Robert B. Parker's Debt to Pay

Robert B. Parker's Debt to Pay

by Reed Farrel Coleman
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Overview

Robert B. Parker's Debt to Pay by Reed Farrel Coleman

In this brilliant novel in Robert B. Parker's New York Times bestselling series, police chief Jesse Stone faces a ruthless killer.

All is quiet in Paradise, except for a spate of innocuous vandalism. Good thing, too, because Jesse Stone is preoccupied with the women in his life, both past and present. As his ex-wife Jenn is about to marry a Dallas real-estate tycoon, Jesse isn't too sure his relationship with former FBI agent Diana Evans is built to last. But those concerns get put on the back burner when a major Boston crime boss is brutally murdered. Despite all evidence to the contrary, Jesse suspects it's the work of Mr. Peepers, a psychotic assassin who has caused trouble for Jesse in the past.

Peepers has long promised revenge against the mob, Jesse, and Suit for their roles in foiling one of his hits—and against Jenn as well. And though Jesse and Jenn have long parted ways, Jesse still feels responsible for her safety. Jesse and Diana head to Dallas for the wedding and, along with the tycoon's security team, try to stop Peepers before the bill comes due. With Peepers toying with the authorities as to when and where he'll strike, Jesse is up against the wall. Still, there's a debt to pay and blood to be spilled to satisfy it. But whose blood, and just how much?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780425279069
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/05/2017
Series: Jesse Stone Series , #15
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 54,038
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 7.40(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Robert B. Parker was the author of seventy books, including the legendary Spenser detective series, the Jesse Stone series, and the Virgil Cole/Everett Hitch Westerns. 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 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-three novels, including nine books in the critically acclaimed Moe Prager series, and most recently, Where It Hurts. 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 two-time Edgar Award nominee. Coleman lives with his family on Long Island.

Read an Excerpt

ONE

He didn't like exposing himself to video cameras when there were no crowds affording him his usual anonymity. His talent wasn't just for killing, but for blending in as well. He was like a khaki-colored pixel in a camouflage pattern. Stare at the pattern long enough and the individual pixels disappear. Today he meant to put the world on notice that he was back and the time had come to repay his creditors. He very much wanted to do both, and had waited more than a year for this opportunity. Still, he couldn't afford carelessness. He was seldom careless. He had taken precautions and the soaking rain was doing its part to cooperate. The gray was so heavy in the air that it seemed like its own weather condition separate from the rain and mist.

He parked the stolen Yaris out behind the building, because not even he could haul his intended cargo out the front door and hope to get very far. He went through his mental checklist, patted his pockets, and exited the car. He walked through the alleyway, turned right, and then right again. There were people on the street, many people, their heads down against the weather, too busy fussing with umbrellas to take notice of the little bearded man with the long gray hair and porkpie hat shuffling by them. Nor did they notice his large belly beneath the ill-fitting green mackintosh he'd bought at a church thrift shop outside Paradise. While he was unrecognizable, he made certain not to look directly into the security cameras as he entered the building.

He knocked at the office door, turned the handle, and let himself in. The young man sitting at the reception desk was really quite beautiful to look at. Dressed in an impeccably tailored designer suit of summer-weight wool, he had fine features, long lashes, eyes that matched the deep blue of his suit fabric, and perfectly coiffed dark blond hair. The light stubble on his face was shaved and shaped in such a way as to enhance the power of his angular jawline. He had an ingratiating smile full of straight white teeth. He stood up from behind his desk outside Gino Fish's office to greet the odd-looking little man standing before him, water dripping off the hem of his coat and the brim of his silly hat. Takes all sorts, he thought, and Gino did do business with a lot of unsavory types. The little man took two steps toward the receptionist.

"How may I help-"

The beautiful young man never finished his sentence or took another breath. He had been so focused on the odd man's bad gray wig and fake beard that he hadn't seen the blade in the man's small hand. He'd felt it, though, if only very briefly, as the assassin thrust the knife forward. Using his legs like a boxer to supply the necessary power, the little man plunged the razor-sharp blade through the receptionist's tailored suit jacket, his shirt, his perfectly tanned skin, and his breastbone. The blade cut a fatal gash in the young man's heart. With incredible speed and surprising dexterity, the killer removed the blade and thrust it deeply into the receptionist's throat, making sure the mortally wounded man could not cry out. Careful to avoid getting bloody, the killer caught the body by the sleeve and eased it gently to the floor as if placing a sleeping baby in its cradle. There was blood, but not nearly as much as there would have been had the killer reversed the order of the wounds.

