’t tell whether his choice is deliberate, or whether it just doesn’t work … except that it ends up with the reader (at least this one) knowing something a lot sooner than Jesse, which doesn’t make sense, because he should be smarter about this stuff than I am.

Maybe someday I’l have the chance to ask Coleman. But I will say that despite this one misgiving, I’m happy to recommend “Colorblind,” and I look forward to his next contribution to the series.

MNB readers know that I am an enormous fan of Albariños, a terrific white wine that mostly comes from the Galicia region of Spain. Just had the opportunity to taste a new one with which I was not familiar - the 2016 Fulget Albariño, which is crisp and fresh and terrific with pretty much any spicy seafood dish.

That’s it for this week. Have a great weekend, and I’ll see you Monday.

KC's View: