Paradise, Massachusetts, is preparing for the summer tourist season when a string of car thefts disturbs what is usually a quiet time in town. In a sudden escalation of violence, the thefts become murder, and chief of police Jesse Stone finds himself facing one of the toughest cases of his career. Pressure from the town politicians only increases when another crime wave puts residents on edge. Jesse confronts a personal dilemma as well: a burgeoning relationship with a young PR executive, whose plans to turn Paradise into a summertime concert destination may have her running afoul of the law.
When a mysterious figure from Jesse's past arrives in town, memories of his last troubled days as a cop in L.A. threaten his ability to keep order in Paradise-especially when it appears that the stranger is out for revenge.
Film and TV producer Michael Brandman, who collaborated on several of the Jesse Stone TV movies, is continuing the series begun by Robert B. Parker. And doing so seamlessly. The most important part of any Parker novel is the dialogue. I would love to live in a world where everyone is as sharp and witty as his characters. Brandman nailed the short, snappy sentences and minimalist style.
Although plot usually takes a back seat to relationships in a Jesse Stone story, this story may have been a little more sparse than usual. A mobster car-theft ring is foiled with a couple visits to the right people, high-school bullies and a child-molesting teacher are easily ended, even an argument with the new woman in Jesse's life (a relationship that took all of fifteen minutes to develop) is settled simply. Even the climactic confrontation between Jesse and the bad-guy is lack-luster and over practically before it begins.
Mr. Brandman kept me turning the pages with his fun, relaxed Parker style, but left me feeling a bit underwhelmed. I would recommend this to established Parker fans, but definitely not as a starting point in the series. I look forward to Mr. Brandman's next effort.