He knelt down beside the results of his handiwork, wiping the blade off on the wool suit before replacing the assault knife back in his pocket. He lingered, admiring the fine features and lovely blue eyes of his victim. He stroked the body's still warm cheeks with the back of his hand. Ran his fingers over his dark blond hair. Shook his head in regret. Just because he lived to destroy didn't mean he had no appreciation of beauty. On the contrary, he had an abiding appreciation for it, though he resented beauty far more deeply. To be human was to possess opposing feelings. In this instance, it wasn't that he so much minded having to kill the man, but that circumstance dictated that he kill him quickly. How much more pleasure could he have derived from the experience had he been able to take his time? He took enormous delight in tearing beautiful things apart by the inch. Quelle dommage, he thought. What a pity.

He stood; removed the beard, wig, and hat; and placed them all in a plastic bag, then tossed the bag in the trash. Law enforcement already had epithelial and hair samples from any number of his crime scenes. They had samples of his blood from the incidents with Stone's deputy and Joe Breen, but it was of no consequence. They had no name, no face, no person to match them to, only a question mark and a despicable nickname. Sometimes he had to remind himself of his given name and to remember where he'd come from. Now was not the time to dwell on the past.

He removed the pillow from under his thrift-shop raincoat and, in a cruelly ironic gesture, placed the pillow beneath the murdered receptionist's head. Amused, he checked his watch and smiled. He was very good. Less than a minute had elapsed from the time he'd come into the office until he'd placed the pillow beneath the dead man's head. He retrieved his .22, stepped up to Gino Fish's office door, and knocked.

"Come on in, Drew," Gino said, his voice almost a purr.

The killer stepped into the office, closing the door behind him. The aging mobster's head was buried in the Friday edition of The Globe.

"We should be okay for our weekend on the Cape," Fish said, still not looking up. "Not supposed to rain again until late Sunday."

"Sorry to disappoint you, Mr. Fish," the killer said, gun hand raised. "I'm afraid Drew won't be accompanying you to the Cape this weekend, but don't be sad. I have other more exciting plans for you for the weekend."

Although Gino Fish had never seen or spoken directly to the man standing before him, he knew immediately who he was.

"Mr. Peepers. Fuck!"

The killer was tempted to put a bullet in a very painful but nonlethal area of Fish's body, but he fought the impulse to do so.

"If you refer to me by that name again, Mr. Fish, I promise you your death will take even longer and be far more painful than you could possibly imagine."

The old mobster tried to remain calm, though his left hand was trembling. "Then what should I call you?"

He thought about it, smiled a smug, self-congratulatory smile. "Call me Mr. Mantis."

Gino didn't argue. "All right, Mr. Mantis. You killed the boy, huh? Did you have to do that?"

Mr. Mantis nodded. "A shame, I agree. Nice-looking man. My compliments on your taste."

"This about that thing with Stone that went south?"

"What else? I warned the people who contacted me for you that if anything went wrong, you would pay the price for interfering in my affairs."

"I don't suppose there's any bargaining room here?" Fish bowed his head at the gun in the killer's hand. "I can offer you a big sum of cash to put that thing down and walk out of here. I'll see to Drew."

Mr. Mantis shook his head, smiling all the while.

"And I don't figure telling you that Vinnie Morris won't let this stand will intimidate you?"

Mr. Mantis continued shaking his head and smiling.

"Yeah, I didn't think so."

The killer motioned with his .22 for Gino Fish to stand.

"Slowly, Mr. Fish. You and I are going to take a walk down the hall and out the back door of the building."

Gino Fish didn't move. He was well aware of Mr. Mantis's reputation for sadism. Fish had heard stories about how the man he knew as Mr. Peepers delighted in torturing his victims. He understood that if he left the office with this man, he would suffer a long and horrible death and that his body would probably never be found. For some reason that last part bothered him. Gino Fish was well past his prime, having grown too soft, too comfortable, and too careless, but he was no old fool. He hadn't made it to the top echelons of the Boston mob and stayed there as long as he had by blind luck. He always had a backup plan. Always.

Mr. Mantis motioned again for Gino to stand, only this time Fish did as instructed. But as he rose, he reached into the open top drawer of his desk, grabbing the old Colt snubnose .38 he'd kept there for many years, just in case. Just in case was now, though he knew better than to try to engage his captor in a shootout. Instead, in one swift motion, he pressed the revolver into the flesh beneath his chin and, without hesitation, pulled the trigger. He hung upright for what seemed a very long second, then collapsed into a lifeless pile of well-dressed skin and bones.

Mr. Mantis was impressed by the speed with which Fish had acted, but was furious at being robbed of his vengeance. He was also unnerved. Twice recently, he had let victims slip through his fingers, but he didn't have the luxury of time to dwell on it. He knew exactly what to do and how to do it. He removed the assault knife from his coat pocket and moved toward the lifeless body of Gino Fish. Afterward, he retrieved the plastic bag from the trash.

