Robert B. Parker's the Devil Wins: A Jesse Stone Novel

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9780399169465: Robert B. Parker's the Devil Wins: A Jesse Stone Novel

A Nor’easter blows into Paradise and churns up the past—in the stunning new addition to Robert B. Parker’s New York Times–bestselling series featuring Police Chief Jesse Stone.
 
In the wake of a huge storm, three bodies are discovered in the rubble of an abandoned factory building in an industrial part of Paradise known as The Swap. One body, a man’s, wrapped in a blue tarp, is only hours old. But found within feet of that body are the skeletal remains of two teenage girls who had gone missing during a Fourth of July celebration twenty-five years earlier. Not only does that crime predate Jesse Stone’s arrival in Paradise, but the dead girls were close friends of Jesse’s right hand, Officer Molly Crane. And things become even more complicated when one of the dead girls’ mothers returns to Paradise to bury her daughter and is promptly murdered. It’s up to Police Chief Jesse Stone to pull away the veil of the past to see how all the murders are connected.

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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 Blind Spot, 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-one novels, including nine books in the critically acclaimed Moe Prager series. He is a three-time recipient of the Shamus Award for Best Detective Novel of the Year, a winner of the Barry and Anthony Awards, and is a three-time Edgar Award nominee. An adjunct instructor at Hofstra University and an instructor for MWA U, he lives with his family on Long Island.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

1

Jesse  Stone no longer ftlt adrift.
No longer a man caught between two coasts, he had finally left his days as an L.A. homicide detective behind him. If not his private shame at how his life there had gone to hell. He was chief of police in Paradise, Mass.This was his town now. Yet there were still some things about the East Coast and the Atlantic he had never gotten used to and wasn't sure he ever would. Nor'easters, for one. He found their brooding, slate-gray clouds and roiling tides a little unnerving. These late-fall or winter storms seemed to blow up out of spite, raking across whole swaths of New England or the Mid­ Atlantic, leaving nothing but pain in their wake.

As was his habit, he drove through the darkened streets of Paradise in his old Ford Explorer before heading horne. He wanted to get a few hours' sleep before going back to work. Maybe a drink, too. The storm wasn't supposed to make landfall until about midnight, but the winds were bending trees back against their will, sleet already pelting his windshield. Jesse shook his head thinking  about that. About how storms in the east warned you they were coming. About how they told you when they were coming and then kicked your ass.

It was different out west. He remembered how, when he was a kid in Tucson, a few inches of unexpected rain would morph into the cascading wall of a flash flood, washing away everything before it. One minute people would be horseback riding or hiking through bone-dry arroyos and the next they'd  be swallowed up by waters squeezed between canyon walls and ground sun baked so mercilessly hard it could not soak up a drop of rain. Jesse remembered that he had once gone out with his dad, searching for some missing hikers after one of the floods. How they had come upon the body of a drowned horse. It had been many years since he had thought of that horse, its carcass rotting in the Arizona sun.

Then in L.A. there were the choking Santa Ana winds that would blow across the mountains, swoop down into the valleys and through the canyons from the Mojave. The Santa Anas brought destruction with them, too, sucking the moisture out of the vegetation, wildfires following in their path. Fires that would consume whole hillsides, one after the other. Sometimes the winds blew so strongly through the  canyons that  they howled. His ex-partner used to say it was Satan whistling while he worked. At the moment, Jesse felt about as far away from those Santa An as as a man could get, but he thought he could still hear Satan's whistling in  the  winds that  buffeted his SUV.

There weren't many cars on the road, but a  few brave or stupid souls dared the weather. Jesse knew most of the vehicles. Robbie Wil­ son, the fire chief, was out in his red Jeep, looking for trouble. Jesse didn't have much patience for men like Wilson, guys who liked being big fish in tiny ponds. Little men with big chips on both shoulders. Men with something to prove, always on the prowl for a chance to prove it. Jesse could never figure out what it was Robbie Wilson had to prove. He also hated that Wilson refused to call him by his first name, always calling him Chief or Chief Stone.

Alexia Dragoa, one of the few commercial fishermen who still sailed out of Paradise, was coming from the docks in his ancient F-150.That damned pickup was nearly all rust.The thing was like an old married couple who stayed together more out of habit than any­ thing else. No doubt Alexia had been securing his boat, the Dragoa Rainha, in anticipation of the storm. Jesse gave the fisherman a wave in passing. Dragoa, a gruff Portuguese SOB, couldn't be bothered to return the gesture. Par for the course) Jesse thought. Par for the course.

Bill Marchand was out in front of his insurance brokerage on Nan­ tucket Street, wrestling the wind for control of a storm shutter. Jesse pulled over to lend him a hand. Bill and Jesse were friendly, if not exactly friends. Jesse didn't have friends, not the way other people had friends. But Marchand  sponsored the police softball team and was generous with local charities. In all the years Jesse had served as chief, there hadn't been many town selectmen who'd earned his respect. Most selectmen had proven themselves craven and spineless, rarely backing Jesse or the department in tough situations. Bill Marchand was the exception. He was a thoughtful  man who had usually based his support not on the direction of the political currents but on the facts before him.

