Reviewed by Theodore Feit
One would not expect racial unrest in the sleepy town of Paradise, MA, but Jesse Stone and his cops have their hands full. To begin with, a black woman is assaulted in a neighboring town and it is made to look like a murder that occurred in Paradise years before. The woman was in a relationship with a white man, and unfortunately she dies. Then another black female, Alisha, who Jesse hired for diversity purposes, responds to a call at a bar and is taunted by bikers. She also has a relationship with a white man. Soon, however, things get worse.
A cross is burned on the lawn of Jesse’s old house, which was bought by a couple, a white woman and a dark Indian man, with two children. Apparently the fire was set with kerosene, and a check of places where it could have been bought turns up a CCTV image. When Alisha spots the person captured in the CCTV as she emerges from a bar, legally over the limit, she chases him into a blind alley and responds to what she believes is a shot by shooting and killing him.
It turns out that the victim is the son of a strident agitator seeking to incite a race war. Of course, a black cop killing a white person is the perfect excuse. Especially when the investigation turns up no weapon by or near the victim. Jesse to the rescue. As a side story, Jesse now is abstaining from alcohol and is attending AA meetings.
Mr. Coleman continues to live up to the standards set by Robert B. Parker in this latest addition to the Jesse Stone series, and it is recommended.