by Robert B. Parker
The Jesse Stone Series
The murder of a notorious public figure places Paradise, Massachusetts, police chief Jesse Stone in the harsh glare of the media spotlight.
When the body of controversial talk-show host Walton Weeks is discovered hanging from a tree on the outskirts of Paradise, police chief Jesse Stone finds himself at the center of a highly public case, forcing him to deal with small-minded local officials and national media scrutiny. When another dead bodythat of a young womanis discovered just a few days later, the pressure becomes almost unbearable.
Two victims in less than a week should provide a host of clues, but all Jesse runs into are dead ends. But what may be the most disturbing aspect of these murders is the fact that no one seems to carenot a single one of Weeks's ex-wives, not the family of the girl. And when the medical examiner reveals a heartbreaking link between the two departed souls, the mystery only deepens.
Despite Weeks's reputation and the girl's tender age, Jesse is hard-pressed to find legitimate suspects. Though the crimes are perhaps the most gruesome Jesse has ever witnessed, it is the malevolence behind them that makes them all the more frightening. Forced to delve into a world of stormy relationships, Jesse soon comes to realize that knowing whom he can trust is indeed a matter of life and death.
"Great reading from an old hand who hasn't lost his touch."
"The most intricately plotted novel in Robert B. Parker's entertaining Jesse Stone series. Jesse, a taciturn police officer beset with alcohol and women trouble, is the most compelling character Parker has created since he introduced us to a private eye named Spenser more than 30 years ago. The prose is as spare and biting as ever. It's easy to overlook how fine the writing is because Parker's style rarely calls attention to itself, going down so easy that you can forget you are reading. His books are not so much read as inhaled...suspenseful and entertaining."
"Another excellent...entry in an outstanding series...readers will sympathize with Jesse's everyman struggles."
Library Journal Review
"Uniquely ingenious...How to deal with two rivals? Only Jesse would come up with the sublime solution...Parker is always well worth your time and money."
"This is Parker's most complex, ambitious novel in years. Spenser is always the toughest, coolest guy in the room. Jesse Stone sometimes seems like the toughest, coolest guy in the room, but he knows he's not. Great reading from an old hand who hasn't lost his touch."
"Both Stone and Randall are still weighed down with significant emotional baggage from their exes, and it's Parker's exploration of their ambivalent relationship that is the book's strength."
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paperback | Putnam | 2007 | ISBN: 9780425206096
Each spring surprised Jesse. In the years since he'd come to Paradise he never remembered, from year to year, how pretty spring was in the Northeast. He stood now among the opening flowers and the new leaves, looking at a dead man, hanging by his neck from the limb of a tree in the park, on Indian Hill, overlooking the harbor.
Peter Perkins was taking pictures. Suitcase Simpson was running crime-scene tape and shooing away onlookers. Molly Crane sat in a squad car, talking with a woman in jogging clothes. Molly was writing in her notebook.
"Doesn't look like his neck is broken," Jesse said.
"Hands are free," Jesse said.
"Nothing to jump off of," Jesse said. "Unless he went up in the tree and jumped from the limb."
"Open his coat," Peter Perkins said.
Jesse opened the raincoat. An argyle sweater beneath the coat was dark and stiff with dried blood.
"There goes the suicide theory," Jesse said.
"ME will tell us," Perkins said, "but my guess is he was dead before he got hung."
Jesse walked around the area, looking at the ground. At one point he squatted on his heels and looked at the grass.
"They had already shot him," Jesse said. "And dragged him over . . ."
"Sometimes I forget you grew up out west," Perkins said.
Jesse grinned and walked toward the tree, still looking down.
"And looped the rope around his neck . . ."
Jesse looked up at the corpse.
"Tossed the rope over the tree limb, hauled him up, and tied the rope around the trunk."
"Good-sized guy," Perkins said.
"About two hundred?" Jesse said.Perkins looked appraisingly at the corpse and nodded.
"Dead weight," Perkins said.
"So to speak," Jesse said.
"Maybe more than one person involved," Perkins said.
"ID?" Jesse said.
"None," Perkins said. "No wallet, nothing."
Another Paradise police car pulled up with its blue light revolving, and Arthur Angstrom got out.
"Anyone minding the store?" Jesse said.
Angstrom was looking at the hanging corpse.
"Maguire," Angstrom said. "Suicide?"
"I wish," Jesse said.
The blue light on Angstrom's cruiser stayed on.
"Murder?" Angstrom said.
"Peter Perkins will fill you in," Jesse said. "After you shut off your light."
Angstrom glanced back at the cruiser, and looked at Jesse for a moment as if he were going to argue. Jesse looked back at him, and Angstrom turned and shut off his light.
"Car keys?" Jesse said.
"So how'd he get here?"
"Walked?" Perkins said.
Angstrom joined them.
"Or came with the killers," Jesse said.
"Or met them here," Perkins said, "and one of them drove his car away after he was hanging."
"Or took a cab," Jesse said.
"I can check that out," Angstrom said.
Jesse looked at his watch.
"Eight thirty," he said. "Town cab should be open now."
"I'll call them," Arthur said. "I know the dispatcher."
"Arthur, you're the cops, you don't have to know the dispatcher."
"Sure," Angstrom said, "of course."
He walked to his car. Jesse watched him go.
"Arthur ain't never quite got used to being a cop," Peter Perkins said.
"Arthur hasn't gotten fully used to being Arthur," Jesse said.