A prequel to "Stone Cold" in the series of Jesse Stone novels by Robert B. Parker, the story picks up after Jesse Stone is fired from the Los Angeles Police Department. He becomes an unlikely candidate recruited by the town board of selectman to become police chief of Paradise, a small town on Boston's North Shore. The board hopes his failed experience will keep him from digging too deep into the town's secrets. Hungover on his first day on the job, he must investigate a domestic abuse case that ends up leaduing to a money laundering scheme perpetuated by a manager of a local bank.
How Tom Selleck's world-weary cop Jesse Stone became the police chief of sleepy Paradise, Mass., is revealed in this engaging prequel to the first made-for-TV Stone feature, Stone Cold
(2005). Selleck is once again well cast as the rough-around-the-edges Stone, whose drinking problem gets him ejected from the Los Angeles police force; he soon finds himself the head lawman in a small New England fishing village, where his slow dissolution continues until a routine domestic disturbance case reveals connections to money laundering and murder, with several of the town's most affluent names as possible suspects. Selleck is well-matched by veteran scene stealer Saul Rubinek, and there's good work by Polly Shannon as a city attorney who becomes Stone's romantic interest, and Stephen Baldwin as an ill-tempered local. Fans of author Robert B. Parker (on whose books the Jesse Stone films are based) and Selleck won't be disappointed by this smart thriller. --Paul Gaita