Stone Cold Hardcover – Sep 30 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
It's taken four novels, but finally Parker's Jesse Stone series has produced a book as good as top-drawer Spenser. This outing finds the laconic, troubled cop tackling three problems: to capture the pair of serial killers who are murdering random victims in small-town Paradise, Mass., where Stone is chief of police; to bring to justice the three high-school students who gang-raped a younger schoolmate; and to come to terms with his love of both alcohol and his ex-wife, Jenn. The serial killers, revealed early to the reader and soon enough to Stone, are a married yuppie pair who taunt Stone, whom they take as a dumb hick cop, as he collects evidence to bring them down; his pursuit of them leads them to kill someone close to him, then to target Stone himself, and eventually to an emotionally cathartic climax in Toronto, where the killers have fled. That story line serves as a fine little police procedural, but Parker is at his max here when following the rape plot, especially in scenes in which Stone, in his cool, compassionate way, tries to help the besieged victim as best he can. Meanwhile, under intense media attention and pressure from town elders for the ongoing serial killings, Stone works his way toward an understanding of the roles that booze and Jenn play in his life. Told in third-person prose that's a model of economy, with sharp action sequences, deep yet unobtrusive character exploration and none of the cuteness that can mar the Spenser novels, this is prime Parker, testament to why he was named a Grand Master at the 2002 Edgar Awards.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Paradise, Massachusetts, police chief Jesse Stone is an addictive personality. Booze cost him his job as a homicide detective with the LAPD, and after that blew up, he traveled across the country to be near his ex-wife, television journalist Jenn. He refuses to believe it's over between them, and she doesn't help with her come-hither, leave-me-alone mood swings. But the qualities making his personal life hell also make him a good cop. You don't want Jesse to get you in his sights if you're a criminal. The baddies in this case are a couple who target their victims based on looks, stalk them, and kill them with two simultaneous shots from identical .22 caliber pistols. While hunting the psychos, Jesse is also after three middle-class juvenile predators who raped a classmate. Stone is much like Parker's Spenser, but with self-doubt overriding self-confidence. That formula worked fine in the first two Stone novels, but this one is less successful. Too much dime-store psychology between Stone and his Zen therapist; too much love-for-the-ages blather between Stone and his ex; and too much squad-room violence between Stone and his prisoners. Stone is a worthy character, but this is not the novel to make the case. But that doesn't mean Parker's fans won't want the chance to decide for themselves. Wes Lukowsky
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Top Customer Reviews
Jesse and his colleagues take on two cases. The first hits hard as it becomes clear that a pair of serial killers are at work in Paradise, shooting victims seemingly at random with their .22 caliber pistols. Jesse figures out who they are and begins trying to prove their guilt. These two are fascinating characters, capable, arrogant, and eerily charming. Before Jesse has gathered sufficient evidence, they begin to take a personal interest in him.
The second case emerges from the tearful disclosures of a high school girl who has been raped by three members of the football team. Jesse and his two closest officers persuade the girl to tell her story, help her deal with two very different parental reactions, and devise a way to arrest the three attackers without revealing that their victim has come forward. Jesse does what he can to help her heal and resume a normal life.
The two main plotlines are engaging and sufficiently unpredictable. It was good to see Jesse largely in control of his life as well as his work. If his ex would just leave him alone, he would be even better off. I am sure of it.
I very much enjoyed Stone Cold. If I did have a complaint at all I would have to say that I wish there were a bit more development and background as to why the serial killers pursued their victims. While a general explanation is offered, I would have liked to have seen a little more.
In this case, a couple that is entirely ruthless and gets their kicks from killing strangers has moved into Stone's small town. As police chief, Stone is faced with tracking down very smart people who have developed a method for identifying and killing people that does not require them to make any significant mistakes or leave any evidence.
The couple begins to be fascinated with the idea of killing Stone; the plot thickens.
In the middle of all this, Stone continues to long for his ex-wife and continues to date without the ability to commit. He struggles with the amount of alcohol he uses to compensate for the emptiness he feels from living without his ex-wife.
Parker has written a number of times about the power of being committed so deeply to someone that you have no choice but to live it out (most powerfully in Love and Glory). Stone Cold takes a deep step into that territory and does it while spinning a very good mystery story.
In this novel, a pair of serial murderers is running rampant in Jesse Stone's small town. The motive is unfathomable, but then, they ARE serial killers. While Jesse and his police force track the killers, not only the why, but the who will be next question hangs densely in the air.
While the investigation proceeds, Jesse becomes more or less involved with a couple of different women, when his ex-wife enters the picture.
In the center of this novel is the third line of the story involving a young girl who claims to have been raped by some of the jocks at her school. The way Jesse handles this investigation is a wonderful new facet to this character.
The mix of emotions is nearly volatile, and as another murder occurs, you begin to wonder how will Robert PArker bring the story together. I thought the serial killers were a little vague, as characters, but still the surprising twists and turns of this author never fail to capture the readers full attention.
Most recent customer reviews
As always really good book by Robert B Parker. I really like Jesse Stone novel. A really good reading. Great buy.Published on April 23 2013 by Ginette
I think this is definately one of the best books in Jesse Stone series. Jesse Stone encounters two very smart murderers who kill randomly and seemingly without a motive. Read morePublished on July 14 2004 by Victoria
I've been a fan of this writer for a long time and usually enjoy all of his books. I think most people who read the work of Robert Parker will enjoy the stories as well. Read morePublished on June 7 2004 by Peg Dubeck
Parker's writing leaves me stone cold. This is the first Robert Parker novel I've read, and it did not impress. Read morePublished on May 24 2004 by S. A. Cartwright
RObert Parker writes good page-turning mysteries and this one is in his upper echelon.
Jesse Stone is a big-time L.A. Read more
I am a big Robert Parker fan and have enjoyed his creating new characters. After all, Spenser has been around the ring for a lot of rounds. Read morePublished on May 6 2004 by Sean Patrick
I was not huge Parker fan until I read his previous novel. LOVED IT! This one was not quite as good but it was interesting and it wasn't filled with too much boredom, but could be... Read morePublished on April 26 2004 by Dory
I pride myself on having read the original Spenser-The Godwulf Manuscript-while it was a HB in the stores, and I've gotten lots of pleasure from all that's followed. Read morePublished on April 16 2004 by R. M Connors