Are you looking to read the Jesse Stone books in order? Then, this guide is precisely what you need. From the first book, Night Passage, through to the latest novel, Stone’s Throw, we have all the information you need to get started on this bestselling series.
Before we dive into the list of Jesse Stone books in order, let’s take a closer look at the main character himself.
About Jesse Stone
Jesse Stone is the protagonist within the series which bears the same name. This series was initially created by bestselling author Robert B. Parker.
We meet Stone as he finds himself disgraced from the LAPD following his divorce and subsequent alcohol addiction. He then becomes employed as the new chief of police in the town of Paradise, Massachusetts. However, this new gig is a lot less idyllic than it sounds.
Stone also struggles with an injury which cut his minor league baseball career short.
Writing the Jesse Stone series was a shift for Parker in more ways than one. It was the first series he wrote in third person. As well, Parker describes Jesse as a much more damaged individual than his other protagonists.
Upon Parker’s death in 2010, a joint decision by his estate and publishers was made to continue the series.
The first three were written by Parker’s long-time friend Michael Brandman. The helm was then taken up by Reed Farrel Coleman. However, the most recent shift in authorship features Mike Lupica writing the latest two Jesse Stone novels.
Jesse Stone Books In Order of Publication
This list provides all of the Jesse Stone books in order. Further down there is a summary of each book. Whether you are a fan of mystery, crime, or just good reads, reading the Jesse Stone books in order is a great option for you!
- Night Passage (1997)
- Trouble in Paradise (1998)
- Death in Paradise (2001)
- Stone Cold (2003)
- Sea Change (2006)
- High Profile (2007)
- Stranger in Paradise (2008)
- Night and Day (2009)
- Split Image (2010)
- Killing The Blues (2011) (Written by Michael Brandman)
- Fool Me Twice (2012) (Written by Michael Brandman)
- Damned If You Do (2013) (Written by Michael Brandman)
- Blind Spot (2014) (Written by Reed Farrel Coleman)
- The Devil Wins (2015) (Written by Reed Farrel Coleman)
- Debt to Pay (2016) (Written by Reed Farrel Coleman)
- The Hangman’s Sonnet (2017) (Written by Reed Farrel Coleman)
- Colorblind (2018) (Written by Reed Farrel Coleman)
- The Bitterest Pill (2019) (Written by Reed Farrel Coleman)
- Fool’s Paradise (2020) (Written by Mike Lupica)
- Stone’s Throw (2021) (Written by Mike Lupica)
- Fallout (2022 by Mike Lupica)
Jesse Stone Screen Adaptations
There is a collection of Jesse Stone TV movies starring Tom Selleck as the leading man. In fact, there are nine.
The first movie Stone Cold, based on the second book in the book series, premiered in 2005 on CBS. It was swiftly followed by Night Passage and Death in Paradise in 2006. The series continued with five more films on CBS before the network ended the movie series in 2012.
However, have no fear, as the movies were picked up by Hallmark and the ninth film in the series, Lost in Paradise, aired in 2015. In addition to Tom Selleck, it stars Luke Perry, Mackenzie Foy, and William Devane. It was filmed in Lunenburg, and Halifax, Nova Scotia.
While it has been a while since the last installment, Selleck confirmed in September 2021 that the next film is still in active development, although it might not return to Hallmark and nothing is set in stone. Michael Brandman, who penned books 10 through 12, is an executive producer on the show.
Summary of Jesse Stone Books in Order
In the Jesse Stone series, a police chief is trying to make his small town of Paradise, Massachusetts a better place. The books in this series are easy reads and perfect for anyone who likes crime drama novels. Continue reading to find out all about the Jesse Stone books in order.
1. Night Passage
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. It is 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 that pass in the night. He finds he must test his mettle and powers of command to emerge a local hero. Or the deadest of dupes.
2. 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. All he needs to do is invade the island, blow the bridge, and loot the island.
To realize his investment, Macklin, along with his devoted girlfriend, Faye, assembles a crew of fellow ex-cons. They are all experts in their fields, including Wilson Cromartie, a fearsome Apache.
But James Macklin is a very bad man. And Wilson Cromartie, known as Crow, is even worse.
As Macklin plans his crime, Paradise Police Chief Jesse Stone has his hands full. He faces romantic entanglements in triplicate.
His ex-wife, Jenn, is in the Paradise jail for assault. He’s begun a new relationship with a Stiles Island realtor named Marcy Campbell. And he’s still sorting out his feelings for attorney Abby Taylor.
When Macklin’s attack on Stiles Island is set in motion, both Marcy and Abby are put in jeopardy. As the casualties mount, it’s up to Jesse to keep both women from harm.
