Pick of the Week: Where It Hurts by Reed Farrel Coleman

reedfarrelcolemanIf you enjoy a well-crafted mystery with a cast of colorful characters, I have just the book for you.

Seasoned mystery author Reed Farrel Coleman is known among mystery readers for his hard-boiled detective series featuring private investigator Moe Prager. In 2014, he also took over the late Robert B. Parker’s Jesse Stone series. Coleman’s latest endeavor is a mystery series that really shows off his talent as a storyteller. Where It Hurts has it all: A compelling cast, a page-turning plot, dark humor and a strong sense of place.

where it hurtsColeman’s new protagonist is Gus Murphy, a retired Long Island cop whose life disintegrated after his teenage son suddenly died. Gus is a defeated man who lives in a dumpy hotel, where he drives the courtesy van and takes care of security. But one day his life is upended when ex-con Tommy Delcamino asks him to solve the murder of Tommy’s son.

Gus is slowly pulled out his fog of an existence and into the unsavory underbelly of Long Island to solve the crime. Along the way he gets help from two strong supporting characters: the mysterious hotel bellman from Warsaw, Slava Podalak, and a former police union chaplain, Bill Kilkenny. As Gus comes back to life, an empathetic, complex man emerges. What results is a superb, gritty story.

It’s going to be hard waiting to see what’s in store for Gus Murphy. In the meantime, I  look forward to getting to know Coleman’s other protagonist, Moe Prager. I’ve always been a huge fan of Robert B. Parker’s Spenser mysteries, but I think I need to check out the Jesse Stone novels now, knowing they are in good hands.

-Jo Hansen

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