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Match Play is a golf/suspense novel. Dust of Autumn is a bloody one set in upstate New York. Prairie View is set in South Dakota, with a final scene atop Rattlesnake Butte. Life in the Arbor is a children's book about Rollie Rabbit and his friends (on about a fourth grade level). The Black Widow involves an elaborate extortion scheme. Doggy-Dog World is my memoir. And ES3 is a description of my method for examining English sentence structure.
In case anyone is interested in any of my past posts, an archive list can be found at the bottom of this page.
My newest novel, Happy Valley, can be found here.

Monday, May 21

Benefit of the Doubt

The eighth Jesse Stone movie, Benefit of the Doubt, was on the tube last night. I loved the first seven in the series but was disappointed in this one. Tom Selleck and Michael Brandman co-wrote it, with Brandman probably supplying the plot and Selleck the character. Just as Robert Urich became Spenser, Selleck has become Jesse Stone, the laconic, dark drinker of black coffee and Johnny Walker Red. This time, though, I got the feeling they were stretching for the Parker style and not quite reaching it. For example, after the new chief and one of his deputies are killed in an auto explosion, everyone keeps saying, “You didn’t like him, did you, Jesse?” to which Jesse replies, “I don’t believe I ever said that.” Four times he’s asked and four times he replies with the same words. Parker might have gone for two times, but never four. In fact, almost all the dialog is short and repetitive, but not quite up to Parker’s standards. What can I say about the plot? Well, there wasn’t much plot and much of what there was didn’t make any sense. After the double killing, Jesse is temporarily made chief again. He goes to the police station but has to break in because they’ve changed the locks and the security code. He discovers a day-calendar sheet for April 24 with a cryptic series of letters and numbers. Why did he assume it was a clue into the death of the chief? Neither the viewer nor anyone else in Paradise knows. Rose and Suit have resigned from the force and both make only brief appearances. And Jesse seems to be the only one on the force. Paradise is a large enough city that there would be at least fifteen officers serving, but not a single one is ever seen after Jesse takes over as chief. Someone has been following Jesse for several days, following in a car almost riding Jesse’s bumper. Jesse pulls him over and tells him not to follow him anymore. In the final scene, it’s revealed that the man was a hit man with a contract on Jesse. Hasty Hathaway, the obnoxious auto dealer who had originally hired Jesse, is really the boss of Gino Fish, one of the biggest fish in the Boston racketeering pool. When Jesse seems to be getting close to the truth, Hasty takes his ill-gotten gains, what looks like nearly a million, and flees by speedboat. Jesse kills the hit man and is about to take Hasty, but Hasty gets away. End of movie. It felt too much like a series cliff-hanger looking forward to the next episode. I don’t think there’ll be another episode, and if there is, it had better be better than this one.

The good news about Benefit of the Doubt is that ex-wife Jen is nowhere around and that Reggie, the sad-eyed retriever, is still trying to win Jesse’s love.
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