Fool Me Twice by Robert B. Parker (Michael Brandman)
Robert B. Parker died in 2010. This novel was released in 2013. It is not Parker’s own work, of course (unless a seance was employed), but that of Michael Brandman, approved by the Parker estate. It’s understandable why Brandman has been chosen. He writes like Parker and Fool Me Twice is a great example of this. There are some spoilers here.
Jesse Stone is a former LA homicide detective who has upped sticks and moved to the east coast; Paradise, Massachusetts to be exact. It’s a small, but not that quiet, place of yachts and unemployment and Stone enjoys his new role as Chief of Police. But, like Jessica Fletcher in Cabot Cove, Jesse Stone soon realises that Paradise is anything but sleepy.
Hollywood has come to town. A film starring big star, Marisol Hinton, is being shot across the area and the police department are under pressure to cope. Although he has met an attractive line producer with the studio, Frankie Greenberg, and proceeds to bump uglies with her, Stone’s life is complicated by a perceived threat to Hinton from her estranged meth-addicted husband. The police chief arranges for Crow, a First Nations bodyguard, to provide protection for the fearful, if obnoxious, celebrity, and so rests slightly easier.
But movies are not the only thing that Jesse has on his mind. Neither is his next round of hot sex with Frankie. Calls are coming in about unexpected hikes in the water rates of Paradise and some citizens are not happy. Jesse investigates and finds that the problem is much larger than it first seemed, much larger. Head of the water department, William J. Goodwin, is an environmental activist who has a serious gripe with water wastage. He has apparently decided to take matters into his own hands but without the necessary legal approval. It’s a mess for everyone.
As if all of that isn’t bad enough, Jesse has to contend with the wayward daughter of local bigwigs. Courtney Cassidy’s behaviour is spiralling out of control. She has already caused a road traffic accident in front of Chief Stone, but seems totally unconcerned. She is again caught, twice more, using her phone whilst driving and is forced to do community service at the police station. Jesse Stone has plans to help Courtney even if her parents don’t seem to care about her as they tear each other to pieces in their domestic war. It seems to be an uphill struggle for him and his long-suffering colleague, Molly Crane, to reach Courtney, but they generously persevere.
The three strands in this story weave nicely, but separately, throughout as Stone juggles his resources for Paradise. It’s not a complicated plot, nor is it particularly profound. But it is enjoyable. Jesse Stone is a likeable personality with a raw edge to his character. He gets the freedom to behave in a way that Spencer – Parker’s other famous character – wouldn’t. The language is more mature than in the Spencer series, and are the sexual elements. Interestingly, and Rebel Voice loves when this happens, there are vague references to Spencer and a slight cross-over of characters.
When Marisol Hinton’s husband eventually turns up on set, the results are catastrophic. Stone is forced to take a back seat when an arrogant FBI agent enters the frame to conduct an investigation into the hubbie’s handiwork. But he figures without the tenacity and rebellious nature of the Paradise Chief of Police.
Jesse Stone is like Jessica Fletcher meets Lucas Davenport meets Spencer. He’s the love child of Dave Robicheaux and Allan Pinkerton. He likes his drink but is battling his problems and is therefore teetotal at this time. He likes to shag and appears to have no major difficulty in attracting members of the fairer sex. He also likes to keep his town peaceful and prosperous. If he ran for President, Bernie Sanders would vote for him and Nancy Pelosi would try to ride him. He would likely ignore both and go fishing.
Fool Me Twice is a solidly simple crime thriller with great settings, great characters and a fine plot. It’s a series worth investing in and one that is sure to run for some time yet. Jesse Stone is being portrayed on TV, in film, by none other than Tom ‘Magnum’ Selleck. The latest in the TV series is Jesse Stone: Lost in Paradise. Rebel Voice has not seen any of these made for TV films but would watch one. Have you an opinion on the quality of the adaptation?
Sult scale rating: 7 out of 10. Not quite as squishy as Spencer but with the same fast pace, confident dialogue and interesting personalities. Fool Me Twice is another hit in a very good series and one which Rebel Voice recommends for fans of basic crime thrillers with a heart. Think Murder She Wrote with sex, profanity and an overall edge.
Here’s another in the Jesse Stone series: