A ravaged corpse that bobs to the surface of Paradise Harbor during Race Week leads Jesse Stone to a surprisingly intricate case of sex and murder.
Ft. Lauderdale wasn’t big enough to hold Florence Horvath, who had to come to Massachusetts to drown. Before she did, she mailed off a videotape in which she smilingly enjoyed the sexual favors of two men at once. A good, close look at the tape persuades Jesse that it was made aboard Harrison Darnell’s yacht Lady Jane, out of Miami. Since Darnell is a wealthy, powerful visitor and Jesse’s only an alcoholic police chief in love with his own ex, the deck seems to be stacked against the forces of good—until a fortuitous accusation of rape gives Jesse the excuse he needs to search Lady Jane and confiscate enough videos to put Darnell, along with his yachting buddy Thomas Ralston, away on a savory assortment of sex charges. But Jesse doesn’t want the two bimbo collectors getting arrested and lawyering up; he wants to nail one or both of them for Florence’s murder. Teaming up across the miles with Ft. Lauderdale police detective Kelly Cruz, he puts together a case whose sordid implications make those videos look tame.
Though every single character has, at most, two speeds—furtive self-concealment and blustering wisecracks—Jesse’s fifth case (after Stone Cold, 2003) is strong enough to rank near his best.