Robert B. Parker's Colorblind (Jesse Stone Series #17)

Robert B. Parker's Colorblind (Jesse Stone Series #17)

by Reed Farrel Coleman

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Police chief Jesse Stone returns in the newest novel in Robert B. Parker's New York Times--bestselling series, and his newest case hits right at the heart of the Paradise police force.

Jesse Stone is back on the job after a stint in rehab, and the road to recovery is immediately made bumpy by a series of disturbing and apparently racially motivated crimes, beginning with the murder of an African American woman. Then, Jesse's own deputy Alisha--the first black woman hired by the Paradise police force--becomes the target of a sophisticated frame-up. As he and his team work tirelessly to unravel the truth, he has to wonder if this is just one part of an even grander plot, one with an end game more destructive than any of them can imagine.

At the same time, a mysterious young man named Cole Slayton rolls into town with a chip on his shoulder and a problem with authority--namely, Jesse. Yet, something about the angry twenty-something appeals to Jesse, and he takes Cole under his wing. But there's more to him than meets the eye, and his secrets might change Jesse's life forever.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780399574955
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/11/2018
Series: Jesse Stone Series , #17
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 2,812
File size: 942 KB

About the Author

Robert B. Parker was the author of seventy books, including the legendary Spenser detective series, the novels featuring Chief Jesse Stone, and the acclaimed Virgil Cole/Everett Hitch westerns, as well as the Sunny Randall novels. Winner of the Mystery Writers of America Grand Master Award and long considered the undisputed dean of American crime fiction, he died in January 2010. Reed Farrel Coleman, author of the New York Times--bestselling Robert B. Parker's The Hangman's Sonnet, has been called a "hard-boiled poet" by NPR's Maureen Corrigan and the "noir poet laureate" in The Huffington Post. He has published twenty-seven previous novels, including nine books in the critically acclaimed Moe Prager series, and, most recently, What You Break, featuring Gus Murphy. A four-time winner of the Shamus Award, he has also won the Anthony, Macavity, Barry, and Audie awards. Coleman lives with his family on Long Island.

Read an Excerpt


She thought she might pass out from the ache in her side or that her heart might explode in her chest as she ran barefoot along the dunes. Her beautiful long beaded braids, of which she was rightfully proud, slapped against her shoulders, her face, and fell in front of her eyes. She stopped, trying to catch her breath and to listen for them, for their heavy footfalls, but the low roar of the waves swallowed up all the sounds of the night, much as they had overwhelmed her cries for help.

Too tired to think, she bent over at the waist, sucking in huge gulps of crisp sea air. Her throat was raw from screaming. Sweat rolled down her forehead, stinging her eyes. It covered her dark black skin and soaked through her sports bra, panties, and torn warm-up pants. As her wind returned to her and the stitch in her side subsided, she felt the burn of her sweat seeping into the nicks and cuts around her ankles caused by the brambles and sharp dune grasses. Her jaw was throbbing from where one of them had smashed his fist into her face. And as she pressed her fingers to the swelling, the absurdity of the situation rushed back in like the waves on the beach below. This can't be happening to me. Things like this happen to other women.

She reached into her pocket to feel for the cell phone that she knew wasn't there, the image of it on top of the nightstand as clear to her as if she were back in the room at the bed-and-breakfast. Her skin was suddenly gooseflesh, her perspiration turning cold with fear, and she wished she'd listened to Steve and taken her phone, wished she'd been able to hang on to her Harvard hoodie. But the man who'd laid her out with that one punch, the man who'd torn at her pants and climbed on top of her, grunting, pawing her, had clutched it even after she'd kneed him in the groin. It was only when she rolled out from under him and ran, hearing laughter in the night, that she realized the man who'd attacked her wasn't alone. She ran down to the beach, hoping, praying, that she'd come upon another runner or a couple, maybe some kids around a campfire. But there was no one, not in either direction, not as far as she could see.

