From Publishers Weekly
In bestseller Parker's fluffy eighth Jesse Stone novel (after Stranger in Paradise
), the Paradise, Mass., police chief almost effortlessly performs his laconic magic to restore order and right wrongs. When Betsy Ingersoll, the junior high school principal, decides to conduct a check of girls' undies before an eighth-grade dance, it may or may not have been a crime, but it certainly provokes a firestorm of protests. Then there's a Peeping Tom calling himself the Night Hawk, whose activities escalate from watching to home invasions. In addition, the legal activities of a group of adults calling themselves the Paradise Free Swingers are badly affecting two children. Jesse's ex-wife, Jenn, and his deputies, Molly Crane and Suit Simpson, lend support. With a few bold strokes, Parker sketches characters and plot, then uses long stretches of his trademark pithy dialogue to carry the story briskly forward. The result may not provide much of a meal, but it's certainly an enjoyable snack. (Feb.)
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Paradise, Massachusetts, has seen its share of crime since Jesse Stone became the police chief, and as officer Molly Crane observes, it seems more like Sodom and Gomorrah every day. This time trouble erupts when middle-school principal Betsy Ingersoll does a panty check of her female students before an after-school dance—she was checking “suitability,” according to the unrepentant Mrs. Ingersoll. After Jesse and Molly have dispersed the irate parents, the questions of motive and potential charges remain at issue. It doesn’t help that Mr. Ingersoll is the managing partner of Boston’s most influential legal firm. There’s also the matter of a peeping tom—calling himself the Night Hawk in letters to Stone—who has escalated from just looking to home invasion and photographing his nude victims. The key to the Night Hawk’s identity may lie somewhere within Paradise’s wife-swapping, swinging-couples scene. Stone, who continues to struggle with his drinking and his obsession with his manipulative ex-wife, is the most engaging of Parker’s post-Spenser contemporary protagonists—Everett Hitch and Virgil Cole from the author’s two recent westerns are equally appealing. This is a solid, though lightly plotted mystery, but the dialogue is spot on, and the professional chemistry between Stone and his small force is its own reason to read the series. --Wes Lukowsky