Night Passage (Jesse Stone Series #1)

( 49 )

Overview

The author of two dozen Spenser novels as well as numerous other works of fiction, Robert B. Parker is no stranger to either critical or popular acclaim. With his hallmark sharp wit and taut action, Parker has created in the Spenser series the standard against which all contemporary detective novels are measured, and a character considered the paragon of private eyes. In Night Passage, Parker sets the bar even higher, with the introduction of ...

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Night Passage (Jesse Stone Series #1)

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Overview

The author of two dozen Spenser novels as well as numerous other works of fiction, Robert B. Parker is no stranger to either critical or popular acclaim. With his hallmark sharp wit and taut action, Parker has created in the Spenser series the standard against which all contemporary detective novels are measured, and a character considered the paragon of private eyes. In Night Passage, Parker sets the bar even higher, with the introduction of Jesse Stone, a hero cut from different cloth.

After a busted marriage kicks his drinking problem into overdrive and the LAPD unceremoniously dumps him, the thirty-five-year-old Stone's future looks bleak. So he's shocked when a small Massachusetts town called Paradise recruits him as police chief. He can't help wondering if this job is a genuine chance to start over, the kind of offer he can't refuse.

Once on board, Jesse doesn't have to look for trouble in Paradise: it comes to him. For what is on the surface a quiet New England community quickly proves to be a crucible of political and moral corruption—replete with triple homicide, tight Boston mob ties, flamboyantly errant spouses, maddened militiamen and a psychopath-about-town who has fixed his violent sights on the new lawman. Against all this, Jesse stands utterly alone, with no one to trust; even he and the woman he's seeing are like ships that pass in the night. He finds he must test his mettle and powers of command to emerge a local hero—or the deadest of dupes.

As the flagship volume in a new series featuring a complex and engaging sleuth, Night Passage is cause for celebration.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Jesse Stone, the protagonist of Night Passage, is separated from Parker's Spenser by more than a first name. A former L.A. homicide cop with a drinking problem, a broken marriage, and some lost dreams, Stone has just been hired to be police chief of the small Massachusetts town of Paradise. The Paradise power brokers are sure surprised when Stone not only doesn't look the other way at various goings-on but also starts looking into such matters as money laundering, militia activities, and murder. Unlike Spenser, who arrived fully formed in 1974, Stone has some pieces damaged or missing, giving Parker plenty to work with in future entries.

—Nancy Pate

Newsday
Parker's sentences flow with as much wit, grace and assurance as ever, and Stone is a complex and consistently interesting new protagonist.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Great series characters can wind up tyrannizing their creators, who often seek relief in secondary series heroes. But Professor Challenger didn't save Conan Doyle from Holmes, Tiger Mann never put the kibosh on Spillane's Mike Hammerand Jessie Stone, though a finely wrought protagonist, won't keep Parker's fans from clamoring for ever more Spenser stories. Parker writes of Stone, an alcoholic cop booted out of L.A. Homicide only to be offered a job as police chief of a small Massachusetts town, in the third person, and his plotting suffers from the resultant multiple viewpoints. With Parker playing nearly all his cards face-up, there's little mystery and no suspense as Jesse uncovers, then foils, a murderous conspiracy on the part of a town official and his white-power militia. Also, many of the supporting charactersthe official, his bully of a sidekick, a couple of mobsters and a burned-out teen whom Jesse befriendswill seem, though crisply carved, too familiar to Spenser devotees. And so will Jesse, for although alluringly moody and silent, he is, like Spenser, a tough man of honor who gets the job done. What's less predictable here are the complex, expertly shaded relationships, especially romantic, as Jesse flails and fails at loving both his ex-wife and his new girlfriend. The most powerful romance here, though, is between Parker and the written word. He has employed the third person before, most notably in Wilderness and the cop saga All Our Yesterdays. Still, his doing so is sufficiently rare that it is exceedingly satisfying to watch this prose master lay down his cool, clean lines from outside someone's skin. 125,000 first printing. (Sept.)
Library Journal
The creator of the famed Spenser novels introduces a new detective series.
Kirkus Reviews
After 24 Spenser titles (Small Vices, p. 90, etc.), Parker branches out with this tale of Jesse Stone, who's eased out of LAPD Homicide by his divorce-driven drinking, then hired by the sharp town fathers of Paradise, Mass., to replace Chief Tom Carson, who found out a little too much about Paradise. And there's lots to find out, because Board of Selectmen chair Hasty Hathaway—whose credentials also include heading Freedom's Horsemen, the local Aryan supremacist militia—is in bed with organized crime guys from Boston. Hasty's also in bed with Tammy Portugal (though you can hardly blame him: Mrs. Hasty is getting nasty with everybody in town but him); and when Tammy threatens to go public with their affair unless Hasty makes an honest woman of her, the stage is set for a no-holds-barred confrontation between Hasty, his crime connections (especially his fix-it man, body-builder Jo Jo Genest), his crooked cops, and Freedom's Horsemen (on one side) and taciturn loner Jesse (on the other). Longtime Spenser fans, who have been enjoying the clipped phone dialogue between Jesse and his ex, will be smacking their lips. But then, suddenly, everything's too easy. Jesse gets his drinking under control and makes key friends in Paradise. His force closes ranks behind him. The big-time mobsters get busy fighting among themselves. Jo Jo crumbles. Freedom's Horsemen implode. Don't even ask about Hasty.

