Stone Cold, by Robert B. Parker ISBN 0399150870
Four out of five stars
In this book Jesse Stone is dealing with two major cases as well as still struggling with his relationship with his ex-wife Jenn. A pair of serial killers are killing randomly selected people in the Paradise area and each die from two bullets to the heart from separate guns. All indications are that the shots are fired simultaneously, leading Jesse to conclude that there are two shooters.
The second case is one where a teenage girl is raped by three members of the football team. Rather than take her to the hospital for a rape examination, the girl’s mother has her take a thorough bath, wiping away all physical evidence. Even though the girl is traumatized, the mother wants it all to go away and the girl is afraid of being ridiculed at school and she refuses to name the rapists. This forces Jesse to try to determine who they are and gather the necessary evidence with no help from the victim.
Jesse’s feelings for his ex-wife Jenn continue to dominate him to the point where he is even discussing his feelings for her when he is in bed with other women. While the vulnerable and flawed person can be endearing, in the case of Jesse Stone it reaches the point where it is near insufferable. It is a plot device that is getting too worn and routine and the reader wishes that there would be more tension injected by the pursuit of the criminals.This is a good but not great book, Parker once again demonstrates that his area of expertise is in quality, minimal dialog. Conversations that others have with Jesse are often the interchange of two or three word segments. One very positive feature is the sexuality of Rita Fiore, one of the defense attorneys that Jesse must deal with