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“Sea Change ”


written by Harriet Klausner on 21/11/2005

Sea Change
Robert B. Parker
Putnam, Feb 2006, $24.95, 304 pp.
ISBN 0399152679

Former L.A. cop Jesse Stone continues to reclaim his life starting with not drinking now for ten months and thirteen days and counting, becoming the police chief of Paradise, Massachusetts and starting a cautious reconciliation with his former spouse reporter Jenn. However this is Race Week so Jesse knows he will earn his keep starting with the goliath drunk football player whom he subdues with a stick to the testicles and charges him with cleaning his vomit from the back seat of the police car.

However, things turn ugly when a badly decomposed female corpse with no identification washes ashore. Though difficult to identify with crabs already having dined on the victim, the police learn she is wealthy divorcee Florence Horvath of Fort Lauderdale; her yacht the Lady Jane is docked in Paradise. Jesse interviews the crew, her parents her sisters and others but no one will say much. In fact the best clues come from the video of Florence's sexual encounters. Next stop appears to be Florida where Fort Lauderdale police officer Kelly Cruz offers help on and off the case.

In some ways Jesse is the anti-Spenser though he contains some of the same traits such as obstinacy, loyalty and courage. His latest investigation is cleverly mixed with relatively small police matters so that the audience receives a strong procedural enhanced by everyday events. The who-done-it is well written as the audience and Jesse wonder about the victim whose parents live a stark retirement while Florence was a jetsetter (yacht-setter). Readers will enjoy this strong police procedural while not only wondering who killed Florence, but will Jesse step out on Jenn?

Harriet Klausner

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