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5.0 out of 5 stars Written to be read Aloud.
"Death In Paradise", by Richard B. Parker. Audio version (Five tapes) read by Robert Forester. New Millennium Audio, Beverly Hills, CA.
In short, staccato bursts of dialogue, Robert B. Parker tells the story of Chief of Police, Jesse Stone, in the small town of Paradise, north of Boston, Massachusetts. Chief Stone had lost his police job in Los Angeles, lost his...
Published on Jan. 28 2003 by John P. Rooney

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3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, but light...
Death in Paradise by Robert Parker is a very entertaining, but very light mystery. We follow the exploits of Paradise chief of police, Jesse Stone, as he tries to solve a murder mystery, get his drinking under control and get his love life on track. While Parker's dialogue is first rate, it seems to read more like a screenplay than a novel. Also, the plot seems to...
Published on Nov. 25 2003 by Cynthia K. Robertson


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4.0 out of 5 stars Second in a Series: Death In Paradise, Dec 20 2003
By 
This review is from: Death In Paradise (Hardcover)
Robert B. Parker is one of my guilty pleasures. Whether it is his long running Spenser series, or the two new series he has started featuring Sunny Randall or Jessie Stone, the books are all pretty much the same. Mr. Parker can be counted on to tell an interesting, relatively simplistic story where evil walks among us and will be struck down as fast as possible. Much like a great Steven Segal movie, the hero will do this almost single handily without a hair out of place and our hero is always a sure hit among the many ladies. When you don't want to have to think to follow along as a reader and you want a guaranteed escape from current reality, Mr. Parker is sure to come up with some enjoyable mind candy. This offering serves as yet another case in point.
Mr. Parker returns to the mean streets of small town life in Paradise, Massachusetts in his recent novel featuring Jesse Stone. Jesse is still the chief of Police and still torn by his love of drink as well as his love for his ex-wife, Jenn. Following up on his theme in Trouble In Paradise, the previous novel of the series, Jesse is still fighting the good fight. He wants Jenn back in the worst way, but is trying to stay strong in his resolve to allow her to find her own life and then decide if he still belongs. Their Wednesday night dates are still on and they remain open to seeing other partners. At the same time, he is still battling the idea that he is an alcoholic and that he will have to deal with it.
Both issues get pushed slightly backward as a body is discovered floating in the lake after a softball game. Jesse thinks he knows who it is and suspects that it is the body of a young teenage runaway. But her family won't acknowledge that she ever existed and due to the condition of the body, identification will take time.
As he and his small force of ten officers begin to work the case, a side story of domestic violence comes to his attention. Splitting his time between both cases becomes a full time effort as he tries to find one killer as well as preventing death in the other case. Jesse has his hands full and hardly breaks a sweat as he goes about his business working both cases.
Mr. Parker keeps up his long tradition of shallow characters, plenty of apparent action and almost continuous dialogue in this novel. At 294 pages in length, one would expect that this novel would not read as fast as it does. However, with so little narration and almost continuous dialogue consisting of very short sentences, it becomes an amazingly fast read. Mr. Parker won't change the world through his novels or how you look at it, but he can make you forget about it for a bit. Reminds one of a really good chocolate candy bar-great going down, but plenty of empty calories. Enjoy the break!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, but light..., Nov. 25 2003
By 
Cynthia K. Robertson (beverly, new jersey USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Death in Paradise (Mass Market Paperback)
Death in Paradise by Robert Parker is a very entertaining, but very light mystery. We follow the exploits of Paradise chief of police, Jesse Stone, as he tries to solve a murder mystery, get his drinking under control and get his love life on track. While Parker's dialogue is first rate, it seems to read more like a screenplay than a novel. Also, the plot seems to resolve itself just a little too quickly. My biggest complaint, however, is all the wasted paper. With 1 to 1-1/2 blank pages between each chapter--and we're talking 66 chapters and almost 300 pages here, it's almost as if Parker tried to make a novella into something larger. So for Parker fans, you'll enjoy this book but don't expect a deep, complicated or dramatic mystery.
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3.0 out of 5 stars But nobody seems to care about Billie..., April 7 2003
By 
Neal C. Reynolds (Indianapolis, Indiana) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Death In Paradise (Hardcover)
As this series continues, this novel may well portray crucial developments in Stone's life and career, but it fails to satisfy as a crime novel.
Jesse Stone faced a home-grown militia group in his debut novel, followed by a group of cold-blooded criminals pulling off a spectacular robbery in the second. So the murder of a 14 year old girl who's been disowned by her parents due to promiscuous behavior seems rather pedestrian in comparison.
