The plot involves a complicated trap for not just one, but two different groups of Bad Guys, with Crow as the victim in a seemingly indefensible location at the midpoint of a causeway. The trap is so complicated I can't even understand it, let alone believe it. Parker acknowledges that the plan is unlikely, to say the least, and covers it up with lot of rhetoric--Crow is enthusiastic about it because as a warrior he only feels alive when his life is in danger or something like that.
The character Amber, a cynical and disillusioned 14-year-old girl somewhat reminiscent of Paul DeGiacomin in "Early Autumn," is engaging. Honestly, I was hoping/expecting a reprise of "Early Autumn." She is briefly taken under the wings of Stone and Moll. The whole plot revolves around securing her enough money for financial independence in the hope that she can recover from the life she's had. The novel has a Happy Ending in which all the bad guys, including her parents, are disposed of and she is financially secure and under adult supervision--which, the characters acknowledge, may not be enough for her to turn her life around.
I can no longer keep track of the degrees of Good and Bad in Parker's characters. The clear "hero" of this novel is "Crow" or Cromartie. Jesse Stone, like Spenser, is a Good Guy with central flaws, who breaks laws but only for good. Cromartie, like Hawk, is a Bad Guy but worse than Hawk, but with a weird core of integrity. Parker's novels are too full of Bad Guys whose word is good. Cromartie is mostly Bad, but with weird core of integrity having to do with following some kind of warrior's code. It seems to involve not killing women--at least unnecessarily. Perhaps because of that, he is irresistibly attractive to women in general, and Molly in particular.
One of the cringier parts of the book is Molly's one-night stand with Crow. The key to understanding the plot is that it is just a normal male wish: one-time sex, no commitment, all fun, and what the spouse doesn't know hurt the spouse--except that he reverses the sexes and assigns Molly the traditional male attitude. Here's Crow's offer:
'“You and me, once, no strings,” Crow said. Molly met his gaze. They were silent for a moment. Then Molly said, “Why?” “We both want to,” Crow said. “You’re so sure of me?” Molly said. “Yes.” “How can you know?” Crow grinned at her. “It’s an Apache thing,” he said. “And my husband?” “You’ll continue to love him, and the kids,” Crow said.'