Friday, June 4, 2010

Review: Split Image by Robert B. Parker

You'll remember Robert B. Parker died a while ago, but happily I still have several of his books in my gift box to read. Needing a laugh and something light this week as I began therapy for a neck problem, I chose this Jesse Stone novel. Perfect choice. Some people stopped reading Parker in the last few years because they thought he had lost his touch, and certainly his novels had become a little formulaic, but nothing can beat his witty dialogue and his quirky characters. I especially love his portrayal of the mobsters from Boston.

For those who haven't tried the Jesse Stone series, Stone is Parker's second serial hero. The third was Sunny Randall, P.I. in Boston, ex-wife of a mobster's son. Sunny is also the daughter of a cop, and a former cop herself. I like her a lot. In a previous Jesse Stone book, he and Sunny had combined forces to solve a case and it followed as thunder follows lightning that they became involved. Both have ex-spouse issues big time (although I must admit I'm thinking, Get over it already!) and Jesse has a drinking problem because of the above. Both see shrinks (Sunny sees Susan Silverman of the Spenser series). Good grief, sounds like Susie selling sea shells on the seashore of which I have painful memories from when I was a child doing speech therapy for a lisp. :)

Jesse Stone is the chief of police in little Paradise, MA on the coast north of Boston. He's sort of an out-of-control Spenser with a police force that consists of all-wise Molly and "Suitcase" Simpson. Suit started out as Don Knotts but he's been learning well.

The case involves two Boston mobsters who have fancy estates in Paradise and are married to identical twins and a series of murders most certainly linked to them. Meanwhile, Sunny is in Paradise searching for a snooty couple's daughter who has run away from home (can't say I blamed her) and seems to be living in a cult in Paradise. One case is hilarious, the other very touching, and the book is a great beach read, or one to read as you recover from the torture at physical therapy.

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