When I had my operation on April 16, I was reading Robert Parker’s “Stranger in Paradise,” the latest in his Jesse Stone series. I finished it the next morning. These books, written in third person (unlike his Spenser and Sunny Randall books), center on the sheriff of smalltown Paradise, on the Massachusetts coast. Stone is a former LA cop who views Paradise as his last stop before retirement. (The Spenser characters have a way of showing up in the other two series; Jesse Stone makes an appearance in a couple Spenser books.)
“Stranger in Paradise” involves mobsters and gangs, and an old heist. The most interesting character in this book is Crow, yet another of Parker’s good-hearted stone-cold killers. Jesse Stone is intent on putting Crow away, and yet they strike up an amiable relationship, totally understanding each other.
I got the impression that Crow would be the first in a rogue’s gallery of criminals whom Stone could call on when needed. The Spenser books have Hawk, Vinnie Morris, Chollo, Tedy Sapp, Ty-Bop, and Junior–all tough guys and killers who are ever-ready to help Spenser when needed. If he thinks Susan is in danger, or someone else, he’ll summon one of these guys for bodyguard duty.
Crow would fit right in with them. But with the death of Robert Parker, I don’t imagine Crow will be joined by anyone else.
During the past month of so, we watched the five Jesse Stone TV movies, starring Tom Selleck in the title role. These are very good movies. They have a definite tone, a smalltown feel (a bit like the Twilight movies, without the bloodsucking), with the same tranquil music which slows everything down.
Selleck is perfectly cast. As I read “Stranger in Paradise,” I could picture Selleck in every scene, and could hear him say every line of dialogue. He plays Stone as a low-geared fellow, very understated, never excited. Just plods along, solving the crime. I loved, absolutely loved, those movies.