There were tears in her eyes. She was shaking and her heart was doing a fluttery thing she wasn't sure she had ever felt before. She'd been able to hold it together until then, until she saw that she was very alone on that stretch of Massachusetts beach. She decided to double back and head north along the shore toward the B-and-B in Swan Harbor. She prayed the men chasing her had gone south, trying to get ahead of her to wall her off and pin her in. Besides, she had no idea what was down the beach beyond the edge of darkness. At least she had some sense of the beach in Swan Harbor and knew that at one point the beach became rocky. Maybe there was a cave or a cove she could hide herself in until sunup. The thought of that, of the sun rising over the Atlantic, stopped the tears and filled her with hope. It was short-lived.

There they were, above her, to her left along the dunes. She ran faster, then stopped dead in her tracks at the sight of a shadowy figure thirty yards ahead of her on the beach. She turned the other way, but it was no good. Two of them were there. She ran to the dunes, her churning feet sinking into the cool sand as they came around slowly behind her, their sneering laughter filling the night. One of them yanked her braids so that her head snapped back and she lost her balance, the sand slipping out from under her feet. She fell awkwardly onto her neck and shoulder, landing so hard that pain shot down her whole left side, the jolt of it taking her breath away.

When she came back into the moment a few seconds later, she wished she hadn't. They had her pinned and he was on top of her again. Only this time his knees were on either side of her. She swung her head wildly from side to side, writhed beneath him, fighting to break free of the hands holding her down, but it was no good. He clamped a powerful hand under her chin to force her to look up at him.

"You just had to go and knee me, didn't you?" he said, squeezing her face so hard that her teeth cut into the insides of her cheeks. The taste of copper and iron flashed across her tongue. Her body steadied as much out of exhaustion as anything else. "You made a mistake doing that. A very big mistake. Get her damned pants off. Time to teach her a lesson."

She was at it again, her muscles giving absolutely everything they had left to give, and she screamed for all it was worth. But her voice was nearly gone, as was all of her strength.

"You done now?" he said in a whisper, his lips close to her ear. "Are you done?"

She was crying too fiercely to answer him, and before she could even think what to do next she felt his fist crash into her face again and again. Her body went limp and her mind empty. When she roused, she'd retreated into a peaceful world so deep inside her own head that she wanted to stay there forever. It was strange, she thought, how she could still hear the sea and could feel them dragging her by the feet, the sand and dune grasses tearing at her face. Then, just before she slipped completely away, she remembered that tomorrow was Columbus Day. The Ni–a, the Pinta, and the Santa Mar’a. The Ni–a, the Pinta, and the Santa Mar’a. The Ni–a . . . She could no longer hear the ocean.


Everything was completely different, yet just the same. Paradise was as it had always been in the fall, the trees exploding with color, the wind blowing in off the Atlantic biting with sharper teeth. Jesse Stone wasn't a man given to deep philosophical thought. He knew up from down, which base to cover when throws came in from the outfield, and, most important, right from wrong. His sense of right and wrong was like his North Star, guiding him through the wilderness of a world that had lost its way. Yet as he looked at the windblown swirl of reds, yellows, browns, and greens on the trees outside his new condo that morning, he could not help but think it strange that the beauty of the leaves was an expression of their deaths. As far as he could tell, there was only inevitability in human death and not much beauty in it. There was certainly no beauty in murder, the kind of death he was most familiar with.

He didn't waste any more time contemplating the leaves or why the familiar now seemed strange. There was the fact that his house had been sold that summer and that he'd moved into a two-bedroom condo in a development at the edge of the Swap. That wasn't it. He had moved many times in his life without it shaking his foundation. Nor was it that today would be his first day back on the job after two months away. He had to admit that it had taken some getting used to, being away from Paradise. Jesse hadn't taken any real time off since he'd been forced to walk away from baseball and joined the LAPD. That was strange, too, because it felt like it had happened both only yesterday and a million years ago. He knew exactly what it was that was causing him to see the world with new eyes, and he knew he was going to have to spend every day for the rest of his life getting used to it.

