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    Review of HIGH PROFILE by Robert B. Parker (see his website)


    G. P. Putnam's Sons, February 2007

    Two bodies, one deliberately hung and one hidden in a trash dumpster, turn up in Paradise, MA police chief Jesse Stone's jurisdiction, both shot with the same gun. Jesse investigates, but it seems that every potential suspect has a perfect alibi. Could a deranged fan have killed the well-known and controversial radio talk show commentor? Or perhaps it was one of his current or past wives? Then again, what, exactly, did the dead man's bodyguard do--and why wasn't he doing it when his client was killed?

    Stone's investigation is disturbed when his ex-wife forces herself into the scene with a story of rape and stalking. Busy with the double murder, Stone asks his semi-girlfriend, private detective Sunny Randall, to protect his ex-wife and to investigate her story.

    Author Robert B. Parker (see more reviews of novels by Parker) delivers his trademark high-zing dialogue, coupled with his typically psychologically damaged characters. Stone is distracted by his ex-wife's problems, and continues to be obsessed with her, unable to complete the break he needs to move forward in his life. Jenn, the ex-wife makes things tougher for him by pushing herself at him while remaining completely unwilling to offer him the kind of commitment he demands.

    With Parker, you can depend on an engaging, fast-paced read. His dialogue runs, with short phrases, single words, and clever zings let our eyes fly down the page, stopping occasionally to enjoy an especially cute bit of reparte. The mystery itself is interesting although relatively uncomplicated with little sense of danger. With Jesse more worried about his wife than about the two dead people, it's hard for us to care too much whether their killer is ever caught.

    The underlying theme of this novel, that love is irrational and causes people to do irrational things, doesn't sit well with me and I confess that my enjoyment of the book was limited by this message. In my opinion, Jesse needs a new psychologist--one who'll tell him to grow up and stop jerking himself around, or letting the sexy Jenn jerk him around. Clearly Jenn is disturbed. But Jesse's attraction to her indicates that he's got problems also--and although he's seeing a psychologist, the guy doesn't seem to be helping much. So, switch psychologists and find yourself a woman who's not sick. Sunny won't do--she's got the same damned problems you do, Jesse--which is probably why you were attracted to her.

    Two Stars

    Reviewed 6/15/07

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