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    Review of SEA CHANGE by Robert B. Parker


    G. P. Putnam's Sons, February 2006

    When a woman's body washes up in the middle of "race week," a month-long festival of boats and boat racing, police chief Jesse Stone must take time out from his efforts at reconsiliation with his ex-wife to investigate. What he finds is sex. Racing isn't all that's happening in the yachts. Several seem filled with people having promiscuous sex--with each other and with locals from town. Could the dead women have come up with them? If so, and if she died in an accident, why didn't anyone think to report it? What Jesse is certain is that he's being lied to--although lying doesn't necessarilly equal murder.

    Jesse gets help from a cop in Florida who checks with the family of the dead woman, and with the local yacht owners who have headed up north for race week. Meanwhile, Jesse tracks down the dead woman's twin sisters--young women who seem every bit as sexually disturbed as was the victim.

    The objectification of sex that Jesse sees in his investigation is paralleled by his concerns about how he reacts to his ex-wife's presence. He believes he must act perfectly in order to avoid a repeat of her leaving. Although multiple other women make moves on Jesse, he is only interested in Jenn.

    Author Robert B. Parker (see more reviews of mysteries by Parker) rewards his readers with snappy dialogue. Unfortunately, Jesse's reconciliation with his ex-wife is not very interesting and takes up too much of the story (and with big spacing between the lines, SEA CHANGE is a pretty short book). The mystery ends up being shortchanged, and although Jesse eventually does discover the killer, the resolution is anti-climactic.

    Parker has written some masterpieces over the years. SEA CHANGE is adequate, but certainly not in the top half of Parker's production.

    Two Stars

    Reviewed 5/31/06

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