“Where it hurts” by Reed Farrel Coleman – Book Review

A gritty, atmospheric new series about the other side of Long Island, far from the wealth of the Hamptons, where real people live—and die.

John Augustus Murphy is a sad, cynical, and empty man.  His life has been riddled by loss. He has lost his faith in God and his trust in people.  He has also lost his career as a cop with the Suffolk County Police, his marriage, his house, but most of all, where it hurts, the sudden and senseless death of his beloved twenty-year-old son.

“I lost my faith a long time before losing my son,
and his death proved me right.”

He lives his life on automatic pilot, existing rather than living – and grieving.  In the two years following his son’s death, Gus has been driving the courtesy van for a small airport hotel.  He lives at the hotel and works as the hotel detective, he also sometimes works security when they are busy.where-it-hurts1

When one of the criminals he once arrested comes to the hotel to see him, his life is irrevocably changed.  The man tells him about the loss of his own son, another criminal. Only this man’s son was brutally murdered and the police don’t seem to be interested in putting anyone away for the crime.  Their attitude seems to be ‘let the trash take care of itself’.  This man, Tommy Delcamino, had always found Gus to be a ‘fair’ cop who treated him with human respect.  So now, he wants Gus to investigate his son’s murder.

Gus is more than reluctant to get involved, but when Tommy Delcamino is brutally murdered, AND Gus’s premises are searched, he deems that this is now ‘personal’, and much to his own jeopardy, he investigates.

Gus has to visit some dangerous places and talk to some dangerous people to investigate the Delcamino’s deaths.

“…but if you want to learn about bottom feeders
you don’t speak to the angels”.

What he learns leads to his losing faith in the very police department he once worked for and makes him reassess his own friendships.long-island-ny

The Long Island setting is well depicted, and it is obvious that the author is very well acquainted with the area – this is where he lives after all.  The writing is astute and for the most part somber. This is essentially a ‘hard-boiled’ detective novel with a ‘noir’ feel. I think it will be enjoyed by those who enjoy this genre and follow the television shows “Ray Donovan”, “Bosch”, and the like.  I think men will appreciate it more than woman, though anyone who enjoys the works of Lee Child, Michael Connelly, or Dennis Lehane will likely appreciate his work.

I enjoyed “Where it hurts“, but I didn’t love it.  What I did love was the author’s writing. He has a knack for cutting to the heart of the matter with a clever turn of phrase.

Where it hurts” is the first novel in the author’s Gus Murphy series.  The second Gus Murphy novel, “What you break” is due to be published in February 2017.


I received a digital ARC of this novel from G.P. Putnam’s Sons via NetGalleywritten-with-american-flags

Reed Farrel Coleman

Reed Farrel Coleman

Reed Farrel Coleman is the author of several Jesse Stone novels following the death of the series’ creator Robert B. Parker. He is also responsible for the police procedural series featuring  NYPD officer Moe Prager. In addition, he has written several short stories and poems.

Reed is a three-time Edgar Award nominee in three different categories—Best Novel, Best Paperback Original, Best Short Story—and a three-time recipient of the Shamus Award for Best PI Novel of the Year. He has also won the Audie, Macavity, Barry, and Anthony Awards.

A former executive vice president of Mystery Writers of America, Reed is an adjunct instructor of English at Hofstra University and a founding member of MWA University. Brooklyn born and raised, he now lives with his family–including cats Cleo and Knish–in Suffolk County on Long Island.

About Fictionophile

Fiction reviewer ; Goodreads librarian. Retired library cataloger - more time to read! Loves books, gardening, and red wine. I have been a reviewer member of NetGalley since October 2013. I review titles offered by Edelweiss, and participate in blog tours with TLC Book Tours.
This entry was posted in 1st in series, Book Reviews, Men's fiction, Mystery fiction, NetGalley and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to “Where it hurts” by Reed Farrel Coleman – Book Review

  1. Christine says:

    Excellent review, Lynne. This is an author I need to look into. I just want to memtion I love the photos you always include with your reviews.


  2. Thanks for the review.
    I’m glad to see a map of Long Island included on this page. I grew up on LI.


    • Fictionophile says:

      How cool! I think maps would be a great addition to most fiction books as they would give the reader a (sometimes much needed) reference. Whether the place is real or imagined, there have been many times when I think it would be great to have a map.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. HCNewton says:

    I liked the book more than you, but I think I agree with your sentiment – the writing is superior to the story. My guess is, you’ll enjoy the sequel more.


  4. skyecaitlin says:

    Thanks, Lynne, and this book is a ‘must have’ for me. I like the notion of the police procedural, the premise, and I simply adore Jesse Stone movies.


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