Thursday, February 14, 2013

Book Review: "Night Passage"

"Night Passage" by Robert B. Parker
First published in 1997
322 pages
My rating: 3 out of 5

(image source)

Robert B. Parker was a very prolific crime and mystery novelist, and when I was working at the library in Hawaii his shelf of books always caught my eye. When we arrived in Ohio I needed some reading material and thought I'd give him a try. The base library didn't have in the first book of Parker's more famous Spenser series so I settled for book one of the Jesse Stone series, "Passage of Night."

Jesse Stone is a divorced, disgraced former LAPD homicide detective, fired because of his drinking problem. Being a cop is the only thing he knows, so when he's offered a job across the country as chief of police in the small town of Paradise, Massachusetts, Stone takes it without a second thought. But, predictably, all is not idyllic in the quaint New England town. And though the town selectmen may have hired Stone because he seemed like a drunken pushover, he's much smarter and far better at his job than they bargained for.

Parker really makes Stone's voice shine through in his writing, and I grew to love the quiet, stoic -- but still vulnerable -- main character. However, I didn't enjoy the other aspects of Parker's writing as much. He's fond of run-on sentences, stating the obvious and an odd usage of punctuation. On top of that, for a crime thriller the book was rather dull. There was no edge-of-your-seat climax, and I found myself turning pages more because I just wanted to get this book done than because I was riveted to the plot.

Parker's novels are pretty popular -- so much so that other authors have continued several of Parker's series after his death in 2010 -- and I might be willing to give Parker another try with his Spenser novels. I don't think I'll be attempting another Jesse Stone book, though. Yawn!

Happy reading!

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