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At the end of the continent near the foot of Wilshire Boulevard, Jesse Stone stood and leaned on the railing in the darkness above the Santa Monica beach and stared at nothing, while below him the black ocean rolled toward Japan.
There was no traffic in Ocean Avenue. There was the comfortless light of the streetlamps, but they were behind him. Before him was the uninterrupted darkness above the repetitive murmur of the disdainful sea.
A black-and-white cruiser pulled up and parked behind his car at the curb. …
“Was a cop. I’m leaving town, just thought I’d stand here a while before I went.” …
“I can smell booze on you,” the young cop said.
“I’m waiting to sober up.”
“I can drive you home in your car,” the young cop said. …
“I’ll stay here till I’m sober, ” Jesse said. …
No one else came by. There was no sound except the tireless movement of the thick black water. Behind him the streetlights became less stark, and he realized he could see the first hint of the pier to his left. He turned slowly and looked back at the city behind him and saw it was almost dawn. The streetlights looked yellow now, and the sky to the east was white. He looked back at the ocean once, then walked to his car and got in and started up. He drove along Ocean Avenue to the Santa Monica Freeway and turned on it and headed east.
from: Night Passage
A Cop in Paradise
To start with … I watched the movies on TV – and only afterwards I started reading the novels. I’m totally impressed and enthusiastic about the movies, especially with Jesse Stone represented by Tom Selleck. For me Tom Selleck will always be the one and only Jesse Stone, even if Jesse Stone in the movies is about twenty years older than the Jesse Stone in the novels – and maybe more depressive.
Jesse Stone says goodbye to Los Angeles and heads to Massachusetts to start a new life in Paradise. Paradise is a small town at the seaside incommensurable with anything in California. Jesse will have lots of time to think about his life, his wife from whom he is divorced now – a status he cannot accept.
Also he’ll have lots of lonely nights to sit in his favorite easy chair a glass in his hand and the whiskey bottle at his side. Summing up his life he is a hopeless case. He cannot forget his wife although again and again there are some women, more something like one-night-stands.
Finally he gets company: a big dog prowling around and finding itself a new home at Jesse’s. From now on they sit together in the house and watch the sea and the horizon.
However, there is crime in Paradise. Jesse is the head of a small team that cares about anything: traffic violations, marital quarrels, theft and burglary, any scams … and murder. At the beginning there are some quarrels and teeth grinding because Jesse is new to the town … and the team is used to another boss. Rather soon Jesse is accepted and they co-operate in their daily business.
Although Paradise is a nice small village as picturesque as any of these small towns at the East Coast of the New England states serious crime simply exists. Jesse has to take care of it, if it is murder on family grounds or organized crime in order to bury unfinished business.
Jesse is a good detective and he likes investigating. Be sure he never stops until the offenders are in durance vile. Sometimes this isn’t as easy as it sounds. Of course – when dealing with serious crime there are higher levels of police administration who are responsible, maybe even the FBI. Jesse may deal with them.
However, any town, even if small, has its own rules and rulers. There are politic leaders at local level creating their own agenda. There are economic pit-traps like agreements arranged long ago … All this may inhibit the course of justice, especially when the chief of police is new in is job, eager to perform, having in mind only law and order. Trouble is foredoomed.
Jesse remains true to himself and solves the cases. Nearly always he is successful, but this doesn’t solve any of his private problems.