Patricia Cooper at the donut shop raised her right eyebrow at the sight of Jesse standing before her. For an old Yankee like Patricia, a raised eyebrow was tantamount to a fainting spell.

"Jeez, Jesse. Been a long time. Got so we were worried Molly would be warming your seat on a permanent basis."

"She would never let that happen."

One corner of Patricia's mouth turned up. "No, I s'pose not. An assorted dozen for you?"

"Better make that two dozen and a large cup of coffee. We've got that machine in the station now, but I've thought about the taste of your coffee every day since I've been gone."

The other corner of her mouth turned up.

Molly was seated at the front desk, not in JesseÕs office as heÕd expected. TheyÕd spoken a few times since heÕd returned, but like everything else since heÕd come home, their conversations had been just a bit different. The usual rhythm of their banter seemed out of joint. HeÕd supposed that was a function of MollyÕs anger at him for sticking her in a job she never wanted and for staying away a few weeks longer than heÕd planned to be gone.

Before he could open his mouth, Molly said, "Don't you ever do that to me again, Jesse Stone. God knows why I love you in the first place, but it won't last two more months of me sitting in that office." She pointed over her shoulder at the door with chief printed in black letters on the pebbled glass.

He placed the donuts in front of her. "Cross my heart, Crane."

"Put them in the break room yourself. Until you walk into that office back there, I'm still acting chief."

"Seems to me you're pretty comfortable with giving orders."

"Seems to me I hated every minute of it."

"How about the extra pay?"

When Molly smiled up at him, he knew things would be all right. Just as his sense of right and wrong had been his internal guide, Molly had long since become the person by whom he could set his watch.

Jesse took two donuts out of the box and left the rest right where they were. "I'm going into my office now, Crane. You can make an executive decision about what to do with the donuts." He turned and walked away.

"Jesse!" she called after him.

"What is it, Molly?"

"It's good to have you back."

"Good to be back. In ten minutes, come in and we'll talk over personnel and what's been going on while I've been gone."

The office was much as he had left it, if neater and a tad less dusty. But the essentials were in place: his worn glove and ball on his desk, the flags in the corner, the photos of the past chiefs on the wall, the slats of the old blinds open on the yacht club and Stiles Island. He sat behind his desk, his eyes immediately turning to the lower right-hand drawer, the drawer in which he had kept a bottle of Johnny Walker Black Label since he first arrived in Paradise. There was no bottle in there now. He was determined that there would never be one there again. He wasn't just playing at not drinking anymore or, as Dix phrased it, holding his breath to prove to the world he didn't need to drink. He'd been to rehab, finally, and had been sober for a few weeks. But he had been warned that the struggles might not begin in earnest until he got back to his familiar surroundings. Seeing the empty space where the bottle used to reside, smelling the scotch that wasn't there, he felt a phantom twinge, as if from a limb that had recently been removed.


Molly sat across the desk from him, a small pile of files between them. Jesse picked up the top file, opened it, and scanned the few sheets of paper within.

"How's Suit?"

Molly shook her head. "Even more boring now that he's married."

"Alisha," he said. "How's she doing?"

Molly's expression surprised him.

"What's that face about?"

She said, "I guess Alisha's feeling her oats."

"C'mon, Molly, this isn't Modern Farmer. What does that mean?"

"It's just that she's not the shy, quiet, obedient rookie anymore. She questioned the way a few of the older guys handled some things. They didn't like it much."

"Coming from a woman, you mean?"

Molly didn't answer.

"Or from an African American woman?"

Hiring Alisha hadn't been a popular move with the Board of Selectmen. Some of it had to do with her race, though Jesse suspected it had less to do with her gender or the color of her skin than budgetary concerns. They would have preferred he take on a retired big-city cop who already had a pension and medical benefits. But Jesse knew that hiring a retired cop came with baggage. He didn't need a cop who had bad habits or thought he was doing Paradise a favor, someone who could walk away the first time things got rough or he got an order he didn't like. Jesse wanted someone he could train himself, someone who would be committed to Paradise. Jesse recognized that the town was changing, that people from Boston were moving in and commuting. He wanted a more diverse force and for his cops to reflect Paradise's future and not only its past.

