Robert B. Parker's Killing the Blues: A Jesse Stone Novel

Michael Brandman. Putnam, $25.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-399-15784-4

Brandman, who collaborated with Robert B. Parker (1932–2010) on TV adaptations of his work, perfectly reproduces Parker's style in this impressive continuation of his series featuring Paradise, Mass., police chief Jesse Stone. A series of auto thefts is plaguing the small Massachusetts town just as the profitable summer tourist season is about to kick off. More alarmingly, Stone's former boss with the LAPD, Captain Cronjager, phones to warn him that a criminal Stone once roughed up "pretty good," Rollo Nurse, has been paroled from California's Lompoc prison due to budget cuts and may come gunning for him. The ending may tie up loose ends a little too neatly, and Stone is a bit slow off the mark with one of his professional challenges, but as with the originals, the pleasure lies more in the easy, banter-filled writing, balanced with the lead's apparently limitless compassion, informed by bitter experience, than in the plot itself. (Sept.)