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Book Reviews

Milt Gross Book Review: "The Devil Wins" by Reed Farrel Coleman for the late Robert Parker
By Milt Gross
Feb 7, 2016 - 9:43:00 AM

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The Devil Wins was started by the late Robert Parker before he died in 2010 and written by Reed Farrel Coleman. A typical Robert Parker book, fast, action packed, brief language. In short, Coleman wrote as if Parker himself had written it. Milt Gross photo.
I've read most Robert Parker books and was sorry to hear he had passed away in 2010...while at his desk writing. So The Devil Wins was actually written by fellow writer Reed Farrel Coleman, and written in such a late Robert Parker style that I couldn't tell the difference.

Same cynicism, same action, same solving the murders -- in this case, three.

This was a Jesse Stone novel, the one that takes place in the fictitious town of Paradise, somewhere northeast of Boston on the coast. Jesse Stone was fired from the Los Angeles Police Department and ended up in Paradise. I was in Los Angeles once and would have preferred Paradise.

As I usually don't, I won't go into the details of the tale. After all, it's a fiction tale, so the details may not be all that important. But after some slow going, our guy, Jesse, solves the crime. Which is important in mystery fiction.

What to me is a mystery is how the other writer, Reed Farrel Coleman, was able to write in what appears to be precisely the same style as did the late Robert Parker.

"Parker was born in Springfield, MA. In 1956 Parker married Joan H. Parker, whom he claimed to have met as a toddler at a birthday party. They spent their childhoods in the same neighborhood," according to Wikipedia.

"After earning a BA degree from Colby College, Parker served as a soldier in the US Army Infantry in Korea. In 1957, he earned his Master's degree in English literature from Boston University and then worked in advertising and technical writing until 1962. Parker received a PhD in English literature from Boston University in 1971. His dissertation, titled "The Violent Hero, Wilderness Heritage and Urban Reality," discussed the exploits of fictional private-eye heroes created by Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, and Ross MacDonald."

This 2015 publication, The Devil Wins, by G.P. Putnam's Sons, NY, is so new you can't renew it from the library. It is one of 13 Jesse Stone novels. The late Parker also wrote six Sunny Randall novels with which I'm not familiar, seven westerns of which I've read a couple, many Spenser mysteries that take place in and around Boston of which I've read most, four non-fiction books, and ten "also by Robert Parker" books.

The cover price is $27. lists the hardcover, which I read, for $18.68, the Kindle Version for $12.99, and an audio CD for $26.94.

You can probably find yours for free at your local library.

Milt Gross can be reached for corrections, harassment, or other purposes at

Milton M. Gross Copyright 2015

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