"Let me get that for you," Jesse said, pinning the shutter to the wall.
 
"Thanks, Jesse. It's  gonna be a bad one, this nor'easter. You been through enough of these, you can smell it on the wind."

"One is  enough of these." Jesse used his free hand to lift up the fleece-lined collar of his jacket against the sleet. The wind was gust­ ing more intensely. "Ready for the shutter?" Jesse asked.

"I've got the latch ready."
 
Jesse forced the shutter closed, Marchand helping the last foot or two. When the shutter was in place, the insurance broker latched it closed.

"I hope the damned thing holds. I've had to replace these shutters twice," Marchand said, raising his voice above the wind.
 
'Trn sure your insurance will cover it."
 
"You're a funny man, Jesse Stone. Thanks again," Marchand said, offeringJesse his gloved right hand. "It's gonna be a bad one, all right. I'll be busy for weeks after this. We'll have to call adjusters in from all over the States. You watch yourself out there."

But it was Jesse's job  to watch out for everyone else. He waited for Marchand  to get into his massive Infiniti SUV and drive offbefore pulling away himself. As Jesse was about to turn for horne, he caught sight of another vehicle he recognized. It was John Millner's beat-up Chevy van. Millner was a career criminal, a petty thief who'd been in and out of commonwealth correctional facilities during Jesse's tenure as chie£ Millner was from the Swap-Southwest Area of Paradise­ the only rough part of town. But even the Swap was changing. It was turning into a hipper, more ethnically diverse part of Paradise. Mill­ ner's family was old-school Swap and John was more a lowlife than a tough guy. A parasite, an opportunist, not a mastermind.

Jesse followed the white van at a distance up into the bluffs that overlooked the ocean and the rest of town to the south. The Bluffs were where the rich founders of Paradise had built their big fussy houses more than a  century and a half ago. Most of those families were gone, their manses knocked down, properties long since sold off. A few, like the Salter place, remained  as summer homes. Many had fallen into disrepair.

Millner's van pulled off the road by a  darkened behemoth  of a house: the old Rutherford place. It had been vacant for Jesse's entire tenure in Paradise. For years there had been efforts by the town's his­ torical society to get it named to the commonwealth's register of historical places, but those avenues had finally been exhausted, and come spring the Rutherford place would be demolished. Jesse had a pretty good idea of what Millner meant to get up to. Giant old houses were lined with miles of copper wiring and other metals that could be sold off to scrap dealers at good prices. The problem for crooked scav­ engers like Millner  was opportunity.  You needed time to  break through plaster walls and lath to get to the wiring. And a big storm had opportunity written all over it. Emergency situations stretched the cops thin, especially small-town forces like the Paradise PD.

Normally, Jesse would  have given Millner enough rope to hang himself. He would have let him break into the condemned house before arresting him, but Jesse didn't have time for that now, not with the storm blowing in. When Millner, all six-foot-six of him, got out of his vehicle and went to swing open the van's side door,Jesse shined his Maglite in the thief's face.

"Who the hell is that?" asked Millner, holding his hand before his eyes to block the light.

"It's Chief Stone, John. What are you doing here?"
 
Millner hemmed and hawed, thinking of any reasonable lie. "Don't bother," Jesse said. 'Tm  not in the mood for your crap.

Consider yourself lucky I don't want to deal with youtonight. Now get out of here and don't let any of my people catch your ass  up here again."

Millner didn't say a word, just got back into his van and drove away down toward town. Jesse watched the van's taillights until they disappeared. Then  he stepped to the edge of the bluff on which the Rutherford house stood. He looked out at the vast blackness of the Atlantic. He listened to the bones of the old house creak in the wind, listened to the wind whistling through the broken windows. He thought he heard the devil at work. He decided he really needed that drink.

 
2

He supposed they were all thinking the same thing: This can't be hap­ pening. Not again. Not after all these years. But it was happening, only this time they weren't a bunch of kids with too much Southern Comfort and Thai stick in them. That first time, it was some inno­ cent fun gone sideways. Severely sideways, plunging them into a para­ lyzing hell with slick, jagged walls from which there would be no escape. None. Not ever. That they were here to kill their old friend proved as much.

They had been given a temporary reprieve, a cruel reprieve, lasting just long enough to fool them into believing they had put real dis­ tance between that old evil and the fragile lives they had built in the meantime. Lives that  included wives and lovers, children, careers, small successes, and grander failures, but haunted  lives just the same. Haunted because distance from evil is  a myth of time, because they were never more than one restless night or, worse still, a tainted moment of joy away from it. 
 
The wind rattled the windows and the loading bay door. The plinking of sleet was less urgent now that the snow was falling in sheets and collecting on the corrugated  metal roo£ Raw, cold air seeped into the maintenance shed like an accusation and made heav­ ing clouds of their breath. Small plumes of breath carne from the mouth of the nude man on the floor at their feet. His wrists and ankles were trussed behind him and his sun-streaked brown hair was caked with the drying blood that had leaked from the welt at  the base of his skull. His broken lower jaw was unhinged, his mouth a wreck of splintered teeth and bone. After the pipe had been laid into him, the spray ofblood had given the air a coppery tang that the two other men could almost taste. But the blood had settled out of the air like silt out of water. Now the place smelled only ofburnt black motor oil, gasoline fumes, and antifreeze.
 
