MysteryPeople Q&A with Reed Farrel Coleman

Our January Pick Of The Month, Where It Hurts, is another exquisite detective novel from Reed Farrel Coleman, delivering a detective as compelling as his plot with Coleman’s latest creation, Gus Murphy. Gus is a former cop hanging by a thread after the death of his son. When the son of a criminal Gus had previously arrested is murdered, the situation sucks Murphy back into the maelstrom of a cop’s life and causes him to reevaluate his life. Reed was kind enough to talk about characters new and old, and writing in general. He joins us Saturday, January 30th, at 5 PM to speak and sign his lates.t 

MysteryPeople Scott: What drew you to create a character like Gus Murphy for a series?

Reed Farrel Coleman: Gus is one of those rare characters that appeared in my head at the same moment as the plot and setting. I don’t think I could separate Gus from the narrative from the setting. That is always an encouraging sign for me as a writer. When I feel the protagonist is of the place and of the story, it gives me a big advantage when setting out on a new project. I am always suspect of novels when I don’t feel the protagonist is of the setting. Sure, it’s interesting to put your protagonist in an unfamiliar setting to see how he or she reacts, but I never want to feel like you could plug protagonist A into setting X, Y or Z and have it work together. The rare exception, a character like Reacher, sort of brings his own personal setting along with him.

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MysteryPeople Q&A with Reed Farrel Coleman

In Robert B. Parker’s The Devil Wins, Reed Farrel Coleman’s second outing with Parker’s character Jesse Stone, the Paradise, Mass. police chief discovers a fresh body with ties to two girls gone missing decades before. The girls were friends of Stone’s deputy, Molly, and her past becomes tied to the case. It is a blend of aesthetics between creator and the author carrying the torch. The final passage reminded me of something the great Ross McDonald would write. We caught up with Reed to talk about the book and how the series has developed.


MysteryPeople Scott: Much of The Devil Wins revolves around Jesse’s deputy, Molly, and an incident from her past. What made you want to put the spotlight on her?

Reed Farrel Coleman: One of the aspects of my job in taking over the series is to work within the spaces that Bob Parker left me to operate in. One of the areas I believe Mr. Parker would have eventually delved into is the lives of Jesse Stone’s supporting cast. In his Jesse novels he has touched upon the lives of Molly, Suit, and Captain Healy, but never very deeply. I thought this was a great opportunity to see Molly, one of the very popular characters in the series, in a different light. As someone and something more than Jesse’s foil for wisecracks and banter.

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Shotgun Blast From The Past: Two Barrels of Jesse Stone

  • Review by MysteryPeople Scott

Reed Farrel Coleman’s second book in his continuation of Robert B. Parker’s Jesse Stone series, The Devil Wins, comes out next month. Anticipating his new novel got me thinking about the first two books to introduce and feature Robert B. Parker’s tarnished police chief: Night Passage and Trouble In Paradise. Parker created Stone as a means to stretch his writing muscles in ways he didn’t get to with his popular private eye Spenser. In doing so, he created one of his more complex series characters.

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