Jesse Stone Novels
The Jesse Stone Novels are a series of detective stories written by Robert R. Parker. They included nine excellent crime novels that were not completely published until the author’s death. The 10th novel in the series was written by Michael Brandman.
Jesse Stone is a mid thirties personality who was a former minor league baseball player turned policeman. After divorcing and suffering from a drinking problem, he was forced to relocate to a small Massachusetts town. There he was hired as police chief and uncovered that life can be even more complicated in a quiet town. The entire series reflects upon the troubles of Jesse Stone and how he must face his personal demons.
Robert B. Parker is famous for his writing that involves crime. He was noted as a developer on the ABC hit show Spenser For Hire and other numerous television movies. Parker was a respected novelist who wrote about crime and also composed children’s books and western novels. Parker and his wife also founded an independent film company called Pearl Productions.
The Jesse Stone Novel Series
1. Night Passage - The first in the series, Night Passage introduces the reader to the main character Jesse Stone, an LA homicide detective battling alcohol after a divorce. After a forced resignation, he flees to a small town in Massachusetts where he becomes police chief of a place filled with corruption.
The novel shows Stone taking the trip to Paradise, Massachusetts with flash backs to his old life. The plot develops as Stone follows a case of a corrupt city leader and his underground mob ties. Jesse also explores his relationship with his ex wife Jenn. This is an excellent introduction to the series where we get a solid understanding of Jesse and his demons.
The main point of the story involves an ex con named Macklin. Chief Stone finds out more about Macklin and quickly realizes that his activities are questionable. Jesse begins an investigation into his background and uncovers more than he bargained for. Stone is forced to stop Macklin in an action-packed climax.
3. Death In Paradise – The third entry into this series begins with the investigation into the death of a teenage girl who had washed up on shore. After uncovering the girl’s identity, the plot thickens as the girl’s promiscuity comes into focus. It is revealed that the girl has been working as an underage prostitute and killed by someone prominent in the community.
On the personal side of the book, Jesse continues his relationship with Jenn. Jesse also considers seeing a doctor to help him cope with his personal problems.
4. Stone Cold – This instalment of the Jesse Stone series involves two wealthy thrill killers who move to town and begin a killing spree. One of the people who gets killed is one of the city’s attorneys who was romantically linked to Stone at one time.
Throughout the story, Jesse becomes involved in a revolving door of romantic relationships while trying to cope with the feelings he has for Jenn, his ex-wife. Probably my favorite book in the series and a great movie too.
5. Sea Change - One of the most in depth crime cases yet is seen in the fifth instalment of Jesse Stone. The case involves Florence Horwath, a dead woman whose body washes up on shore. After investigating the case, Stone partners up with a Miami detective to help him uncover the murderer.
Jesse continues to enjoy sobriety and celebrates one year without drinking alcohol. He has also moved in with Jenn and has begun a monogamous relationship.
6. High Profile - This novel opens as a body is discovered hanging from a park tree that belongs to Walter Weeks. Weeks was an influential and national entertainment personality. As the investigation ensues, Jesse uncovers many twists involving the relationship between the deceased, his bodyguard, wife, and mistress.
Throughout the story, trouble once again breaks into Jenn and Jesse’s relationship. Jenn admits she is having problems committing to the relationship for professional reasons.
7. Stranger In Paradise - One of the main characters returns from a previous Jesse Stone Novel. Wilson Crow is back and is searching for someone. Stone cannot touch Crow since too much time has passed and there is no evidence that ties Crow to any past crimes.
Crow is looking for a teen girl named Amber Francisco, the daughter of a mob boss in Florida. In a surprising turn of events, Crow seeks help from Stone and they work together to solve the case.
8. Night And Day - The next novel includes an investigation into the allegations against a school principal who is accused of molestation. This case becomes tied to a group of swingers and the Night Hawk, a peeping tom in the area. As time passes, the Night Hawk begins to attack women.
Jesse’s relationship with Jenn continues to deteriorate. She moves to New York to live with her producer. Jesse begins drinking again and comes to the realization that Jenn only uses him. He starts a relationship with someone new and breaks all ties with Jenn for good.
9. Split Image - The police chief is investigating a body that was found in the trunk of an abandoned car. The body was an employee of a mob boss who has since retired to a rich area of Paradise. This is just the beginning as another high-ranking mob member is also found dead on Paradise Beach.
This book resolves the long tragic love life of Jesse Stone. He begins a new relationship and realizes that his need for control was the thing that drove his ex wife away. This is the final entry of the Jesse Stone Novels that was written by Robert B. Parker.
10. Killing the Blues - This is the only book in the series that was not written by Robert B. Parker. Michael Brandman continues the series after Robert’s death in 2010. The novel begins with a series of stolen cars which quickly escalates to arson and eventually a murder.
Jesse also starts a steamy relationship with event planner Alexis Richardson. Michael Brandman does an excellent job carrying on with Robert’s legacy of excellent Jesse Stone novels. This one does not disappoint.