You can always rely on Parker for some great talk and great scenes. But you'll have to wait for later entries in this new series for a great story.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780425183960
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 7/28/2001
  • Series: Jesse Stone Series , #1
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 79,495
  • Product dimensions: 7.50 (w) x 4.18 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert B. Parker was the author of seventy books, including the legendary Spenser detective series, the novels featuring Police Chief Jesse Stone, and the acclaimed Virgil Cole-Everett Hitch westerns, as well as the Sunny Randall novels. Winner of the Mystery Writers of America Grand Master Award and long considered the undisputed dean of American crime fiction, he died in January 2010.

Robert B. Parker was the author of more than fifty books. He died in January 2010.

Biography

Robert B. Parker began as a student of hard-boiled crime writers such as Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, but when he became a crime writer himself, he was one of the rare contemporary authors to be considered on par with his predecessors. The Spenser series, featuring a Boston-based ex-boxer and ex-cop, is one of the genre's most respected and popular fixtures.

Noted for their sharp dialogue and fine character development, the Spenser books carry on a tradition while updating it, particularly in giving its hero two strong alter egos in Hawk, a black friend and right-hand man; and Susan Silverman, Spenser's psychologist love interest. Parker's inclusion of other races and sexual persuasions (several of his novels feature gay characters, a sensibility strengthened in Parker through his sons, both of whom are gay) give a more modern feel to the cases coming into Spenser's office.

The Spenser series, which began with 1973's The Godwulf Manuscript, has an element of toughness that suits its Boston milieu; but it delves just as often into the complex relationship between Silverman and Spenser, and the interplay between the P.I. and Hawk.

By the late ‘80s, Parker had acquired such a reputation that the agent for Raymond Chandler's estate tapped him to finish the legend's last book, Poodle Springs. It was a thankless mission bound to earn criticism, but Parker carried off the task well, thanks to his gift for to-the-point writing and deft plotting. "Parker isn't, even here, the writer Chandler was, but he's not a sentimentalist, and he darkens and deepens Marlowe," the Atlantic concluded. In 1991, Parker took a second crack at Chandler with the Big Sleep sequel Perchance to Dream.

Parker took other detours from Spenser over the years. In 1999, Family Honor introduced Sunny Randall, a female Boston private eye Parker created with actress Helen Hunt in mind. Two years earlier, he introduced L.A.-to-New England cop transplant Jesse Stone in Night Passage. He also authored four bestselling Westerns featuring Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch, a few young adult books, as well as several stand-alone novels that were well-received by his many fans.

