I was desperately hoping that this book would defy the usual pattern of a new author failing to adequately take over an old author's story line and characters. I was badly disappointed. Jesse Stone is NOT in character in some significant ways in this story. For example, I cannot imagine Parker's Jesse cavalierly shucking Sunny Randall just because she went to Europe for a job, and falling rapidly into bed with a shallow young woman just because she chased him. Molly is also out of character for most of the story, demonstrating a hardness that was never seen before; as is Lt. Healy, who appears to be Jesse's errand boy, rather than a powerful cop in his own right. I mostly read Parker's stories for the excellent characters and character development rather than the plot, and plot alone cannot hold this story up. Parker, like any good writer, SHOWS his story, doesn't TELL it. This writer tells, actually preaches at times. Even the premise of the story--that Jesse was vicious enough in L.A. to beat a criminal into brain damage--is so out of character for Parker's Jesse Stone that it strains credibility past breaking. Parker's Jesse is a violent man, not a mean one; and even drunkenness does not change basic character. Overall, even the excellent narration cannot make up for the flawed plot and poor characterizations. Not worth the hearing, and certainly not worth another, or another book.
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