"I don't think it's that, Jesse," Molly said. "She's young, and you know how guys set in their ways can get."


"I was going to have to tell you anyway, so I might as well tell you now. For the last few weeks, we've been having some trouble with bikers, mostly in the Swap."

"Bikers as in biker gangs like Satan's Whores? I can deal with-"

She cut him off. "Not them, Jesse. These were skinhead types, belligerent, real troublemakers. They went into the Scupper and started squawking about how even lily-white places like Paradise were being overrun by 'mud people and inferior races.'"

"I've heard it all before. Same song, different day. We had them when I was a kid in Tucson and in L.A. Free speech comes in ugly forms, too. So what happened?"

"Joey the barman phoned it in to the station when some of the patrons took exception, and Alisha was in that sector. I sent Suit and Gabe as backup . . . just in case."

"Good decision. It's what I would have done."

"But when Suit and Gabe saw what was going on, they pulled seniority on Alisha and got between her and the skinheads. I wasn't there, but Gabe says it was getting pretty heated. Sounded to me like they did the right thing by taking charge."

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Robert B. Parker's Colorblind 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved every bit of the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another great Jesse Stone story. Reed Farrel Coleman does a good job continuing to write this Robert B. Parker series. This one really made you think about what’s going on in the world today and how people try to manipulate situations for their own purposes. Jesse’s also going through some rough times personally and trying to finally deal with his drinking issues. Finally there’s someone coming into his life that could make things interesting going forward. Well done!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Jessie at his best
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Two touchy subjects handled with skill.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I couldn't put this book down. It had me riveted from the first page to the last. I love the Jesse Stone character when Robert Parker introduced him 17 books ago and Farrell has continued the character in the same genre as Parker. Kudos to the Parker family for finding the perfect writer to continue the series. I'm looking forward to reading the next phase of Jesse Stone's life. (PS: I also love the movies as well.)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this story. Jessie stone is the best. I have read this series and have never been disappointed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good stuff
Marie Tassin 10 days ago
Robert Parker's Jesse Stone novels live on by the talents of Reed Coleman and Michael Brandman. I thank you both for a wonderful job of doing justice to his works!
1335sj More than 1 year ago
Jesse comes back to Paradise after a much-needed stay in rehab, he’s tired of fighting his battle with the bottle alone. When he goes back into the office he’s met with some disturbing news. There have been some racial incidents going on in Paradise, one that includes his officer Alicia Davis. While Jesse is trying to come to terms with his sobriety and keep things under control in Paradise, he’s faced with a full on race war. This thing has its tentacles stretched from upstate New York back down to Boston. Jesse realizes that there are too many coincidences in these crimes, he goes up against the State police on this one. This is another action-packed novel in this series. I think Mr. Coleman has done a great job with this series, I’m so glad that he’s kept it going. Disclosure: I would like to thank the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. The opinion expressed above are my own.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Suspenseful to the very end. Couldn’t put it down. Can’t wait u til the next one. Robert B Parker is my favorite author. Thank you for keeping him Alive .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If u .like Jesse Stone, you will like this one!
Bookaholic-mka More than 1 year ago
Another wonderful Jesse Stone novel. This time Jesse has the dreaded SS in his town, another horrid racist organization. Tying the problems, the deaths, and the unspoken all together, becomes quite a challenge. For that matter, handling his own problems is quite a challenge for Jesse. I’ve seen lots of different opinions about these books that Reed Farrel Coleman has completed and/or written to carry on the Jesse Stone that Robert Parker created. I don’t have an opinion about whether they read exactly as if Robert Parker wrote them. I know this. Reed Farrel Coleman is an excellent writer and has had his own successes long before writing Jesse Stone books. He should think it an honor to be able to finish Robert Parker’s creation. I’m a very untrusting soul without meeting someone in person but from what I’ve read about him I somehow think he is aware of that honor. Aside from all of the arguments, literary comments, and on and on…these are great books, good plots, good characters, characters that can make you feel what they feel. I’m not sure there is anything more to ask for than that he write more Jesse Stone books. Reed Farrel Coleman has some great series of his own. I’m going to find out if he has attained the same excellent level of writing as he did in this book. Somehow, I bet he did. ***This book was provided to me free of charge in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are definitely my own.
