Robert B. Parker’s Damned If You Do
by Michael Brandman
Overview: The woman on the bed was barely out of her teens. She hadn’t been exactly beautiful, but she’d tried to make the most of her looks. Now, defiled and alone in a seedy beachfront motel, she was dead. And Paradise police chief Jesse Stone doesn’t even know her name.
Whoever she is, she didn’t deserve to die. State police captain Healy’s resources turn up nothing helpful, and Gino Fish, who knows his way around dark places, is characteristically uncooperative. Unwilling to take no for an answer, Jesse continues digging on his own, only to find himself caught in the crosshairs of a bitter turf war between two ruthless pimps, Thomas Walker and Fat Boy Nelly, and a beautiful woman to whom they both lay claim. Jesse tries for a diplomatic solution, but before it’s over, more blood will spill.
My Thoughts: This baby was part of the “Fortunate Finds” section of the library. Which apparently means, they anticipate so many people wanting to read it that you aren’t allowed to renew it. Totally understandable, except that the book is not worth the paper it’s written on.
This is the 12th book in the Jesse Stone series (I haven’t read any of the others) and Robert Parker was the original author. After he died, Michael Brandman wrote 3 books as part of the series going in a sort of, but not really ghost writing way. The writing was extremely juvenile, especially for the subject matter (prostitution, murder, etc.). I was not at all impressed. Damned If You Do actually turned me off of ever picking up another Jesse Stone novel, regardless of whether Brandman or Parker wrote it.
The main character, Jesse Stone, was an idiot. He’s essentially Barney Fife, except he’s also a bully. He’s supposed to be the good guy, the one you’re rooting for, but all I could think whenever he was doing or saying anything is, “what a schmuck!” Threatening (mostly innocent) people for information on their guilty acquaintances is not something the actual police would do. Granted this takes place in a small town, but it’s still a butthead move.
Some of the other characters probably would’ve been fine given more to do within the story. As it was, they were useless and a few were unnecessary altogether. At one point, Stone gets information from a nun (I honestly don’t remember her name — shocker!) and basically asks her out to dinner. Nothing is ever mentioned again about the dinner or the nun. Seriously?! I don’t need any romance in an action story, but don’t add unnecessary bits to the story and then never bring them up again.
Speaking of action, this was seriously lacking from the story. There was no real build up to “action” sequences in the book. Then where you’re expecting action, there’s no change in pace from the rest of the book. I was actually bored through the climax and wrap up. Frankly, the only reason I finished Robert B. Parker’s Damned If You Do is because it fervently bothers me when I don’t finish a book.
In case you’re still unsure of where I stand in this review (you shouldn’t be), I would not recommend Robert B. Parker’s Damned If You Do to anyone. It would be an absolute waste of your time. I already wasted mine; there’s no reason anyone else should.
1.5 out of 5 Bookmarks = I didn’t like it at all, but hate (rating it 1) seems too harsh.