cover image Robert B. Parker’s Fool’s Paradise: A Jesse Stone Novel

Robert B. Parker’s Fool’s Paradise: A Jesse Stone Novel

Mike Lupica. Putnam, $27 (352p) ISBN 978-0-525-54208-7

Edgar finalist Lupica captured the spirit and feel of the late Robert P. Parker’s Sunny Randall novels in Blood Feud and Grudge Match, but this novel featuring Parker’s Paradise, Mass., police chief Jesse Stone is strictly by-the-numbers. When a man is found in a lake, shot in the back of the head, Stone, a recovering alcoholic, is shocked to recognize him as Paul, whom he met in passing the night before at an AA meeting. As Stone and his number two, Molly Crane, probe who Paul is, they each come under attack: Stone from a shooter; Molly from an assailant from a knife. Lupica pulls his punches, however, as Stone and Molly avoid serious harm purely through chance. The routine investigation into the murder and the assaults fails to engage, and the prose doesn’t meet Parker’s standard (“She had a heart as big as the ocean, and was tough enough to clean up Afghanistan all by herself”). Lupica does nothing to develop the major continuity change Reed Farrel Coleman introduced to the franchise—giving Stone a previously unknown adult son who is pursuing a career in law enforcement. This is a disappointing offering from an author who’s capable of better. Agent: Esther Newberg, ICM Partners. (Sept.)