Amazon.com's Best of 2001
With assured confidence and a master's economy of means, Robert B. Parker, who is best known for his Spenser series, delivers one of his finest, most absorbing works yet. This third entry in the Jesse Stone series finds Stone--a former LAPD cop fired for drinking on the job--serving as chief of police in the town of Paradise, Massachusetts, and investigating the murder of a teenaged girl whose decomposed body turns up in the local lake. As he follows slender threads of evidence into an ugly world of exploited teens, several subplots crisscross, keeping things lively.
But Jesse's struggle with alcohol and his loving, troubled relationship with his ex-wife are at least as compelling as the external plot events. Parker doesn't usually give his characters much of an inner life, but here--in deftly compressed prose, much of it dialog--he paints an understated, believable portrait of a tough guy grappling with tough issues. This smooth-reading book goes down easy but packs a surprising wallop. --Nicholas H. Allison--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful: But nobody seems to care about Billie..., April 7, 2003 Reviewer: Neal Clark Reynolds from E. Taunton, MA United States As this series continues, this novel may well portray crucial developments in Stone's life and career, but it fails to satisfy as a crime novel. Jesse Stone faced a home-grown militia group in his debut novel, followed by a group of cold-blooded criminals pulling off a spectacular robbery in the second. So the murder of a 14 year old girl who's been disowned by her parents due to promiscuous behavior seems rather pedestrian in comparison. Indeed, the girl Billie's parents, her former boy friend, and her high school principal have little interest. Unfortunately, Parker doesn't seem terribly interested either since we really don't get to know the girl. However, the focus on Stone's drinking may be a crucial development in the series. Other people's problem drinking is involved in two incidental plotlines, and, along with Jenn's encouragement, may be what it takes to drive Jesse to accept counciling for his own problem. There are a couple of other developments. After Gino Fish and Vinnie Morris appearing in the two previous books without actually meeting Stone, he meets them face to face for the first time. There's also development in the relationship between the Chief and his main assistant. Spenser of course has Hawk, and Sunny Randall has her strong support. Jesse Stone has--Suitcase Simpson? Seems like he got shortchanged, but Suitcase does show promise. He still has a bit to go, but under the Chief's tutelage, he might be a respectable police officer yet. I can't recommend this as a mystery, but do advise Parker fans to read it anyway because it does seem to be leading someplace. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title