Indeed, the girl Billie's parents, her former boy friend, and her high school principal have little interest. Unfortunately, Parker doesn't seem terribly interested either since we really don't get to know the girl.
However, the focus on Stone's drinking may be a crucial development in the series. Other people's problem drinking is involved in two incidental plotlines, and, along with Jenn's encouragement, may be what it takes to drive Jesse to accept counciling for his own problem.
There are a couple of other developments. After Gino Fish and Vinnie Morris appearing in the two previous books without actually meeting Stone, he meets them face to face for the first time.
There's also development in the relationship between the Chief and his main assistant. Spenser of course has Hawk, and Sunny Randall has her strong support. Jesse Stone has--Suitcase Simpson? Seems like he got shortchanged, but Suitcase does show promise. He still has a bit to go, but under the Chief's tutelage, he might be a respectable police officer yet.
I can't recommend this as a mystery, but do advise Parker fans to read it anyway because it does seem to be leading someplace.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Contriving the anti-Spenser, Feb. 11 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Death in Paradise (Mass Market Paperback)
Spenser is a connoisseur of fine wine and beer who has never been drunk. Jesse Stone is a drunk who can't quit even though he's lost his job and ended up in Podunk, his last chance professionally.
Spenser is erudite, quoting poets and philosophers. Stone never went to college and doesn't think he's read 476 pages in his whole life.
Spenser is unfailing insightful and psychological astute, self-aware and ruthlessly honest about his motives and emotions. Stone doesn't know much about his feelings or even think to look into his motives.
Spenser is heroically principled, devoted to Susan no matter what, a man's man who is also a commmited feminist. Stone is a skirt-chaser who is pathetically enmeshed in a relationship with his catting-around ex-wife.
Spenser proceeds by pushing and shaking and seeing what turns up. Stone doesn't want to jostle anyone until he understands everything and can "get 'em all."
Well, you get the picture. Basically, point by point Parker created the antithesis of Spenser. And I find him tiresome and uninteresting.
In my opinion, the weakest of the Spenser novels are more intricately plotted than this book--which lacks much of anything in the way of red herrings or dramatic tension. Stone faces an obvious dark mirror image of himself in the Snyders, a subplot that has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the mystery, that never even intersects it main plot, that is just stuck in to let Stone have a moment of self-knowledge--of sorts. The whole book is like that--a lot of plot lines and devices alongside each other without cohering or supporting ach other. To me, this just feels like an author thinking, "Okay, I want to make point x, and what would make point x? Oh--I know," without ever figuring out whether point x, or the way he's decided to make it, has anything to do with developing the story.
I can understand Parker wanting to write series outside the Spenser franchise, but this book seems mechanically conceived to me. Yes, the prose, as always, is excellent. The dialog is as fine as, if not better than, anything in the best Iowa-bred literary oeuvre. But, to my mind, the Spenser series is so singular and great precisely because of the things Parker inverted in creating Stone.
Obviously, some folks like this series. But don't pick it up expecting anything remotely resembling the Spenser novels.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Written to be read Aloud., Jan. 28 2003
By 
John P. Rooney "John" (Massachusetts) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Death in Paradise (Mass Market Paperback)
"Death In Paradise", by Richard B. Parker. Audio version (Five tapes) read by Robert Forester. New Millennium Audio, Beverly Hills, CA.
In short, staccato bursts of dialogue, Robert B. Parker tells the story of Chief of Police, Jesse Stone, in the small town of Paradise, north of Boston, Massachusetts. Chief Stone had lost his police job in Los Angeles, lost his first wife and ended up in the small town of Paradise. His experience in Minor League Baseball makes the Chief a star in the local softball league, and that's where the story begins. The softball team's reverie after the early evening game is broken by the discovery of badly decomposed body floating in the lake. The story then grows around Chief Stone's development of his tiny police force by instructing them, with on-the-job training, in big city police tactics.
The dead girl's family has disowned her; the girl had run away, and become part of a sex for pay group. Stone shows his police officers how to act on routine (and boring) stakeouts and finally, he tracks down the murderer. Throughout all of this, the author has interspersed tales of Stone's alcoholism, failure at married life and regrets with the injury that cost him a promising baseball career. About three-quarters of the way through, you begin suspecting the identity of the killer, but these side issues in the life of Chief Stone continue to make the book interesting.
