Robert B. Parker's Killing the Blues

by Michael Brandman

The Jesse Stone Series

Paradise, Massachusetts, police chief Jesse Stone returns in a brilliant new addition to the New York Times-bestselling series.

Paradise, Massachusetts, is preparing for the summer tourist season when a string of car thefts disturbs what is usually a quiet time in town. In a sudden escalation of violence, the thefts become murder, and chief of police Jesse Stone finds himself facing one of the toughest cases of his career. Pressure from the town politicians only increases when another crime wave puts residents on edge. Jesse confronts a personal dilemma as well: a burgeoning relationship with a young PR executive, whose plans to turn Paradise into a summertime concert destination may have her running afoul of the law.

When a mysterious figure from Jesse's past arrives in town, memories of his last troubled days as a cop in L.A. threaten his ability to keep order in Paradise-especially when it appears that the stranger is out for revenge.

Reviews

"Suspenseful and well-crafted"
Providence Journal

"Brandman perfectly reproduces Parker's style in this impressive continuation"
Publisher's Weekly

"Fans of Robert Parker's Jess Stone series will be delighted with the latest novel "Robert B. Parker's Killing the Blues". Definitely classic Parker."
Contra Costa Times

"No one understands what makes Bob Parker's Jesse Stone tick better than Michael Brandman, who helped bring him to television. Collaborating with both Bob and Michael on our series of films has been one of the most enjoyable creative experiences of my career — and I know Michael is just the writer to carry Jesse into the future."
—Tom Selleck, star of the "Jesse Stone" TV movies

USA Today (September 13)—Spenser and Jesse Stone live on through new series' authors

Buy the book

paperback | $9.99 | Putnam | 2011 | ISBN: 9780425250457

Excerpt

Coffee was the only thing on Jesse Stone's mind when he entered the Paradise police station on a bright New England spring morning.

His first stop was usually the coffeemaker. But when he saw what was happening in front of Suitcase Simpson's desk, which was located across the aisle from the kitchen area, he headed for his office.

A man and a woman, middle-aged, expensively dressed, and handsomely coiffed, were arguing loudly with Suitcase. The man was irate. His face was beet-red, and the woman was obviously concerned for him.

"Do you want me to wait here while you get it?"

"I want you to get it for me."

"You want me to get coffee for you?"

"Yes."

She gave him the look.

"I don't want to have to deal with those people just yet," Jesse said.

"Because?"

"Because I'm the decider, and I have decided that I don't want to deal with those people just yet. Will you please get me a cup of coffee?"

"You're gonna owe me for this, Jesse," Molly said, as she left the office.

It's never easy, Jesse thought.

Molly returned with the coffee, followed by Suitcase and the couple from the hall.

"They wanted to speak with you directly," Molly said, as she handed Jesse the cup.

The couple pushed past Molly and stood directly in front of Jesse's desk.

"What are you doing about our car," the man said.

"Jesse Stone," Jesse said. "I'm the chief of police here."

"Norman Steinberg," the man said. "My wife, Linda. We want to know what you're doing about our car."

"Suit," Jesse said. "What have we learned from Bauer?"

"He's at Smitty's Towing now, Jesse," Suitcase said.

"And?"

"He hasn't located it."

"You mean it's not there?"

"Looks like it, Jesse."

"Could it be possible that the car was stolen?" Jesse said.

The phone rang, and Molly answered it.

"It's Bauer," she said to Jesse. "He wants to talk to you."

Jesse picked up the phone.

"What have we got, Rich," he said.

"We got a problem, Skipper," Bauer said. "Not only is the Steinberg Honda not at Smitty's, but there's a woman here looking for her car, claiming that it, too, has gone missing. And the funny part is her car is also a Honda."

When things had finally calmed down and the Steinbergs had been taken to Paradise Car Rental, Jesse sat quietly, thinking.

Today was moving day for him. He had finally acted on his wish to move out of the condo where he'd lived since coming to Paradise.

He had rented it when he first arrived, when his future was uncertain. Despite its view of the harbor, it was basically a utilitarian space that had served his needs at the time.

But as the years went by and his position in Paradise became more secure, he began to yearn for something more suited to his personality and his desire for privacy.

It was Captain Healy, the state homicide commander and a resident of Paradise, who had called Jesse's attention to the small house situated on an inlet, not far from Paradise Cove.

It was two stories, barely more than a cottage, positioned on a bluff overlooking the bay. Its weathered appearance and remoteness made it feel both mysterious and enticing.

It was owned by an elderly physician and his wife who decided they had finally lived through enough New England winters.

They were moving to Florida to be near their children and grandchildren and away from the cold.

But they couldn't bear to sell it. Their life had been in Paradise; their children had been born there.

The possibility existed that they might miss it too much and decide to return. As an interim step, they opted to rent it.

Healy knew the couple and made the introductions. He thought they would find security entrusting their home to the Paradise police chief.

It was well within Jesse's price range, partially furnished, and isolated enough to be attractive to him. Despite the inconvenience of having to lug his groceries across the narrow footbridge that spanned the bay, he fell in love with the place at first sight.

What little furniture he owned would be handled by Dexter's Movers. He had boxed and packed his few belongings and his clothing. Dexter's would move it all.

Jesse had taken one final tour of the condo. Not sentimental by nature, he still had feelings for it, and as he prepared to leave it for the last time, he felt a momentary pang of uncertainty.

Then he'd thought better of it and turned the key in at the management office. He bid the condo good-bye.

His thoughts returned to the missing vehicles.

Only idiots and dead men believe in coincidence, he remembered having read somewhere. It wasn't likely that the disappearance of two Hondas on the same day in the same town could be unrelated.

His first thought was that the cars had been stolen. He knew that gang- related automobile thefts often took place in New England, but they had never before occurred in Paradise.

The summer season was about to begin, and the last thing Jesse wanted to see in his office was the faces of tourists whose vehicles had disappeared.

And although he cared little for him, Jesse was certain the same would hold true for Carter Hansen, the current head of the Paradise Board of Selectmen.

As he left his office, Jesse could hear the sound of warning bells tolling ominously in his brain.