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Written: Mar 19, 2004
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:Nice to have a new viewpoint.
Cons:When do we get all three of them in the same book, Parker?
The Bottom Line: The Sunny Randall series is coming along nicely, and doesn't appear to be hurting Parker's production on Spenser. I bought it... 7.5/10
I shouldn't have read Joubert's review... now I have an inferiority complex. :-) Follows the review I wrote of this when I read it, and forgot to post.
Well, Spenser fans have to wait even maybe a bit longer these days between
books... because Robert Parker has other things to write about. Things
like Paradise, Mass, police chief Jesse Stone. And his *other* Boston
detective, ex-cop Sunny Randall.
Sunny's 3 books old now, and regular readers know her, friend Spike,
and ex-husband Richie Burke -- the white sheep of the Family -- pretty
well... and all of them figure in Sunny's latest case.
Writer Melanie Jean Hall's publisher wants to send her on a book
tour; she's happy about the trip, but it seems her ex-husband -- and,
it later turns out, ex-therapist -- has other ideas entirely.
As we see in so *many* of Parker's novels lately, he's not happy with
the divorce, and he's stalking her. Being a fairly high-paid
psychologist, he can afford to do it up, following her as far away as L.A.
And he does, bumping heads with Sunny along the way. And, of course,
even though she's not being paid to *investigate* Dr. John Melvin, her
curiosity won't let her sit around without trying to figure out *why*
Melvin is stalking his ex-wife.
The answer isn't pleasant, of course, and finding it out for sure
involves a bit of help from some of Boston's finest, including ex-love
Brian Kelly, and a guy named Lee Farrell whom Spenser fans will
recognize, even though he's off stage in this one. And it involves
Sunny sticking a bit more than her neck out, and accepting some help
(which she hates to do) from her ex, Richie... though not from his
The hallmark of a *really* good writer is that he can write what are
essentially formula novels, and *still* make them likable enough to be
best sellers... and Parker has the knack in spades. Well enough, in
fact, to capitalize on his Spenser franchise by introducing not one but
*two* new series of character novels, in roughly identical genres, and
garnering good reviews and sales for both.
Not many authors can pull that off, especially that late in a career,
without getting stuck in the typecasting rut.
Best of all: all three series are set in the *same* Boston. I,
personally, am dead certain (pun entirely intentional) that all three
characters will eventually end up working on the same case... though the
only people who will know it will be the readers, until about chapter
60 or so.
But, as you might imagine from my comments above, I was indeed pleased
with Shrink Rap. It trots a bit more heavily, I think, on character
over plot than some of his earlier novels, but Parker is a sufficiently
good author to make it work. My only complaint is that I read too
fast: I finished the book in about 2 hours. Thanks, Borders. I'll buy
it next month, really.
And I did.
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