Jesse Stone, still reeling from the murder of his fiancée by crazed assassin Mr. Peepers, must keep his emotions in check long enough to get through the wedding day of his loyal protégé, Suitcase Simpson. The morning of the wedding, Jesse learns that a gala 75th birthday party is to be held for folk singer Terry Jester. Jester, once the equal of Bob Dylan, has spent the last forty years in seclusion after the mysterious disappearance of the master recording tape of his magnum opus, The Hangman’s Sonnet.
That same morning, an elderly Paradise woman dies while her house is being ransacked. What are the thieves looking for? And what’s the connection to Terry Jester and the mysterious missing tape? Jesse’s investigation is hampered by hostile politicians and a growing trail of blood and bodies, forcing him to solicit the help of mobster Vinnie Morris and a certain Boston area PI named Spenser. While the town fathers pressure him to avoid a PR nightmare, Jesse must connect the cases before the bodies pile up further.
Review of The Hangman’s Sonnet
Readers of this series know about Jesse Stone’s drinking problem. This time, Jesse’s lack of control takes him to the brink of failure. Nevertheless, he must persevere or lose everything he’s worked for throughout his career.
Very little felt unnecessary in The Hangman’s Sonnet, except for a few scenes in which we met two of the “bad guys.” Some readers will like the cutaway to a bad guy’s viewpoint; I’m just not a fan of the technique.
Coleman’s solid plotting eventually brings us to exactly where we should wind up in a murder mystery, with a character confronting failure on many fronts. The dialogue is classic Parker—tight and crisp without a lot of wasted words. A very solid entry in the Jesse Stone series.