Less than five minutes later, the odd-looking little man with the long gray hair, ragged beard, and porkpie hat walked out the front door of the building and back into the rain.

TWO

After last year's spasm of blood, life in Paradise, Mass, had settled back into its predictable, small-town rhythms: steady as the tides, no waves cresting over the seawalls. There hadn't been a single act of violence for months, the last one being a bar fight among four drunk musicians at the Gray Gull. Oh, there had been some snowfall, but nothing record-breaking, not even a hint of a nor'easter. The spring had passed as if following the script of old rhymes and adages. March had started out blustery and cold and ended on a week of sunny sixty-degree days. It had rained every two or three days in April, and by mid-May the gardens in town were so lush and colorful with early-spring blooms the place looked like . . . well, a paradise. What passed for a crime wave in Paradise these days was a spate of car vandalism. Somebody had lately taken to shooting out the rear tires of cars parked all over town.

"Anything?" Jesse asked Molly, coming through the station house door on Saturday morning.

"Nothing worth mentioning."

"Mention it anyway."

"No, really, Jesse, there's-"

"Crane, can't you ever make it easy?"

"Where's the fun in that?"

"Fun for who, exactly?"

"Whom," Molly corrected.

Jesse shook his head and laughed. "Are you sure it's 'whom'?"

"I'm not, but it's fun to think you're wrong. Did Diana come down from Boston last night in that rain?"

"Uh-huh. But don't change subjects. What's not worth mentioning?"

"Some water got into our basement and we had to turn on the pump."

"For crissakes, Molly, is that-"

"I told you it wasn't worth mentioning, didn't I?"

Jesse raised his hands above his head. "I surrender."

Molly frowned. "No fun in that, either."

"No new flat tires?"

"No."

Jesse turned and went into his office. He picked up his old baseball glove off the desk even before sitting down. He removed the hardball from the pocket of the glove where it resided, slid the glove over his left hand, and marveled that the glove was still in one piece after all this time. The glove had been his when he was a minor-league shortstop for the Dodgers, and he didn't like thinking about how many years ago that was. Nor did he like thinking about why it was sitting on his desk in Paradise instead of in a display case at Cooperstown. For the moment he wasn't worrying about his absence from the Hall of Fame, but rather about the big softball game tomorrow night against the fire department team.

He had other things on his mind, too. One, a fancy envelope inside the top drawer of his desk, and the recent rash of vandalism. For the moment, he was focused on the latter. Although Mayor Walker and her merry band of selectmen were all over him to do something about it, it was Jesse's experience that the perp was some stupid kid or a cranky old man with a grudge against the town or against Goodyear. He knew that this sort of thing would end soon enough, that the guy doing it would get bored or get sloppy and be caught. Of course there was always potential for things to turn bad. No good ever came of bullets in a populated area. So as Jesse pounded the ball into his glove-it helped him concentrate-he considered ways of catching the shooter in the act.

He heard the phone ring and Molly answer it. A few seconds later, she was sticking her head through the doorway.

"It's Robbie Wilson. You want me to tell him you're not here?"

"No," he said, putting his glove and ball back down on his desk. "I'll take it."

Jesse generally didn't have much use for Wilson, the chief of the Paradise Fire Department, but he was happy for the distraction.

"Morning, Robbie."

"Morning, Chief Stone."

"So?"

"Fifty bucks on tomorrow's game?"

"Gambling's illegal, Robbie."

"Dinner, then?"

"Field might be too sloppy to play on," Jesse said.

"Don't you worry about that. My guys are over there now taking care of it. So, are we on? Dinner to the winner?"

"How can I turn down an offer from a man who can rhyme dinner and winner? We're on."

Jesse put down the phone and stared at the top drawer of his desk.

THREE

He sat very low in the front seat of the Yaris, not because he was worried he would be recognized, but because caution and invisibility were words he lived by. The stolen car . . . no problem. As was his style, he had removed the nondescript subcompact late at night, from the garage of an elderly person away on a long cruise. He laughed his gloating, superior laugh, thinking about the stupidity of the masses. At how key codes made them feel safe and secure. How typical and how foolish. All he ever needed to do was find his mark, sit on her house for a few days before her trip, and use a long lens to watch her punch in the garage code. He always chose elderly widows because they lived alone, put very low mileage on their cars, and kept their cars well maintained. If he didn't possess such a cautious nature, he believed he could simply trick most people into volunteering their key codes. Morons!