3. 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. They’re drinking beer, and swapping stories of double plays and beautiful women in the late-summer twilight.
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.
The local cops haven’t seen anything like this, but Jesse’s L.A. past has made him all too familiar with floaters. This girl hadn’t committed suicide and she hadn’t been drowned. She’d been shot and dumped, discarded like trash.
Before long it becomes clear that she had a taste for the wild life. Her own parents can’t be bothered to report her missing, or even admit that she once was a child of theirs. All Jesse has to go on is a young man’s school ring on a gold chain, and a hunch or two.
4. Stone Cold
Jesse Stone has a problem no officer of the law likes to face. Dead bodies keep appearing, but clues do not.
A man takes his dog out for a run on the beach, only to be discovered hours later with two holes in his chest. A woman drives her Volvo to the store to do some grocery shopping, and is then found dead, her body crumpled behind her loaded shopping cart. A commuter takes a shortcut home from the train, and never makes it back to his house.
Hunting down a serial killer is difficult and dangerous in any town. But in a town like Paradise, where the selectmen and the media add untold pressures, Jesse feels considerable heat. Already walking an emotional tightrope, he stumbles.
He’s spending too much time with the bottle, and with his ex-wife – neither of which helps him, or the case. And the harder these outside forces push against him, the more Jesse retreats into himself. He is convinced – despite all the odds – that it’s up to him alone to stop the killing
5. 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. Identifying the woman is just the first step in what proves to be an emotionally charged investigation.
Florence Horvath was an attractive, recently divorced heiress from Florida. She also had a penchant for steamy sex and was an enthusiastic participant in a video depicting the same. Somehow the combination of her past and present got her killed, but no one is talking.
Not the crew of the Lady Jane, the Fort Lauderdale yacht moored in Paradise Harbor; not her very blond, very tan twin sisters, Corliss and Claudia; and not her curiously affectless parents, living out a sterile retirement in a Miami high rise. But someone – Jesse – has to speak for the dead, even if it puts him in harm’s way.
6. High Profile
When the body of controversial talk-show host Walton Weeks is discovered hanging from a tree on the outskirts of Paradise, police chief Jesse Stone finds himself at the center of a highly public case. Which forces him to deal with small-minded local officials and national media scrutiny. When another dead body – that of a young woman – is discovered just a few days later, the pressure becomes almost unbearable.
Two victims in less than a week should provide a host of clues, but all Jesse runs into are dead ends. But what may be the most disturbing aspect of these murders is the fact that no one seems to care. Not a single one of Weeks’s ex-wives, and not the family of the girl.
And when the medical examiner reveals a heartbreaking link between the two departed souls, the mystery only deepens. Despite Weeks’s reputation and the girl’s tender age, Jesse is hard-pressed to find legitimate suspects. Though the crimes are perhaps the most gruesome Jesse has ever witnessed, it is the malevolence behind them that makes them all the more frightening.
Forced to delve into a world of stormy relationships, Jesse soon comes to realize that knowing whom he can trust is indeed a matter of life and death.
7. Stranger In Paradise
The last time Jesse Stone, chief of police of Paradise, Massachusetts, saw Wilson “Crow” Cromartie, the Apache Indian hit man was racing away in a speedboat after executing one of the most lucrative and deadly heists in the town’s history.
Crow was part of a team of ex-cons who plotted to capture Stiles Island by blowing up the connecting bridge. Residents were kidnapped, some were killed, and Crow managed to escape with a boatload of cash. He was never seen again – until now.
So when Crow shows up in Jesse’s office some ten years after the crime, it’s not to turn himself in. Crow is on another job, and this time he’s asking for Jesse’s help. By asking him to stay out of his way.
Crow’s mission is simple: Find young Amber Francisco and bring her back to her father, Louis, in Florida. It should be an easy payday for a pro like Crow, but there are complications. Amber, now living in squalor with her mother, Fiona, is mixed up with members of a Latino gang.
And when Louis orders Crow to kill Fiona before heading back with Amber, he can’t follow through. Crow may be a bad guy, but he doesn’t kill women. It’s up to Jesse to provide protection.
Meanwhile, Jesse’s on-again, off-again relationship with ex-wife Jenn picks up steam as Jenn investigates the gang problem for her TV station. As they dig deeper, the danger escalates. The life of a young girl hangs in the balance, and saving Amber could be the miracle Jesse and Jenn need for themselves, too.
8. Night and Day
Things are getting strange in Paradise, Massachusetts. Police Chief Jesse Stone is called to the junior high school when reports of lewd conduct by the school’s principal, Betsy Ingersoll, filter into the station. Ingersoll claims she was protecting the propriety of her students when she inspected each girl’s undergarments in the locker room.
