As recent Robert B. Parker mystery novels go High Profile, the latest (2008) Jesse Stone paperback is not bad. It is not as good as the early Paradise novels or the early to middle Spensers.
In Mostly Harmless, Douglas Adams has Arthur Dent visit a planet where all books are 280 pages long no matter what. High Profile would be a hit on that planet. On this planet, it feels like Parker did not know where the plot was going, saw page 280 coming up, and raced to the finale. The ending is only slightly more believable than the motive for the crime, the latter being the winner of the Yeah, Right award
Famous talk-show host Walton Weeks is found hanging from a tree in Paradise. He was shot before he was hung. His latest mistress’ body is found in a dumpster. Suspects include the last three or four Mrs. Weeks and various hangers on.
Not much attention is paid to the mistress, a young woman who conveniently enough was disowned by her family and so whose death is really secondary here.
This part of High Profile is relatively decent
Where this Jesse Stone mystery collapses is when Sunny Randall, Stone’s latest flame, becomes bodyguard to Stone’s ex-wife after she is attacked. This is the occasion for some psycho-babble girl talk and for Stone to pine for both Sunny Randall and the ex-wife he can never quite leave. This leads to another Yeah, Right conclusion.
Parker is definitely slipping. I even sometimes suspect Mrs. Parker is writing some of the stuff.
The one thing that keeps a reader going in High Profile, aside its authorship, is the development of the Suitcase Simpson character and some of the banter between he and Stone.
Jesse Stone TV Mysteries: Click to read review
Jesse Stone – Stone Cold: Tom Selleck is just the right guy to play the still somewhat alcoholic ex-L.A. cop
Jesse Stone – Thin Ice DVD: Fifth in the series and just as excellent as always.
Jesse Stone: Death In Paradise: How does a straight A student end up brutally murdered and floating in a local lake? Jesse Stone makes it his business to find out.
Jesse Stone: Night Passage: First in series. Jesse Stone leaves the LAPD to head up the police force in Paradise Massachusetts.