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
From Publishers Weekly
Tough and tight, Parker's second Jesse Stone crime novel (after last year's Night Passage) finds the chief of police of modest Paradise, Mass., battling a ruthless gang of thieves even as he jousts with personal demons. Two parallel plotlines tell the story. One follows career criminal James Macklin and his moll, Faye, and their planning and subsequent execution of the heist of all the money and valuables on super-rich Stiles Island, which is connected by bridge to Paradise. Meanwhile, there's Stone, a cool customer who's not afraid to step on wealthy toes but who can't get his love life in order and can barely control his taste for booze. The crime line is the stronger of the two, traced in prose as lean as any Parker has wrought, a grand little caper tale in its own right as Macklin collects a rogue's gallery of accomplices, isolates Stiles Island by dynamiting its bridge and harbor, then preys upon its inhabitants. Stone's romantic entanglements, particularly his troubled relationship with his ex-wife, add texture to the novel and are notably less sentimental than the amours of his Spenser stories. They manifest at times in a histrionic way, however?as when the ex assaults a woman trying to get Stone fired?that retards the surge of the crime story. Stone remains a magnetic character, as silent as Spenser is chatty but equally strong, though likely too enigmatic at this juncture to engender the sort of reader affection that Spenser enjoys. Parker fans and all who love muscular crime writing will appreciate this tale, as the Boston-based crime master once again shows how to do it well, and with style. BOMC main selection.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.