Night Passage

by Robert B. Parker

A Jesse Stone Novel

The author of two dozen Spenser novels as well as numerous other works of fiction, Robert B. Parker is no stranger to either critical or popular acclaim. With his hallmark sharp wit and taut action, Parker has created in the Spenser series the standard against which all contemporary detective novels are measured, and a character considered the paragon of private eyes. In Night Passage, Parker sets the bar even higher, with the introduction of Jesse Stone, a hero cut from different cloth.

After a busted marriage kicks his drinking problem into overdrive and the LAPD unceremoniously dumps him, the thirty-five-year-old Stone's future looks bleak. So he's shocked when a small Massachusetts town called Paradise recruits him as police chief. He can't help wondering if this job is a genuine chance to start over, the kind of offer he can't refuse.

Once on board, Jesse doesn't have to look for trouble in Paradise: it comes to him. For what is on the surface a quiet New England community quickly proves to be a crucible of political and moral corruption—replete with triple homicide, tight Boston mob ties, flamboyantly errant spouses, maddened militiamen and a psychopath-about-town who has fixed his violent sights on the new lawman. Against all this, Jesse stands utterly alone, with no one to trust; even he and the woman he's seeing are like ships that pass in the night. He finds he must test his mettle and powers of command to emerge a local hero—or the deadest of dupes.

As the flagship volume in a new series featuring a complex and engaging sleuth, Night Passage is cause for celebration.


"To set the melancholy tone and purgative nature of Jesse's redemptive journey, Parker takes him through a memorable cross-country passage that begins and ends with the damaged hero standing alone by the cleansing waters of an ocean, riddled with self-doubt but ready for a fresh start. For all the obvious non-Spenserian qualities that determine his character—his relative youth, the drinking thing, his lousy taste in women, an absence of humor, his raw isolation and social insecurities—it is the capacity to change his life and redeem his soul that really distinguishes the appealingly flawed Jesse from Spenser. The sparse style of Parker's third-person narrative cleans the air and sharpens Jesse's sense of alignment. With his strength of character and clarity of mind miraculously restored, Jesse begins to exercise the kind of moral convictions that could get him killed—or compared to Spenser."
The New York Times Book Review

"You can always rely on Parker for some great talk and great scenes."
Kirkus Reviews

"Parker proves he can still write airtight plots with patches of realistic, perfectly pitched dialogue."

"Night Passage has many of the strengths of the better Spenser books. It will be interesting to see how Parker develops him in succeeding novels. I have no doubt that, in a few decades, the novels of Robert B. Parker will be enshrined in the handsome Library of America series just as those of his literary mentor, Raymond Chandler, have been."
Washington Post Book World

"The most powerful romance between Parker and the written word. It is exceedingly satisfying to watch this prose master lay down his cool, clean lines from outside someone's skin."
Publishers Weekly

"In Night Passage Parker gives the reader everything he needs, but what marks the book as superior Parker is how much he gives that he doesn't have to. Parts of Night Passage are as richly novelistic as anything Parker has ever written. There is rough outline in Night Passage, but there is also light, shade, texture and complexity."
The Boston Globe

"Parker has always been a master of razor-sharp and witty dialogue, hard-driving suspense and memorable characterization. His Jesse Stone series promises to match if not excel the Spenser novels. Night Passage is a stunning debut."
Houston Chronicle

"Robert B. Parker's debut thriller featuring Jesse Stone will leave you looking forward to the second installment. Stone is a different breed of lawman than Spenser, but while he has a weakness for the bottle, he's tough—though not a tough guy—when it comes to dispensing justice. You'll be engaged by Jesse Stone and will hardly miss the cracking wise or the rat-tat-tat, matching gun-level violence of the Spenser series."
Atlanta Journal/Constitution

"Vintage Parker, Jesse is a younger, more vulnerable version of Spenser. Like Spenser, Jesse believes in an unwritten code of behavior where strong men uphold justice, if not the law itself, and take it upon themselves to rid the world of evil by whatever means comes to hand. The story moves along quickly and with grace, punctuated here and there with those funny smart-aleck bits of dialogue that fans of hard-boiled crime stories love. There's not an awkward sentence or even a wasted word in the book, again proving that Parker may be the finest prose stylist in the genre."
The Denver Post

"A first-rate, engrossing book."
Grand Rapids Press

"Not for nothing is Parker regarded as the reigning champion of the American tough-guy novel, heavyweight division. Over a 25-year career, the man has rarely composed a bad sentence or an inert paragraph. His 30th novel, which features brand-new protagonist Jesse Stone, proves no exception...Another promising series."
Entertainment Weekly

"...A new series that's already off to a good start."
The Orlando Sentinel

"Night Passage stands on its own as a competent production."
The Boston Sunday Herald

"[Parker's] writing—tough, witty, lean, with a touch of the poet—has never been better."
The Lexington Herald-Ledger

"Stone is an intriguing character...Parker's writing meets his high standards. The dialogue sparkles. Characterization is sharp, even in minor players."
San Antonio Express-News

"A novel as fresh as it is bold...Parker's sentences flow with as much wit, grace and assurance as ever, and Stone is a complex and consistently interesting new protagonist. His speedy return will be welcome."

"A genuine page turner."
The Hartford Courant

"Night Passage is best of breed in this assemblage of big dogs. Parker uses his considerable story-telling skills to transform a relatively wispy plot into a fast-paced, character-driven tale that practically reads itself."
Raleigh News & Observer

"Unmistakably Parker."
The Chicago Tribune

"A page-turner...the protagonist is a believable, full-blooded man of Hemingwayesque dimensions. Full of action, spiced with fast-moving introspection."

"Not for nothing is Parker regarded as the reigning champion of the American tough-guy detective novel, heavyweight division. Over a 25-year career, the man has rarely composed a bad sentence or an inert paragraph. His 30th novel, which features brand-new protagonist Jesse Stone, a disgraced former Los Angeles cop with a drinking problem, proves no exception."
Entertainment Weekly

"Parker is a true craftsman, and he's also extremely versatile, as he's proved in the past with his mainstream fiction and with his little-known classic, Wilderness (1979), and as he now proves again with this fine new series."

Buy the book

paperback | Putnam | 1997 | ISBN: 9780399143045