Sunday, May 22, 2022

Review of "Robert B. Parker’s Damned if You Do," by Michael Brandman

 Review of

Robert B. Parker’s Damned if You Do, by Michael Brandman ISBN 9781410461407

Five out of five stars

Very good, but not one of the best

 Jesse Stone is called to a seedy motel where there is a dead woman on the bed in one of the rooms. She was clearly in her early twenties and Jesse has an itch in his mind that he should somehow know her. There are many indications that she was a prostitute, and the case is one that Jesse cannot let go of. At the least, he wants to learn her name so that she does not forever remain a Jane Doe.

 Armed with this determination, Jesse seeks help anywhere he can find it, whether it be in law enforcement or in organized crime. Getting nowhere with traditional law enforcement, he consults with mobster Gino Fish. He is given a name of a madam and from there he is able to establish her identity. In order to make an engaging story, this knowledge puts Jesse in the middle of a significant turf war.

 A new character named Fat Boy Nelly is introduced and there is a secondary plot based on a company that buys up nursing homes with the goal of exploitation in pursuit of profit. Jesse handles them as well as he navigates his way between two ruthless men determined to have their way in the lucrative business of prostitution.

 Stories featuring Jesse Stone are always interesting and well worth reading. However, this is not one of the best in the series. The dialog lacks the highest level of crispness so characteristic of the Stone novels of Parker. The secondary plot gives Jesse something else to do but was not really needed in the pursuit of the primary goal.

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