Robert B. Parker, prolific author of the Spenser, Sunny Randall, and Jesse Stone mystery and detective novels is usually a safe bet. Sea Change, the fifth mystery book in the Jesse Stone series is yet another captivating and easy read by a master of the genre. Parker may have lost a step or two over the years but even then he is superior to a vast majority of the mystery and detective novel writers out there and though Sea Change is not a classic, it definitely entertains and keeps you going. This is a hard one to put down and proof of that is I went through it in a single day.

Sea Change, the fifth mystery novel in the Jesse Stone series, has Stone back together with ex-wife Jenn, on the wagon, and investigating a floater that bobbed up in the sometimes tranquil town of Paradise, Massachusetts. He soon discovers there may be a link between the body, that of a thirty something woman, and a couple of the boats in town for Race Week, a month long boating festival. Jesse Stone, Chief of Police in Paradise, soon discovers that the owners of these two boats are definite proponents of free love and avid videographers. He gets an assist from Fort Lauderdale detective Kelly Cruz, who is bound to show up in her own series or in another Robert B. Parker novel, and, of course, gets Captain Healy and Rita Fiore from the Spenser series to make a cameo appearance or two.

All of these sexual shenanigans the victim, and a few of the young girls in Paradise were more or less willing participants in, and which Jesse Stone investigates, are more or less clumsily paralleled with Stone trying to understand what originally went wrong in his marriage so as to avoid making the same mistake again. This is where Robert B. Parker’s penchant for psychobabble shows up with stuff like objectifying women and yada yada yada. The encounters Jesse has with his personal shrink, Dix, serve here pretty much the same purpose the always incomplete recipes and detailed descriptions of what Susan Silverman is wearing in the Spenser novels: filler.

Still, Sea Change, the fifth Jesse Stone (played on the small screen by former Magnum P.I. star Tom Selleck) is definitely a solid read. Parker, even when he is not at the top of his form, can still write a fun to read and interesting mystery novel and this one is exactly that.

Sea Change -A Jesse Stone Mystery
Robert B. Parker
G.P. Putnam’s Sons 2006
296 pages

Jesse Stone made for TV mysteries:

Jesse Stone – Stone Cold: Tom Selleck, now far removed from his Magnum P.I. series, 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: Jesse Stone leaves the LAPD to head up the police force in Paradise Massachusetts.


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