Thursday, October 27, 2011

Stranger in Paradise, Robert B. Parker

Since Robert B. Parker died, I've been saving the few novels of his that I hadn't read. I parcel them out to myself very slowly. Yesterday I allowed myself the pleasure of reading this Jesse Stone novel.

If you've read any of this series or have seen a TV interpretation of one, you know Jesse has a drinking problem which got him fired from the police force in California, and an ex-wife who just refuses to stay away from him so he can get over her. He is now the police chief in Paradise, MA. He sees a shrink regularly in a vain attempt to handle his problems.

In Stranger in Paradise we have a character who is much like Hawk of the Spenser series. This guy is a crook, but he has scruples. He won't kill women, for instance; he likes them. And the women are fascinated by him, including me. He claims to be an Apache Indian and goes by the single name Crow although his real name is Wilson Cromartie. To my mind he makes this novel.

Detective "Suitcase" Simpson has changed since the beginning of the series, in what was to me a very surprising way. As usual, the story is punctuated by witty dialogue, a laid back approach to detecting, and some very snobby folks who are incensed because a half dozen little children are being transported to their neighborhood Monday through Friday to a new school. The residents keep going on about "the camel's nose in the tent" as if these little kids are going to steal their silver and put graffiti on their mansions. It's very funny, and of course Jesse gives them enough rope to hang themselves.

I'm not an unbiased reviewer in this case because I've loved Robert B. Parker novels forever, but really who wouldn't like this book. I urge you to read it.


  1. Wow, Parker's writing must have been special if your saving books to savor.

  2. Oh I have to read this. Not only do you make it sound really good, but Jim's daughter is one of those incensed parents about transporting kids to a different school! :--)

  3. No need to be unbiased, in my opinion. I'm a fellow Robert Parker fan. I love the Jesse Stone series on TV. I want to read them after I finish his Western series. I like how "Suit" has changed too.

  4. I haven't read any of the JS books, but I think the tv series is excellent. Tom Selleck is perfect in the role, I think. Have you ever read his one book for younger readers? I loved it and wrote about it here:

  5. Thanks for the comments everyone. Nan, I didn't know he had written a book for younger readers. Must get a copy. I do like Tom Selleck as Jesse Stone.

    Jill, You'll love the way Jesse uses their own actions to make the Paradise snobs look foolish.

    Margot, Parker's style fits very well with his western novels, I think. Down to earth but witty.

    Kathy, I do love his books that much. I'll be broken-hearted when I've read them all.