Jesse Stone is the lead character in a series of detective novels written by Robert B. Parker (Spenser, Sunny Randall, and more). He is a former minor league baseball shortstop whose career was cut short by a shoulder injury and now works as a cop.
In fact, Jesse Stone used to be a homicide detective for the LAPD Robbery-Homicide Division but was asked to leave because of a drinking problem that began after his divorce. After that, he took the job of police chief for the small town of Paradise, Massachusetts. He was hired because the corrupt president of the town board of selectmen thought he will be easy to control. It was not the case.
How to read the Jesse Stone Series in Order?
Sadly, Robert B. Parker died in 2010. After that, Michael Brandman and Reed Farrel Coleman wrote more novels in the Jesse Stone book series.
I. Jesse Stone by Robert B. Parker
- Night Passage – After a busted marriage kicks his drinking problem into overdrive and the LAPD unceremoniously dumps Jesse Stone. When a small Massachusetts town called Paradise recruits him as police chief. He can’t help wondering if this job is a genuine chance to start over. Once on board, Jesse doesn’t have to look for trouble in Paradise: it comes to him.
- Trouble in Paradise – Stiles Island is a wealthy and exclusive enclave separated by a bridge from the Massachusetts coast town of Paradise. James Macklin sees Stiles Island as the ultimate investment opportunity. As Macklin plans his crime, Paradise Police Chief Jesse Stone has his hands full.
- Death in Paradise – The Paradise Men’s Softball League has wrapped up another game, and Jesse Stone is lingering in the parking lot with his teammates. But then a frightened voice calls out to him from the edge of a nearby lake. There, two men squat at the water’s edge. In front of them, facedown, was something that used to be a girl.
- Stone Cold – Investigating a serial killer in an affluent suburban town is difficult, and dangerous, and with the added pressures from the town selectmen and the media, the heat is turned up on Jesse.
- Sea Change – When a woman’s partially decomposed body washes ashore in Paradise, Massachusetts, police chief Jesse Stone is forced into a case far more difficult than it initially appears.
- High Profile – The murder of a notorious public figure places Paradise, Massachusetts, police chief Jesse Stone in the harsh glare of the media spotlight.
- Stranger In Paradise – An Apache hit man arrives in Paradise to find a missing girl and snuff out her mother. But his conscience is getting the best of him. If he doesn’t make the hit, he’ll pay for it. So might Jesse Stone, who’s been enlisted to protect them all.
- Night and Day – When the sun sets in Paradise, the women get nervous. A Peeping Tom is on the loose. According to the notes he sends Police Chief Jesse Stone, he’s about to take his obsession one step further.
- Split Image – The body in the trunk was just the beginning. When private investigator Sunny Randall comes into town on a case, she asks for Jesse’s help.
II. Jesse Stone by Michael Brandman
- Robert B. Parker’s Killing the Blues – It’s tourist season in Paradise, Massachusetts. With it comes a baffling and violent crime wave that has residents on edge. It’s also brought a mysterious figure who’s stirring up troubling memories for Chief of Police Jesse Stone-especially when it appears the stranger is out for revenge.
- Robert B. Parker’s Fool Me Twice – A Hollywood movie company has come to town and brought troubled star Marisol Hinton-beautiful, talented, demanding, and scared out of her wits that her estranged husband’s jealousy might take a violent turn. When she receives a death threat, Jesse and the Paradise police department go on high alert.
- Robert B. Parker’s Damned If You Do – She was barely out of her teens, not exactly beautiful, but she’d tried to make the most of her looks. Now, defiled and alone in a seedy beachfront motel, she was dead. And Paradise Police Chief Jesse Stone doesn’t even know her name. But when his investigation lures him into the crosshairs of two ruthless pimps, Jesse finds out more about the girl than he ever dreamed.
III. Jesse Stone by Reed Farrel Coleman
- Robert B. Parker’s Blind Spot– When a young woman is found murdered in Paradise, and her boyfriend, a son of one of the town’s most prominent families, is kidnapped, Jesse’s investigation yields some troubling suspicions: one of Jesse’s old friends is intimately involved in the crimes.
- Robert B. Parker’s The Devil Wins – In the wake of a huge storm, three bodies are discovered in an industrial part of Paradise. One body, a man’s, wrapped in a blue tarp, is only hours old. But found within feet of that body are the skeletal remains of two teenage girls who had gone missing during a Fourth of July celebration twenty-five years earlier.
- Robert B. Parker’s Debt to Pay – All is quiet in Paradise, except for a spate of innocuous vandalism. When a major Boston crime boss is brutally murdered. Despite all evidence to the contrary, Jesse suspects it’s the work of Mr. Peepers, a psychotic assassin who has caused trouble for Jesse in the past.
- Robert B. Parker’s The Hangman’s Sonnet – The morning of the wedding day of his protégé, Suitcase Simpson, Jesse learns that a gala 75th birthday party is to be held for folk singer Terry Jester who has spent the last forty years in seclusion after the mysterious disappearance of the master recording tape of his magnum opus, The Hangman’s Sonnet.
- Robert B. Parker’s Colorblind – Jesse Stone is back on the job after a stint in rehab, and the road to recovery is immediately made bumpy by a series of disturbing and apparently racially motivated crimes, beginning with the murder of an African American woman. Then, Jesse’s own deputy Alisha–the first black woman hired by the Paradise police force–becomes the target of a sophisticated frame-up.
- Robert B. Parker’s The Bitterest Pill– When a popular high school cheerleader dies of a suspected heroin overdose, it becomes clear that the opioid epidemic has spread even to the idyllic town of Paradise. It will be up to police chief Jesse Stone to unravel the supply chain and unmask the criminals behind it, and the investigation has a clear epicenter: Paradise High School.
- Robert B. Parker’s Fool’s Paradise – When a body is discovered at the lake in Paradise, Police Chief Jesse Stone is surprised to find he recognizes the murder victim–the man had been at the same AA meeting as Jesse the evening before. But otherwise, Jesse has no clue as to the man’s identity. Their single lead is from a taxi company that recalls dropping off the mysterious stranger outside the gate at the mansion of one of the wealthiest families in town…
- Robert B. Parker’s Stone’s Throw – The town of Paradise receives a tragic shock when the mayor is discovered dead, his body lying in a shallow grave on a property on the lake. It’s ostensibly suicide, but Jesse has his doubts . . . especially because the piece of land where the man was found is the subject of a contentious and dodgy land deal.
- Robert B. Parker’s Fallout – The small town of Paradise is devastated when a star high-school baseball player is found dead at the bottom of a bluff just a day after winning the team’s biggest game. For Jesse, the loss is doubly difficult-the teen was the nephew of his colleague, Suitcase Simpson, and Jesse had been coaching the young shortstop. As he searches for answers about how the boy died and why, he is stonewalled at every turn, and it seems that someone is determined to keep him from digging further.
If you like the Jesse Stone reading order, you may also want to see our guide to Robert P. Parker’s Cole & Hitch series or to the Spenser series. Don’t hesitate to follow us on Twitter or Facebook to discover more book series.