Colorblind by Robert B Parker and Reed Farrel Coleman
This is one more in the highly popular Jesse Stone series which follows the Massachusetts police chief as he struggles with alcoholism and a spate of racially motivate attacks. Stone has returned to Paradise after a stint in rehab. This time he’s serious about giving up the bottle. But it’s not as straightforward as he thought. Temptation is everywhere and it doesn’t help when crime in his town, and those neighbouring, spikes.
When a young black woman is found raped and beaten to within an inch of her life, Stone quickly determines that she is the victim of a racist assault. Matters further deteriorate when a mixed race couple have a cross burned into the grass of their garden. As the initial victim was also in a relationship with a white man, it looks to Stone as if someone (s) is specifically targeting those in mixed relationships.
It just so happens that a renowned white supremacist has surfaced in the area and it looks like a given that he has had something to do with the attacks. But proving it is a different matter. When the young black woman dies, Jesse decides to step up his investigations, both inside and outside the law. He’s that kind of a guy. His problems are compounded, however, when one of his best cops pursues a wanted suspect in the cross burning, only to shoot him dead in the darkness of an alleyway. Alisha claims that she was fired on first but a subsequent investigation uncovers no weapon on the suspect. It looks bad for her. To make matters worse, the dead man’s father is the white supremacist. Oops.
Luckily, Alisha’s chief believes in her and is determined to find out what exactly happened, much to the displeasure of the State Troopers who have become convinced that Jesse’s colleague is guilty. As Stone digs deeper, he finds a complex conspiracy designed to heighten racial tensions in the area before igniting a racial war. The white supremacist leader soon gets employment in the White House as an adviser to Donald Trump, where he ends up having an affair with both Melania and Ivanka as Gerard Kushner willingly becomes a cuckold, but only if he can watch whilst wearing his mother’s black underwear. Trump films the sexual antics of his family with the intent of putting them online and making a small fortune, but the Russians steal his videos and use them to force him into brow-beating the EU into compliance with Russian energy demands. Putin also shags both Melania and Ivanka in a contortionist’s three-way dream, but Kushner is forcibly removed from the room before proceedings begin, much to his chagrin and the destruction of his mama’s cami knickers. Donald’s son-in-law subsequently climbs into bed with Justin Trudeau where they whisper poetical platitudes into one another’s ear as Ivanka declares the Russian leader to be a sexual Bear, and Emperor of the Orgasm, a biological concept long denied her. OK, so Rebel Voice made that bit up, but it could happen, couldn’t it…?
Anyhow… the bold Mr Stone ends up running afoul of a professional killer employed by the supremacist group run by the possible adviser to Trump. It doesn’t go well for Jesse and he is lucky to survive an attack. It’s then that he discovers that there are bigger issues at stake, the entire town could be in jeopardy. But can Jesse and his people get there in time to save the day?
The Jesse Stone stories are the fruits of the labours of Robert B Parker. Parker died in 2010, leaving behind a fine legacy of great characters including Spenser, the Boston detective made even more famous in the excellent TV series starring Robert Urich (who died in 2002 aged 55). This series is fairly decent although Stone doesn’t have the humorous panache of Spenser and there is no equivalent to Hawk. But the settings are great, the character list considerable and the plotting strong. Reed Farrel Coleman has taken on the mantle of Jesse Stone’s puppet-master and does a reasonable job. It’s not gripping fare. Nor is it without its faults. But if you are after a light read then this will do.
The issue of racism is more relevant than ever, and therefore a topic to be welcomed in a novel such as this. It’s amazing to see the backlash, via the arts, that Trump has provoked with his pseudo-racist and xenophobic rhetoric. It’s doubtful that the Orange Menace will care about this novel, but it all adds up. The pressure is slowly but surely mounting. It will be of great interest to everyone to see if he gets a second term. It will also be of value to watch how the literary world reacts if he does.
Colorblind is an interesting read with a premise that has been tried, repeatedly, before. The writing is good enough but not sensational. In saying that, Parker’s own writing was never going to get him a Nobel Prize. It was always solid, often predictable in its story-lines, but enjoyable nonetheless. He created likeable personalities and perhaps that goes some way to explaining his great success. Jesse Stone is another nice person. His alcohol addiction is a thread throughout Colorblind and does have an impact. But an alcoholic cop? Hasn’t that been done before somewhere? Somewhere like… hmm… everywhere!
Sult scale rating: 6.5 out of 10. This book deals with strong issues but will not offend you. The characters are decent, as is the plot. The writing’s good. Colorblind will help you to quietly pass the time without rocking your fragile world. Look for more in this series as the alcoholic cop battles his demons in and out of the bottle.
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