Review

Night Passage (Jesse Stone)

by Robert B. Parker

Over
a period of many years and myriad books, Robert B. Parker has
consistently delivered quality crime fiction and NIGHT PASSAGE, his
latest fast-paced and to-the- point foray, is no exception. Parker
keeps his chapters short and his sentences terse, the better to
keep the pages turning while he steers us down into the labyrinth
of Paradise, Massachusetts --- on the surface a sedate, charming
New England town whose soft white underbelly is, of course,
besmirched.

Parker fans have additional cause to celebrate NIGHT PASSAGE for
its introduction of Jesse Stone, a detective who delivers as much
punch as Spenser, Parker's first world-famous detective. While
still a more than adequate read, in recent years Spenser has been
tamed by love and has appeared a little too settled, a touch
docile, not quite the street-wise, just-this-side-of-felon
character he used to be. It is a pleasure to welcome the bedeviled
but beguiling Jesse Stone, he of the long silences and true
heart.  

Initially based in L.A., Stone is a man who has watched his life
there spin into a vortex and right down the drain. Once a savvy
homicide cop Stone was dumped first by Jennifer, his beautiful,
ditzy, actress wife, and then by the LAPD, thanks to his
predilection for booze. As the novel opens, Stone is a man besieged
by confusion and regret. He is cut adrift in all ways: family, home
and job have all escaped him. Wise enough to realize that he is up
against the wall, Jesse decides to flee. Paradise is waiting.

After a retrospectively embarrassing drunken interview in a Chicago
hotel room, Stone is inexplicably chosen by Paradise's town fathers
to be its new chief of police. Happy to put a continent between
himself and his ex-life, Jesse takes the job. Then the fun begins.
Paradise is a hotbed of corruption boasting an armed white
supremacist militia, a police force run by a single man with his
own twisted agenda and a brain-dead heavy with a decidedly mean
streak. Mob connections in Boston, murder, nymphomania and
gun-running complicate the mix further until Jesse Stone, chosen
for his drunken indifference, finds that responsibility piques the
silence within him and guides him to do the right thing.

Robert B. Parker is a veteran crime writer who has decided not to
rest on his laurels. Jesse Stone is worth Parker's effort and I
look forward to witnessing his next adventure. Stone --- a man who
"has never gotten into trouble saying too little" --- is a man I'd
like to hear more from.

Reviewed by Jessie Woeltz on January 22, 2011

Night Passage (Jesse Stone)
by Robert B. Parker

  • Publication Date: November 1, 1998
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery
  • Paperback: 324 pages
  • Publisher: Jove
  • ISBN-10: 0515123498
  • ISBN-13: 9780515123494