Robert B. Parker introduces readers to police chief Jesse Stone in the first novel in the beloved mystery series—a New York Times bestseller. After a busted marriage kicks his drinking problem into overdrive and the LAPD unceremoniously dumps him, thirty-five-year-old Jesse Stone's future looks bleak. So he's shocked 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, the kind of offer he can't refuse. Once on board, Jesse doesn't have to look for trouble in Paradise: it comes to him. For what is on the surface a quiet New England community quickly proves to be a crucible of political and moral corruption—replete with triple homicide, tight Boston mob ties, flamboyantly errant spouses, maddened militiamen and a psychopath-about-town who has fixed his violent sights on the new lawman. Against all this, Jesse stands utterly alone, with no one to trust—even he and the woman he's seeing are like ships passing in the night. He finds he must test his mettle and powers of command to emerge a local hero—or the deadest of dupes.