tedfeit0 More than 1 year ago
One would not expect racial unrest in the sleepy town of Paradise, MA, but Jesse Stone and his cops have their hands full. To begin with, a black woman is assaulted in a neighboring town and it is made to look like a murder that occurred in Paradise years before. The woman was in a relationship with a white man, and unfortunately she dies. Then another black female, Alisha, who Jesse hired for diversity purposes, responds to a call at a bar and is taunted by bikers. She also has a relationship with a white man. Soon, however, things get worse. A cross is burned on the lawn of Jesse’s old house, which was bought by a couple, a white woman and a dark Indian man, with two children. Apparently the fire was set with kerosene, and a check of places where it could have been bought turns up a CCTV image. When Alisha spots the person captured in the CCTV as she emerges from a bar, legally over the limit, she chases him into a blind alley and responds to what she believes is a shot by shooting and killing him. It turns out that the victim is the son of a strident agitator seeking to incite a race war. Of course, a black cop killing a white person is the perfect excuse. Especially when the investigation turns up no weapon by or near the victim. Jesse to the rescue. As a side story, Jesse now is abstaining from alcohol and is attending AA meetings. Mr. Coleman continues to live up to the standards set by Robert B. Parker in this latest addition to the Jesse Stone series, and it is recommended.
MonnieR More than 1 year ago
If I'm honest, although I very much enjoyed the other books by this author, who took over the series after the death of Robert B. Parker, they never quite measured up to the originals. This one, in which Jesse returns to his job after a couple of months in rehab, doesn't read like "classic" Jesse either. Rather, it does something that seems perfect to me after all these years: brings major changes to Jesse's life including a persona that seems a bit different (not the least of which is that he sometimes speaks in full sentences). It's also a great story that held my interest throughout; so if I'm right that this book signals the beginning of a new Jesse, I'm all for it. Jesse also has left his former home and moved to a condo, removed the bottle of booze from the bottom drawer of his desk at work, hired a newbie cop named Alisha and started going to AA meetings (the latter albeit reluctantly). Talk about a fresh start! Soon, he lands in the middle of a new case as well - the vicious beating and rape of a black woman. The M.O. reminds Jesse of a similar murder years earlier, and suspicions are that there's a connection to the Saviors of Society, who may be attacking interracial couples. Just what the normally peaceful town of Paradise needs. And then, the almost unthinkable happens: Alisha is accused of murdering an unarmed man - the son of the Saviors leader, no less. Despite the damning evidence against her, Jesse smells a rat and isn't willing to believe she's guilty as charged. Proving that, however, won't be easy; he'll need to garner all his notable investigative skills - and some help from friends - if he's to get to the bottom of what really happened before the Saviors take their demand for "justice" into their own hands. As all this is happening, Jesse continues to have mixed feelings about sobriety and meets a young man named Cole who, let's say, isn't fond of authority. Feeling some kind of connection, Jesse tries his best to help Cole (or at least keep him out of serious trouble). But will the kid be worth the effort? Maybe, maybe not; I'll never tell! I will, however, be looking forward to the next chapter in Jesse's new life. Many thanks to the publisher, via NetGalley, for the opportunity to read an advance review copy of this one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great story, relevant to the continuing history of the USA.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Although this is not exactly the late Mr. Parker style and the premise quite far fetched, alas does ring true of the current times, this is an outstanding Work by Mr. Coleman keeping the beloved Jesse Stone character alive and his creator legacy. And the surprises kept coming till the very end. Very satisfying.