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Monday, March 12, 2007

Trouble in Paradise

****½ Trouble in Paradise by Robert B. Parker. Mystery.

This is the 2nd book in the Jesse Stone series, but I haven't read the first one. I've been reading Parker hit and miss for a little while now--maybe I ought to get a list and start reading them in order.

And I really need to get caught up here--I've read 21 books since reading Trouble in Paradise, and, unfortunately, one of those was another Parker, and they're kind of blurring in my head. Whoops. Amazon reviews to the rescue.

One thing that several of the Amazon reviews complained (?!) about was that this was a crime novel, not a mystery novel. Um, okay. I suppose I understand the distinction--there was never any question about whodunit, but geez. I guess if I read a lot of mysteries, I'd be subdividing them too, the way I do with romances and to a lesser extent, sf/f.

So, okay. Trouble in Paradise is both a caper story and a police procedural. On the one hand, we have Jesse Stone, a small town police chief with a drinking problem and an ex-wife he can't let go of (hence the aforementioned blurring of this book and Valediction, the other Parker novel I read recently--both Stone and Spenser have the same odd romantic relationship). He's also pretty much a slut, but that's okay, because his ex-wife Jenn, who's just taken a job at the town's TV station, is a slut too. Stone is, however, smarter than he looks.

On the other hand is James Macklin, who's setting up the heist of a century, a la Ocean's 11. He's going to rip off Stiles Island. The whole island--houses, bank, shops, everything. He puts together his team, and we watch him setting it up. He's a bad guy, but he's still pretty appealing--maybe because we get to see him through the eyes of his girlfriend, who understands him very well.

It's a book I could really see as a movie--the race between them to see if Jimmy can pull off the heist before Jesse can untangle his personal life long enough to figure out what's going on and stop him. It had me on the edge of my seat, not wanting to put the book down.

One last comment regarding the Amazon reviews--a lot of them said this was a book only men would like. Which makes me think the reviewers are as sexist as they're complaining Parker is.


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