Night Passage (Jesse Stone Novels)

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9780515123494: Night Passage (Jesse Stone Novels)

Having left the LAPD in disgrace and landing the job as chief of police in Paradise, Massachusetts, Jesse Stone learns that his new hometown is a lot less idyllic than its name. Reprint.

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Review:

Fans often feel uneasy when the creator of a popular character ventures into new turf, and sometimes their trepidation is justified. But readers of Robert B. Parker's immensely popular Spenser series can breathe a sigh of relief: while Night Passage doesn't feature Spenser, his usual gang of associates, or a Boston setting, it's vintage Parker--fast, witty, suspenseful, and engaging. Told in short, crisp chapters, it's the story of Jesse Stone, a 34-year-old ex-cop who just lost his L.A. policeman's job and his marriage due to a drinking problem. The book opens as Stone leaves California for his new job as chief of police in the picturesque town of Paradise, Massachusetts.

But Paradise isn't as placid as it seems--in fact, it's a festering mass of petty corruption, right-wing militia, sexual scandal, and bad guys who favor strong-arm tactics. Night Passage boasts a delicious, classic setup: the lone lawman, new in town, must make his stand to clean the place up. Stone has been picked for the job because the town fathers figured he'd be weak and malleable; as he gradually pulls himself together, it turns out they have a surprise in store. Stone's qualities may remind you of Spenser's--he's taciturn, fearless, good-looking, and compassionate--and in the end the plot's pleasing complexities get resolved a bit simply. But Robert B. Parker is in fine form in Night Passage, with his smart-aleck wit under control and his prose at its economical best. Spenser fans and Parker neophytes alike will find plenty to enjoy here. And the setting is, after all, not far from Boston--dare we hope for a Spenser-Stone meeting in future books?

From the Inside Flap:

The author of two dozen Spenser novels as well as numerous other works of fiction, Robert B. Parker is no stranger to either critical or popular acclaim. With his hallmark sharp wit and taut action, Parker has created in the Spenser series the standard against which all contemporary detective novels are measured, and a character considered the paragon of private eyes. In Night Passage, Parker sets the bar even higher, with the introduction of Jesse Stone, a hero cut from different cloth.

After a busted marriage kicks his drinking problem into overdrive and the LAPD unceremoniously dumps him, the thirty-five-year-old Stone's future looks bleak. So he's shocked when a small Massachusetts town called Paradise recruits him as police chief. He can't help wondering if this job is a genuine chance to start over, the kind of offer he can't refuse.

Once on board, Jesse doesn't have to look for trouble in Paradise: it comes to him. For what is on the surface a quiet New England community quickly proves to be a crucible of political and moral corruption--replete with triple homicide, tight Boston mob ties, flamboyantly errant spouses, maddened militiamen and a psychopath-about-town who has fixed his violent sights on the new lawman. Against all this, Jesse stands utterly alone, with no one to trust; even he and the woman he's seeing are like ships that pass in the night. He finds he must test his mettle and powers of command to emerge a local hero--or the deadest of dupes.

As the flagship volume in a new series featuring a complex and engaging sleuth, Night Passage is cause for celebration.

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Parker, Robert B.
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