I checked this book out the day Mr. Parker died. Checked out. From a library. Because I’ve given up on buying the books with an arbitrary moral universe, where the hero’s code is right because it’s the hero’s code. For example, in this book, a group of swingers plays a part as Jesse Stone investigates them as part of one of the interconnected plotlines. I say one of the, because there are like two subplots aside from the normal Jesse-Jenn and Jesse-therapy and Jesse-all-the-hot-chicks-too thing that pads the books out. One of the subplots is connected to the main plot and features the swingers. The other subplot does not actually connect to the main plot but does tie into the other subplot tangentally.
Throughout the book, Jesse teases Molly Crane for her infidelity that really rankled me in Stranger in Paradise. It’s a joke, banter, and when they really talk about it, they hit upon that they don’t feel bad because sex is good. Infidelity is wrong, but there’s no guilt. Huh. But when Crane and Stone talk about swingers, the moral opprobrium falls upon the willing, if off-kilter, participants of that particular pecadillo.
So swinging: bad, infidelity: okay. Right. Because….
Aw, because Jesse says so.
So aside from the moral torpitude of the universe and the protagonists, we can skip over the plot. It’s an enough story. The book moves along, with its unnecessary asides. The good guys get the bad guys.
But as with all the later Parker books, the psychoanalysis and soul-searching overwhelm it. Funny, in 1991 or so, I saw RBP on the Today Show, and Bryant Gumbel said that some critics thought that Spenser had gotten away from the clue-sniffing sleuth and more into pairing wines with dinner. Oh, for those halycon days where that was perceived as the problem.