Paradise police chief Jesse Stone is obliged to repay a debt he incurred to Boston mobster Gino Fish in the most precious coin of all.
When Gino helped put Jesse in touch with the contract killer they call Mr. Peepers two volumes back (The Devil Wins, 2015, etc.), Jesse agreed that he owed Gino a favor. It’s too late for Gino to call in the debt now that he’s been shot to death, apparently by his own hand. But Vinnie Morris, who was Gino’s right arm before he branched out on his own, reminds Jesse that the debt didn’t die with Gino. So Jesse dutifully reviews the evidence in the case and soon establishes that the murder/suicide scenario in which Gino stabbed his receptionist/lover Drew Kaiser to death before shooting himself was choreographed by none other than Mr. Peepers. The hit man has clearly gone rogue, counting coup against Gino and Jesse, and it’s anybody’s guess where he’ll strike next. Is his target Jesse himself, his ex–FBI girlfriend, Diana Evans, or his ex-wife, Jenn, now preparing to wed wealthy businessman Hale Hunsicker in Dallas? Or could he be aiming at Suitcase Simpson, the Paradise cop who wounded him with a lucky shot, or Molly Crane, the fellow officer he just doesn’t like? Jesse jets back and forth from Massachusetts to Texas trying to guess his tormentor’s next move, but it’s obvious that someone will have to pay a heavy price in the end.
The variety of tempting targets juices what’s at heart just another game of cat and mouse, making Coleman’s third impersonation of Robert B. Parker his best to date.