Robert B. Parker
Putnam, 2007 (2007)
Hardcover, Audio, CD
Reviewed by Hilary Williamson
aciturn police chief Jesse Stone is back in a
case in Paradise, Massachusetts. Once fired from the LAPD for alcoholism, he now has regular therapy - readers sit on on his conversations with his shrink, Dix - and is able to drink again in moderation. In
, Jesse met and made fireworks with Boston PI Sunny Randall. Robert Parker has been having fun giving his series characters walk-ons in each other's books, but this was a bigger crossover. They both signed up to be '
A fool for love
', though still emotionally entangled with their exes.
t's spring in Paradise as Jesse stands in the park, looking at a body hanging from a tree. It turns out to be murder not suicide, and the victim is national talk-show and media star Walton Weeks. The fact that Weeks was a big supporter of the governor increases the pressure on the investigation. Then a second body is found in the Dumpster behind Daisy Dyke's restaurant, that of a young woman named Carey who was Weeks' assistant and fiancée. The pressure increases. But none of that fazes a perennially calm (on the surface at least) Jesse. What does is a call from his promiscuous ex-wife Jenn to tell him she's been raped and is being stalked. Unable to deal with this on top of the media-ridden case, Jesse asks Sunny - of all people - for help. So Jenn meets Sunny. The PI and her gay friend Spike sign up to protect Jess, doing a little investigation on the side.
hough the puzzle is intriguing, this is a psychological mystery in which the
is not so much in the
as in the leads' personal angst. Though I enjoy the
one true love
premise that runs through all Parker's series, I don't really buy it, and least of all in Jesse Stone's life. Spenser's inamorata Susan seems worthy of his efforts, and Sunny's Richie is - so far - enough of an enigma for their bond to be believable. Jesse's Jenn can be just plain irritating in her cloying neediness (with apologies to the author, I have to admit that I'm kind of hoping she'll be a murder victim in one of these books!) But I will keep reading to enjoy the quirky secondaries and the wit and banter between Jesse Stone and the women in his life - from Jenn and Sunny to his engaging, happily married subordinate Molly Crane.
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