Robert B. Parker’s Sea Change is a straight-through book.
A drowned woman’s rotting body washes into a cove in Jesse Stone’s town, Paradise Massachusetts.
Because no one reported her missing, Sheriff Stone suspects someone murdered her.
His investigation leads him to the seamy sexual underworld of the annual Paradise yacht races. It also leads him to the victim’s family. And all of this causes him to consider his connection to his ex-wife Jenn as they work to reconcile.
Jesse has been off the bottle almost year. As always, he is persistent and agonizingly self-analytical.
As I said in the beginning, this is a straight-through story, eighty percent conversation, the kind of quick entertainment I enjoy with Parker.
What saves the story from its sordid subject matter is Jesse Stone’s underlying morality, what I’ve come to see as the Parker code. Stone recognizes the base nature of the sexual understory.
Many cops would have let this murder ride. At first glance, the woman seems hardly worth the effort it will take to catch her murderer. Only in the end do we understand why Jesse Stone was right to persist.