Robert Parker's Trouble in Paradise imagines an old-fashioned tough guys' world where most of the women are summed up by their figures and the men are measured by their ability to intimidate. Chief Jesse Stone of Paradise, Massachusetts, is Parker's hero again in this sequel to Night Passage. When he's not thinking about what his girlfriends look like under their clothes, Stone's touring his beat, hanging out at the Gray Gull Hotel bar to get intelligence on local thugs, or interrogating teens about their destructive pranks. But he has a vulnerable side, too, and Parker adds new layers of depth and complexity to his latest series character. Jesse's still reeling from his divorce. He and his ex-wife, Jenn, are not entirely ready to let go. In fact, Jenn has followed Jesse east from L.A. and is suffering in the Boston climate as one of the anchors on the local news. Romance with Jenn is further complicated by Jesse's ongoing attraction to attorney Abby Taylor and his emerging relationship with realtor Marcy Campbell.
Jesse's domestic troubles are gradually overshadowed, however, when ex-con Jimmy Macklin arrives in town. Macklin plans to pull "the mother of all stickups" on the ritzy Stiles Island in Paradise Harbor. He has figured out that the Stiles Island bridge, with its underpinning of utility cables and pipes, is a veritable lifeline to the mainland, and he's gathered a rogues' gallery of professional crooks and killers to help him take the bridge and make the island into a thieves' paradise. The one problem: Macklin never figured that Paradise, Massachusetts, would have a police chief as tough and resourceful as Jesse Stone.
As usual, Parker's stark and facile prose perfectly complements the masculine sufferings of his hero, and the action of the novel unfolds with an effortlessness that intimates a craftsman at work. With Parker's Spenser safely canonized as a detective fiction legend, Jesse Stone's unfolding world offers a welcome new addition to Parker's ouevre. --Patrick O'Kelley