The Top Five Jesse Stone Novels For Fans Of Gritty Police Procedurals

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Finding a new series to obsess over has become my recent mission, thanks to the crummy situation in the world and the UK government’s singular lack of organisation or common fucking sense.

As my country’s leadership has decided that testing isn’t a good idea and the economy takes precedence over human lives, my future, for the safety of myself and others, will be spent mostly indoors.

Even as the UK reopens, and everyone starts queueing around the block for cheap socks from Primark, I’m still reluctant to venture out, which means I’ve got a lot of spare time to fill.

So, with so much time spent indoors or lounging in my scrubby garden to look forward to, I’ve had to find a new series to keep myself occupied.

It was this, combined with my love for Tom Selleck, Kathy Baker and Viola Davis that led me to start watching the Jesse Stone adaptations made for TV a few years ago.

TV and films help to keep me occupied a little, but what I was looking for was a new book series. Books don’t require the internet, which in my house, lags a lot because of overuse. They also don’t need batteries, and can be read in the sunny garden or curled up in bed on lazy days.

Watching these shows got me interested in the Robert B. Parker novels that inspired it and introduced me to a new set of books to enjoy.

Parker was a prolific novelist before his death in 2010, and alongside the Jesse Stone series he also created the Spencer For Hire novels, which inspired a recent Netflix film with Mark Wahlberg. As well as crime fiction, he also wrote modern western novels and his books have been enjoyed by many readers over the years, so I thought that they were worth checking out.

Using the magic that is Internet shopping, I was able to procure some of these novels, and I’ve been loving them ever since the first one turned up at my door.

If you’re interested in finding out more about this enticing series, then check out my top 5 picks!

5. Split Image: In this last in the series written before he died, Parker turns what appears to be low-level hit on a lowly foot solider for a local mobster into a complicated case that tests Stone’s personal and professional resolve. He soon finds himself entangled with an out-of-town private detective who might be more involved with the case than he originally thought, leading to an array of startling revelations. The novel is a brilliant depiction of the alcoholic, workaholic small town cop, and a must-read for fans of the series.

4. High Profile: A salacious talk show host is found hanging outside of Paradise, with a second death following hot on its heels. The two bodies are connected, but Stone still finds it hard to identify a single, viable suspect. He’s stonewalled by the victims’ families and irritated by riled-up locals, making the investigation even more challenging.

3. Killing The Blues: Continuing Robert B. Parker’s legacy, Michael Brandman writes an engaging thriller that perfectly captures the character. I hadn’t actually planned to buy a Jesse Stone novel that wasn’t written by Parker, but I added it to my cart before I realised, and in hindsight I’m very glad that I did- it was a happy accident. The book continues Stone’s adventures, as he comes to believe that car thieves are operating in Paradise and contends with an old enemy who’s out of prison and out for revenge. In the middle of all of this, he’s got to deal with a new town publicist who is eager to turn Paradise into the New England version of Woodstock. Then the car thefts turn deadly, and Stone quickly finds himself in a perilous position.

killing the blues

2. Sea Change: Jesse Stone faces a sordid and confusing case when a woman’s dead body washes ashore. After a tough process of identification, Stone and his team uncover a web of lies, deceit, steamy sex scandals and much more. Connected to the murder is a rape allegation, which leads the intrepid detective into the sordid and opulent local yachting scene. This intriguing and fast-paced novel shows the seedy side of Paradise and the small-town challenges that Stone faces as Police Chief.

1. Night Passage: I’ve said it before, I’ll say it yet again: When you’re reading a book series, you should try to begin at the beginning. Night Passage is the first Jesse Stone novel, and it’s definitely worth checking out. Fired by the LAPD and dumped by his wife, alcoholic detective Jesse Stone reluctantly takes a job as head of police in a small town called Paradise. What appears to be a serene New England town quickly shows its true colours as a hotbed of crime and mystery. From political intrigue to murder and mobsters, the wise-cracking, quick-witted mess of a police chief is quickly out of his depth and thrust into a series of dangerous adventures.


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