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Robert B. Parker's Debt to Pay 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Inaccuracies: Gino fish was never alone In his office without vinnie and ty bop Cannot t grab door handle of burning car they thought mr peepers was in withut gloves Healys wife does not have cancer why invent this?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kept you not wanting to put book down. Hope it becomes a movie
tedfeit0 More than 1 year ago
A piece of advice before reading “The Hangman’s Sonnet,” the next novel in the Jesse Stone series: Read the book reviewed herein first because the background from this plot is important to understand what transpires. Just as the preceding novel in the series is a predicate for what takes place in “Debt to Pay.” Mr. Peepers once again appears to vex Jess, among others, with every intention of paying him back for interfering with his plans in the last novel which resulted in his being shot by Suitcase Simpson, who in turn was shot by the arch villain. Mr. Peepers intends to wreak vengeance on Stone in some diabolical manner, perhaps by taking it out on Jenn, Stone’s ex-wife, who is getting remarried in Dallas. Jesse at first refuses to attend the wedding, but then decides to travel to Dallas, along with Diana, with whom he is deeply in love, in an effort to protect Jenn. Meanwhile Mr. Peepers toys with Stone, giving all sorts of false clues as to his intentions. Mr. Coleman has developed Stone’s neurotic and alcohol-inflamed personality to a greater degree than the late Robert B. Parker did in creating this interesting character. And he has written fuller novels, deepening the plots, than the master. And that is all to the good. A top-rated effort, and highly recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sorry, no-one does Jessie like Robert b parker. Take out half the dialogue, and most of the too beautiful to believe about all of the women and you will start getting close. I miss Robert.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought "Debt to pay" was verygood; but did Healy shoot Peppers ? Did Peppers shot hit Diana ? how did everyone get there at once ? thx.
TruFax More than 1 year ago
this book really does not follow in the original Robert Parker style. too weird. too much detail on weird things. Parker could allude to bad stuff without dragging the reader through it. if you want more weird gore, then this is for you. if you really just want Robert Parker's prose back, not for you. appreciate the effort! please get back to the great quick repartee (sp?) of R. Parker's books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I liked the story and then again I didn't. It was well written,but didn't end as I would have liked. I've always loved Parker's Jesse Stone. He is a man of few words, but an honest cop with issues. It seems like he gets things together and then things get in the way. Wonder if there will be any more in the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
JennMcLean More than 1 year ago
"Robert B. Parker's Debt To Pay" by Reed Farrel Coleman published on September 13, 2016 so it's available for purchase now. Reed Farrel Coleman has taken over writing Robert B. Parker's character Jesse Stone and now that I've read "Debt To Pay" I agree with The Huffington Post about the novel's success. “This series can run forever in these new capable hands and readers will eagerly await each new book about Jesse Stone. I know I will.” —The Huffington Post When Robert B. Parker died he left several strong characters such as Spencer and Jesse Stone, I think the readers are lucky that Reed Farrel Coleman agreed to bring the Jesse Stone character back to life. Several of my favorite authors are deceased, John D. MacDonald and Robert A. Heinlein to name a few, and I heartily miss their incredible characters. I mourn the fact there are to be no more of their engrossing books. It's great to feel like I'm getting on of my favorite author's back. Not much is happening in Paradise, the small town where Jesse Stone is Chief of Police. Although there has been some annoying petty vandalism lately, Jesse is much more concerned about his ex wife Jenn's upcoming wedding. He received his invitation but because of their convoluted history, he just doesn't want to attend. Jesse is worried seeing Jenn will stir up a hornet's nest of emotions that he's worked hard to tamp down. Besides, he has a new woman in his life and he doesn't think Dianna will want to attend his ex's nuptials. Jesse doesn't get to carry out his decision to skip the wedding though. An old foe has reared his deadly little head up and threatened everyone Jesse cares about, including his ex wife Jenn. Now Jesse has to try and puzzle out the clues to just what Mr. Peepers is planning. Peepers is a lethal shadowy, brilliant assassin who is nearly a ghost to law enforcement. Only Jesse and Suit have seen the madman's face, that and the fact that Jesse is the only one to ever thwart Mr. P's assassination plans have put all of Jesse's friends in the cross hairs. I read every one of the Spencer books and several of the Jesse Stone novels by RBP. I also watched the tv versions of these characters. I guess what I'm saying is that I know what to expect from a Parker novel and I thought I'd be hard to convince that anyone could reanimate Parker's characters and make them as good as he wrote them. I had my doubts that I'd like this book by Coleman. I can honestly say I was shocked at how stunningly good this book was. I will certainly be picking up more of this series now that it has been brought back to life by Reed Farrel Coleman. He's one hell of a good writer. This is a 5 out of five read, don't miss this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hey peeps! This is a interactive blog for me now. If you are reading this, you have no doubt seen my posts on warriors. I make really weird words up sometimes.(random, i know.) Lol. Most of my rps are pretty much dead, and in the one i own, someones impostering me. Advice? Comments? Questions? Suggestions? Dont hesitate! Just ask awayey!( awayey. -_-)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hi!