Parker died suddenly in January 2010 while at home at his desk, working on a book. The cause was a heart attack. He was seventy-seven.

Good To Know

Parker's thesis in graduate school was a study of the private eye in literature that centered on Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett and Ross MacDonald. Critics would later put him in the same category as those authors.

Parker's main hero is named for Edmund Spenser, the 16th-century author of The Faerie Queene.

Parker had a hand in writing the scripts for some television adaptations of Spenser books starring Robert Urich, who also played Spenser in the ABC series from 1985-88. Urich suffered a battle with cancer and passed away in 2002, but adaptations continue to be made for A&E, starring Joe Mantegna. Parker approved of the new actor, telling the New York Times: ''I looked at Joe and I saw Spenser."

According to a profile in the New York Times, Parker met his wife Joan when the two were toddlers at a birthday party. The two reconnected as freshmen at Colby College and eventually had two sons. They credit the survival of their marriage to a house split into separate living spaces, so that the two can enjoy more independent lives than your average husband and wife.

Parker told fans in a 1999 Barnes & Noble.com chat that he thought his non-series historical novel All Our Yesterdays was "the best thing I've ever written."

Parker had a small speaking part in the 1997 A&E adaptation of Small Vices. How does he have time to write his Spenser books, plus the other series and the adaptation stuff? "Keep in mind, it takes me four or five months to write a novel, which leaves me a lot of time the rest of the year," he told Book magazine. "I don't like to hang around."

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    1. Date of Birth:
      September 17, 1932
    2. Place of Birth:
      Springfield, Massachusetts
    1. Date of Death:
      January 18, 2010
    2. Place of Death:
      Cambridge, Massachusetts
    1. Education:
      B.A. in English, Colby College, 1954; M.A., Ph. D. in English, Boston University, 1957, 1971
    2. Website:

Table of Contents

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Interviews & Essays

I created Jesse Stone to see if I could -- the way, if you lift weights, you try a 300-pound bench press. He is a different kind of character than Spenser, and through him I can offer another point of view. This series is written in third person, not first person. I intentionally deprived myself of all the tricks that you can play with a first person narration.

I was quite careful not to make Jesse Stone Spenser by another name. Jesse Stone is about 35 and has had many setbacks in his life. He grew up in Arizona and California and started out as a minor-league ballplayer, a shortstop. When he hurt his arm and couldn't make the throw, that opportunity passed him by. Then he became a cop in the L.A. police department. He has a drinking problem, which he is controlling at the moment, but not perfectly. When his marriage broke up, Jesse got fired from the LAPD, not for insubordination but for drunkenness. Now he is alone in a strange new environment, having moved from California to Massachusetts to be the police chief of a small town called Paradise.

So Jesse Stone is employed as opposed to Spenser, who is self-employed; he is young whereas Spenser is more mature; he does not have a happy love relationship, although his ex-wife is around -- that's problematic. Also, Jesse is not the same kind of self-contained guy that Spenser is. Jesse is a much more damaged individual who is coming to terms with himself as he goes along, unlike Spenser, who may have changed over the years but is still the same person he was on the first page of The Godwulf Manuscript.

—Robert B. Parker

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 49 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(22)

4 Star

(11)

3 Star

(11)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(3)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 49 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2007

    Crisp, Interesting, and Speedy Read

    The main character, Jesse Stone, is a believable fallen hero. I loved the witty and concise dialogue and the mixture of suspense and romance. This book is well written despite it being such an easy read. I recommend this if you are looking for relaxed entertainment.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 10, 2009

    Jesse Stone series renewed my interest in Robert B Parker.

    Thoroughly enjoyed this book. I am an avid mystery reader but became interested in this series after seeing one of the books that was made in to a TV movie. Couldn't put the book down.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 9, 2012

    NO SAMPLE ! ! !

