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Small-town Massachusetts Police Chief Jesse Stone’s lifelong drinking problem hits bottom in “The Hangman’s Sonnet” as he anguished over the death of his fiancee, who was murdered in “Debt to Pay.”

Now, in “Colorblind,” Reed Farrel Coleman’s fifth Jesse Stone novel (the latest installment in a series originated by the late Robert B. Parker), Stone returns to work after a long overdue month in rehab.

Any hope he could ease back into the job is dashed when a young black woman with a white boyfriend is raped and murdered. At first, Jesse thinks the case resembles another from years ago, but when a cross is burned on the lawn of another interracial couple, Jesse recognizes a new kind of trouble has come to the town of Paradise.

“Colorblind” is a further advance in Coleman’s effort to make this series his own. For one thing, he has made no attempt to mimic Parker’s idiosyncratic writing style. For another, he has made the protagonist more human and memorable. Also, this time around, he has changed the fictional seaside town of Paradise too, diversifying its ethnic and racial makeup with a wave of outsiders moving in from nearby Boston.

The result is another well-written, fast-paced yarn from one of the acknowledged masters of crime fiction.

 

‘Robert B. Parker’s Colorblind’

by Reed Farrel Coleman

G.P. Putnam’s Sons

GRADE: B

 

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