Jesse would like nothing more than to see Ingersoll punished, but her high-powered attorney husband stands in the way. At the same time, the women of Paradise are faced with a threat to their sense of security with the emergence of a tormented voyeur, dubbed “The Night Hawk.”
Initially, he’s content to peer through windows, but as times goes on, he becomes more reckless. Soon forcing his victims to strip at gunpoint, then photographing them at their most vulnerable. And according to the notes he’s sending to Jesse, he’s not satisfied to stop there.
It’s up to Jesse to catch the Night Hawk, before it’s too late.
9. Split Image
The body in the trunk was just the beginning.
Turns out the stiff was a foot soldier for local tough guy Reggie Galen, now enjoying a comfortable “retirement” with his beautiful wife, Rebecca, in the nicest part of Paradise. Living next door are Knocko Moynihan and his wife, Robbie, who also happens to be Rebecca’s twin. But what initially appears to be a low-level mob hit takes on new meaning when a high-ranking crime figure is found dead on Paradise Beach.
Stressed by the case, his failed relationship with his ex-wife, and his ongoing battle with the bottle, Jesse needs something to keep him from spinning out of control. When private investigator Sunny Randall comes into town on a case, she asks for Jesse’s help. As their professional and personal relationships become intertwined, both Jesse and Sunny realize that they have much in common with both their victims and their suspects – and with each other.
10. Killing the Blues
This book was written by Michael Brandman following Robert B. Parker’s death.
Paradise, Massachusetts, is preparing for the summer tourist season when a string of car thefts disturbs what is usually a quiet time in town. In a sudden escalation of violence, the thefts become murder, and chief of police Jesse Stone finds himself facing one of the toughest cases of his career. Pressure from the town politicians only increases when another crime wave puts residents on edge.
As well, Jesse confronts a personal dilemma. A burgeoning relationship with a young PR executive, whose plans to turn Paradise into a summertime concert destination may have her running afoul of the law.
When a mysterious figure from Jesse’s past arrives in town, memories of his last troubled days as a cop in L.A. threaten his ability to keep order in Paradise. Especially when it appears that the stranger is out for revenge.
11. Fool Me Twice
This is the second Jesse Stone novel written by Michael Brandman following Parker’s death.
Summer in Paradise, Massachusetts, is usually an idyllic season – but not this time. A Hollywood movie company has come to town, and brought with it a huge cast, crew, and a troubled star.
Marisol Hinton is very beautiful, reasonably talented, and scared out of her wits that her estranged husband’s jealousy might take a dangerous turn. When she becomes the subject of a death threat, Jesse and the rest of the Paradise police department go on high alert.
And when Jesse witnesses a horrifying collision caused by a distracted teenage driver, the political repercussions of her arrest bring him into conflict with the local selectment, the DA, and some people with very deep pockets. There’s murder in the air, and it’s Jesse’s reputation as an uncompromising defender of the law – and his life – on the line.
12. Damned if You Do
This novel was also written by Michael Brandman following Parker’s death.
The woman on the bed was barely out of her teens. She wasn’t exactly beautiful, but she’d tried to make the most of her looks. And now, alone in a seedy beachfront motel, she was dead.
Paradise Police Chief Jesse Stone doesn’t know her name. But whoever she is, she didn’t deserve to die.
Jesse starts digging, only to find himself caught in the crosshairs of a bitter turf war between two ruthless pimps. More blood will spill before it’s over.
13. Blind Spot
With the publication of this novel there was another shift in authorship. This installment of the series is written by Reed Farrel Coleman.
It’s been a long time since Jesse Stone left L.A., and longer still since the tragic injury that ruined his chances for a professional baseball career. When Jesse is invited to a reunion of his old Triple-A team, he is forced to grapple with his memories and his regrets over what might have been.
But his time at the reunion is cut short when a young woman is found murdered. Then, her boyfriend, a son of one of Paradise’s most prominent families, is missing and presumed kidnapped.
Though seemingly unrelated, there is a connection between the reunion and the crimes as Jesse discovers that one of his former teammates may in fact be his main suspect. Sometimes, danger comes not from where you expect it – but from your blind spots.
14. The Devil Wins
This novel was also written by Reed Farrel Coleman following Parker’s death.
In the wake of a huge storm, three bodies are discovered in the rubble of an abandoned factory building in an industrial part of Paradise known as The Swap. 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. Not only does that crime predate Jesse Stone’s arrival in Paradise, but the dead girls were close friends of Jesse’s right hand, Officer Molly Crane.
