Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Guest Blog--Stranger in Paradise by Robert B. Parker

My husband is the one who got me started watching Jesse Stone mysteries on television. Tom Selleck is just a few years older than I am, so it is natural that I thought he was pretty cute when he did the Magnum, P.I. series years ago. He is older, just as I am, and he has put on weight, just as I have, but he still plays a very good, tough cop in the Jesse Stone movies.

Robert B. Parker has been writing Spenser novels since 1971. Spenser: For Hire became a regular TV series during the 1980s. A series that I did not watch. I have never been attracted to the hard-boiled detective types. Quite frankly, I am very found of Hercule Poirot. But hard-drinking Jesse Stone played by Tom Selleck got my attention.

The first Jesse Stone novel was published in 1997 so it wasn’t too difficult for me to read and watch all of the books and DVDs available at our local library. I have been looking forward to the chance to read the latest novel, Stranger in Paradise.

It didn’t disappointment. Within a day I had started and finished the latest story about the chief of police in Paradise, Massachusetts. As I read, every word that Stone said came with a mental picture and the voice of Tom Selleck. But that was all right by me. I could clearly see some of the other characters too: Suitcase Simpson and Molly, two other officers on the small Paradise police force.

In Parker’s latest book, Wilson Cromartie (Crow) is a hired hit man from Jesse Stone’s past. He walks into Stone’s office and makes it clear that he is in town on business and that he hopes that Stone and he will not get in each other’s way. Crow has come to Paradise looking for a wife and teenage daughter who have fled from a powerful gangster in Miami, Florida. When he eventually finds them, Crow decides that he is not going to follow his employer’s instructions. His refusal to obey the man who has paid him well brings hardened criminals from Miami to quiet Paradise. Collaboration between the hit man and the chief of police is the only way to save the day.

There is a little too much use of some well-known four-letter words than I am comfortable with. Hopefully they’ll clean up the language when this one comes to TV. Other than that, I enjoy seeing how Jesse is progressing with his drinking problems and his ex-wife problems. He has always been a good policeman and a conscientious preserver of the peace. He seems to be beginning to see that he has other good qualities as well. I am a fan. However, I don’t think that I can tell whether it is a fan of Jesse Stone or of Tom Selleck. If you like either of them, I recommend this new novel.

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