This book appears to be better if it is read aloud. The audio version, read by Robert Forester, flowed naturally and rapidly. Everything seemed to fit together as the book was read. It certainly helped me in the traffic of I-495, around Boston. Speaking of Boston, please let the reader know that the pronunciation of Copely Square is "COP-lee", not the "Cope -lee" used in this presentation.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Like an Oriental painting..., Nov. 23 2002
By 
This review is from: Death in Paradise (Mass Market Paperback)
...P>But I think what we have in this novel is pure craftsmanship, the kind where the artist paints the leaf and the twig and leaves the tree and the landscape to the viewer's imagination. Jesse Stone doesn't NEED to say any more than he does, nor do any of the other characters in the book. And the plot is really quite complicated and intricate, with all lines coming together by the last page...as well as the final hint of more to come and life and intrigue resuming even after we have put the book down.
Parker, you get better with every novel. Reader, don't be decieved. This is one really well written book!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Don't take that next drink, Jesse!, Nov. 20 2002
By 
Dennis E. Smirl (Topeka, KS United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Death in Paradise (Mass Market Paperback)
Jesse Stone is a cop - and a boozer. Don't call him an alcoholic because he doesn't admit it to himself. And he's certainly not going to go to AA meetings. The mystery is so-so. Parker certainly has done better, and I expect he will again. What I enjoyed, however, was Jesse Stone's struggle with his own weakness and his slow but steady progress toward redemption. The rapid-fire dialogue sometimes plays a bit thin - maybe I've seen it too often in the Spencer novels. It makes for fast reading, but after a while it becomes an affectation, rather than an interesting way to show characters in action. Certainly this isn't the best Parker novel ever published, perhaps it might even be a bit below average, but even a less-than-average Parker is better than 99% of the rest of what's out there. Certainly worth an afternoon in the recliner with a NON-alcoholic beverage on the side table.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good but quick read, Nov. 15 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Death in Paradise (Mass Market Paperback)
I have read all of Robert Parkers books and these latest ones are not his best, but still Death In Paradise kept my attention and I read it in one day. I will continue to by Parkers books but I do wish he would put a little more into them.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Jesse Stone returns, Nov. 13 2002
By 
David W. Nicholas (Van Nuys, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Death in Paradise (Mass Market Paperback)
Robert B. Parker has been writing for a long time, and there are critics everywhere. As he's progressed, his writing has gotten more and more spare, and careful. It's to the point now where he almost doesn't write the book, and you almost don't read it. It sort of flows past you, and only the characters and the action are important. Interesting phenomenon.
This time around, Jesse Stone's weekly softball game is interrupted by the discovery of a dead girl floating in a nearby lake. Stone investigates, and eventually discovers who she is and why she's there. Meanwhile there's a domestic disturbance call (a wife being beaten) that slowly escalates to something worse. The problem with the book, as much as there is one, is that neither of these plots is that interesting, so you have to pay attention to the characters. They at least are diverting, and I did have some fun watching Jesse do his thing. Neither bad guy is that smart, though. I suppose much of the time that's the way it is in real life.
All in all, a decent entry into Parker's library, but not his best book.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Death in Paradise, Aug. 14 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Death In Paradise (Hardcover)
The regular evening game of the Paradise Men's Softball League is interrupted when the body of a young woman floats to the surface of the adjacent lake. Since no one can identify the shooting victim, and no one answering to her general description has been reported missing, Police Chief Jesse Stone (Trouble in Paradise, 1998, etc.) relies on routine inquiries and a telltale class ring to identify her as Elinor (Billie) Bishop, universally labeled the "town pump" by her fellow high-school students. Billie's reputation is so dire, in fact, that her own parents deny she's their daughter. The only link Jesse can find for Billie is to the shelter for runaways that Sister Mary John runs in Jamaica Plains. But that link leads in turn to Alan Garner, whose telephone Billie had given as a forwarding number when she left the shelter, and to Garner's boss Gino Fish, the well-connected gay Boston mobster Parker's major-league sleuth Spenser (Potshot, p. 209, etc.) has tangled with now and again. All Jesse has to do is follow the links-if he can tear himself away from the bottle, his ex-wife Jenn, his current love interest Lilly Summers, and the rest of Paradise's troubled citizens for long enough. Parker regulars will find the same extraordinary stillness-as if every scene were still another frozen tableau-that marks the more famous Spenser novels. What they won't find this time is enough action, detection, or real mystery to keep a self-respecting short story from starving to death. Author tour
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Death in Paradise
Death in Paradise by Robert B. Parker (Mass Market Paperback - Nov. 5 2002)
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