    So this book sounded interesting, so, the thing to do...... Read the free sample....... RIGHT ? ? WRONG ! ! ! The " free sample" consists of ..... 14 pages of media reviews and a 15th page.... The books cover ! ! ! Now I'm not interested . NO S

    3 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 7, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Not my favorite but a quick read....

    Those of you who have read other reviews know that I stumbled upon an old tupperware tub in my house filled with old books belonging to myself and my husband. I have since read a few of Robert Parker's novels, and again, this is my first read of NIGHT PASSAGE.

    Coming from Massachusetts, I love taking quick trips back home through Robert Parker's characters. And when I only have time for a few chapters, his writing works for me.

    The problem with this book is that I expected more. I think that I have read enough of Mr. Parker to begin to favor some books over others. Some reviewers have said that they were sick of listening to ex-spouses express their undying love for each other while on the telephone at night, sharing a drink. I tend to agree. That became old rather quickly. I too, wish Mr. Parker had spent more time putting more detail in what could have been an even greater detective book. I would have understood more if this was the first book he had written, but I felt that he penned it rather quickly and sent it along for publication without giving it much thought.

    That said, I read this book in about 3 days and did enjoy it as a fluffy, fast paced, short chapter read.

    J.R. Reardon
    author, CONFIDENTIAL COMMUNICATIONS

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2009

    An easy read that holds your attention

    Good characters, particularly Jesse Stone. The small town feel is very accurate, with many sub-plots to hold your interest.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2013

    Convinced!

    The first book in this series has convinced me to read more of them.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2014

    Not the same as the movie, but still good story and character development.

    My husband and I became interested in the movies, so I decided to read the book. The story is great but different from the movie. I think I really like the movie characters, and it is hard to loose some essential aspects of the movie when reading the book. Should be the other way around. Still I think the book is fun and well written.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2014

    Parker At His Best

    As a big fan of the Spenser novels, Night Passage is Robert Parker at his best. The character of Jesse Stone is complicated and conflicted and the story line makes you want to continue reading to its conclusion and then will make you want to read more. Night Passage is the first of the Jesse Stone Series and after reading it, I've since purchased and read all of Parker's Jesse Stone Series books. They are quick reads, entertaining and fun to read.

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  • Posted October 1, 2013

    enjoyed it

    will be reading the entire series

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  • Posted August 22, 2013

    Smooth and relaxed Reading

    When I read each of these Jesse Stone books I always sense the easy going style of the character of the small town Police Chief, as played by Tom Selleck, in the previous TV Movies.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2013

    Recommend

    If you have seem the Jesse Stone series starring Tom Selleck and liked it, you'll enjoy this book. It's characters are well developed and it's a quick read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 22, 2013

    I am a long time Parker fan, and upon seeing an ad for the Jesse

    I am a long time Parker fan, and upon seeing an ad for the Jesse Stone series, I set about reading and acquiring them. I enjoy Parker's skill at character creation. Flawed, but with a code that makes them do the right thing, and the hard thing. 

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2012

    Good writing

    255 pages I enjoyed the story and will read more of the series. It helps to have seen some of the tv shows so you have face with the name. Tom Selleck plays him well. Good mystery.

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  • Posted February 24, 2012

    Good easy Ready

    As an ex-cop, I thoroughly enjoyed the book/story. I have been reading the "Jesse Stone" series and enjoy them. There is alot about him that reflects cops. They are tough to be married to.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 31, 2012

    Great stuff Maynard!

    OK. I admit I only read this because I caught the television movie with Tom Selleck and liked the character. The movie followed the book pretty well, and the book is really kind of cinematic. Having worked my way through other detective fiction serials, it's nice to find another series of books that look promising. I'll probably work my way through the rest of the them because this was a pretty good read.

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  • Posted September 15, 2011

    excellent

    I have to admit "visualizing" Tom Selleck as Jesse Stone made it even more delightful. good story, good flow to it, a little too much bed hopping too early in Jesse's arrival to Paradise. All in all I am moving forward; started reading Trouble in Paradise and almost finished and ready to move to Death in Paradise.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 49 Customer Reviews

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