And things become even more complicated when one of the dead girls’ mothers returns to Paradise to bury her daughter and is promptly murdered. It’s up to Police Chief Jesse Stone to pull away the veil of the past to see how all the murders are connected.
15. Debt to Pay
This book is written by Reed Farrel Coleman.
All is quiet in Paradise, except for a spate of innocuous vandalism. Good thing, too, because Jesse Stone is preoccupied with the women in his life, both past and present. As his ex-wife Jenn is about to marry a Dallas real-estate tycoon, Jesse isn’t too sure his relationship with former FBI agent Diana Evans is built to last.
But those concerns get put on the back burner 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.
Peepers has long promised revenge against the mob, Jesse, and Suit for their roles in foiling one of his hits. And against Jenn as well. And though Jesse and Jenn have long parted ways, Jesse still feels responsible for her safety.
Jesse and Diana head to Dallas for the wedding and, along with the tycoon’s security team, try to stop Peepers before the bill comes due. With Peepers toying with the authorities as to when and where he’ll strike, Jesse is up against the wall.
Still, there’s a debt to pay and blood to be spilled to satisfy it. But whose blood, and just how much?
16. The Hangman’s Sonnet
This installment of the Jesse Stone series is also written by Reed Farrel Coleman.
Jesse Stone, still reeling from the murder of his fiancée by crazed assassin Mr. Peepers, must keep his emotions in check long enough to get through the wedding day of his loyal protégé, Suitcase Simpson. The morning of the wedding, Jesse learns that a gala 75th birthday party is to be held for folk singer Terry Jester. Jester, once the equal of Bob Dylan, 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.
That same morning, an elderly Paradise woman dies while her house is being ransacked. What are the thieves looking for? And what’s the connection to Terry Jester and the mysterious missing tape?
Jesse’s investigation is hampered by hostile politicians and a growing trail of blood and bodies, forcing him to solicit the help of mobster Vinnie Morris and a certain Boston area PI named Spenser. While the town fathers pressure him to avoid a PR nightmare, Jesse must connect the cases before the bodies pile up further.
Colorblind is also written by Reed Farrel Coleman.
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. As he and his team work tirelessly to unravel the truth, he has to wonder if this is just one part of an even grander plot, one with an end game more destructive than any of them can imagine.
At the same time, a mysterious young man named Cole Slayton rolls into town with a chip on his shoulder and a problem with authority – namely, Jesse. Yet, something about the angry twenty-something appeals to Jesse, and he takes Cole under his wing. But there’s more to him than meets the eye, and his secrets might change Jesse’s life forever.
18. The Bitterest Pill
This installment in the series is also written by Reed Farrel Coleman.
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.
The investigation has a clear epicenter: Paradise High School. Home of the town’s best and brightest future leaders and its most vulnerable down-and-out teens, it’s a rich and bottomless market for dealers out of Boston looking to expand into the suburbs.
But when it comes to drugs, the very people Jesse is trying to protect are often those with the most to lose. As he digs deeper into the case, he finds himself battling self-interested administrators, reluctant teachers, distrustful schoolkids, and overprotective parents. At the end of the line are the true bad guys, the ones with a lucrative business they’d kill to protect.
19. Fool’s Paradise
This book marks another shift in authorship with Mike Lupica picking up the helm of the Jesse Stone series.
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.
He isn’t a local, nor does he have ID on him, nor does any neighboring state have a reported missing person matching the man’s description. 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…
Meanwhile, after Jesse survives a hail of gunfire on his home, he wonders if it could be related to the mysterious murder. When both Molly Crane and Suitcase Simpson also become targets, it’s clear someone has an ax to grind against the entire Paradise Police Department.
20. Stone’s Throw
The latest installment in this series is also written by Mike Lupica.
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’s has his doubts. Especially because the piece of land where the man was found is the subject of a contentious and dodgy land deal.
Two powerful moguls are fighting over the right to buy and develop the prime piece of real estate, and one of them has brought in a hired gun, an old adversary of Jesse’s: Wilson Cromartie, aka Crow.
Meanwhile, the town council is debating if they want to sacrifice Paradise’s stately character for the economic boost of a glitzy new development. Tempers are running hot, and as the deaths begin to mount, it’s increasingly clear that the mayor may have standing in the wrong person’s way.
Final Thoughts on Jesse Stone Books in Order
All of the Jesse Stone books are great reads. If you’re looking for a mystery filled with suspense and intrigue, then these books will be perfect for your reading list.
If you’re new to this series, you’ll want to start with the first book and read the Jesse Stone books in order of publication. While each book, for the most part, has a self-contained mystery within, the critical theme of character development within these books makes it important for you to read the Jesse Stone books in order for the best reading experience.
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