"What'd you do with his clothes?"
 
"The furnace in the church." "His duffel bag?"
 
"It's a  big furnace. Burnt that up, too. Nothing but old smelly clothes and a Bible, anyways."
 
"Okay, drag that canvas over here and wrap it around his head."
 
"You really gonna do this?"
 
"We are."
 
"But that's Zevon, man. He was our friend once."
 
"Friends don't come back to town to fuck up everyone else's lives. If he wanted to stay my friend, he should have stayed lost. You may not have anything to lose, but I do."
 
"But-"
 
"But nothing. We talked this through. We all agreed. It's  too late now, anyway. He's already more than  half dead. Now get the canvas and do what I told you.The storm's blowing in faster than we thought and he's going to be here soon to get rid of the body. C'mon."
 
The unconscious man moaned a little as the coarse, mildewed fab­ric was wrapped around his head. "What's the canvas for, anyways?" "Think about it."
 
"Oh."
 
"Exactly. You got the tarp ready for him? The rope?" "Yeah."

Outside there was already six inches on the ground and the roads were slick from the layer of sleet that had come before the snow. As he swung around to back up to the bay door, he checked his rearview mirror and saw two quick flashes of lightning and heard two muted claps of thunder. It was done. Zevon was dead. Now the time had come to play his part in keeping the past buried. Yet he understood that this particular episode of thunder and lightning, like their prior sins, was of their own doing and pushed them even further away from heaven than they already were. That  the past was unrelenting and that no grave was deep enough to keep it buried forever.

 
3
 
Jesse  hadn't slept a wink after getting horne. He hadn't tried. He did manage to polish off two Black Labels. That's why he'd headed horne in the first place. Sleep hadn't ever been a part of the plan, not really. It was always about the drinks. Drinkers are great rationalizers, spin­ ning tales that only they will hear. Tales only they would believe.Jesse kept a bottle of something in his desk drawer at the station, but he didn't generally prefer drink at work or when the sun was up. Corning horne, having a drink before dinner, then one or two afterward, was sometimes how he got through the day. He knew his bottle of John­ nie Walker was horne waiting for him like a faithful wife. He'd had a wife once, just not a faithful one.
 
His ritual entailed pouring the drink-sometimes on the rocks, sometimes in a tall glass with soda-stirring it with his finger, licking the scotch off his finger, raising a toast to his poster of Ozzie Smith, and taking that first sip. Sometimes he savored it. Sometimes, like that night, it was open wide and down the hatch. Any confirmed drinker knows that ritual is  as integral to the addiction as the drink­ ing itself. Dix was fond of saying that ritual was a secondary reinforce­ ment. Jesse laughed at the notion of secondary reinforcement. He liked the drinking well enough all  by itself. He enjoyed the ritual on its own merits. He'd gotten some food in him, taken a shower, and watched a half hour of weather reports before heading back to work.
 
Whatever sleep Jesse had managed carne on the cot in his office. He was still on the cot, staring up at the ceiling, when the first dull rays of light filtered ...

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Descrizione libro G.P. Putnam s Sons, United States, 2015. Hardback. Condizione libro: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. A Nor easter blows into Paradise and churns up the past in the stunning new addition to Robert B. Parker s New York Times bestselling series featuring Police Chief Jesse Stone. In the wake of a huge storm, three bodies are discovered in the rubble of an abandoned factory building in an industrial part of Paradise known as The Swap. One body, a man s, wrapped in a blue tarp, is only hours old. But found within feet of that body are the skeletal remains of two teenage girls who had gone missing during a Fourth of July celebration twenty-five years earlier. Not only does that crime predate Jesse Stone s arrival in Paradise, but the dead girls were close friends of Jesse s right hand, Officer Molly Crane. And things become even more complicated when one of the dead girls mothers returns to Paradise to bury her daughter and is promptly murdered. It s up to Police Chief Jesse Stone to pull away the veil of the past to see how all the murders are connected. Codice libro della libreria AAC9780399169465

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Descrizione libro G.P. Putnam s Sons, United States, 2015. Hardback. Condizione libro: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. A Nor easter blows into Paradise and churns up the past in the stunning new addition to Robert B. Parker s New York Times bestselling series featuring Police Chief Jesse Stone. In the wake of a huge storm, three bodies are discovered in the rubble of an abandoned factory building in an industrial part of Paradise known as The Swap. One body, a man s, wrapped in a blue tarp, is only hours old. But found within feet of that body are the skeletal remains of two teenage girls who had gone missing during a Fourth of July celebration twenty-five years earlier. Not only does that crime predate Jesse Stone s arrival in Paradise, but the dead girls were close friends of Jesse s right hand, Officer Molly Crane. And things become even more complicated when one of the dead girls mothers returns to Paradise to bury her daughter and is promptly murdered. It s up to Police Chief Jesse Stone to pull away the veil of the past to see how all the murders are connected. Codice libro della libreria AAC9780399169465

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