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    Review of SHRINK RAP by Robert B. Parker


    G. P. Putnam's Sons, 2002

    Romance author Melanie Joan Hall hires Private Investigator Sunny Randall to help guard her against the the author's stalking ex-husband. Sunny wants to do more than guard--but as she begins to investigate the ex-husband, psychiatrist John Melvin, she begins to discover hints that Melvin is doing more than stalking. A psychiatrist whose practice seems to consist solely of beautiful women has plenty of opportunities to do evil. Sunny's investigations soon lead her to trouble--and danger. Sunny's personal problems form a reverse image of Melanie Joan's. Like Melanie Joan, Sunny can't get over her ex-husband and, as she investigates Melvin, she starts to work on her own issues.

    Author Robert B. Parker (see more reviews of novels by this author) delivers an enjoyable mystery. Fans of Parker will be familiar with the issues of being unable to live with, or without, a particular relationship, but here Sunny's problems and their mirror image problems with Melanie Jone add rather than detract from the story. Parker does a good job showing the positive as well as dangers of psychiatry, avoiding a fall into cliche.

    Sunny's dialogue doesn't pack the impact of Parker's more famous Spenser series but this character remains fresh and interesting. Her mix of toughness and vulnerability makes Sunny sympathetic even when she doesn't make the most logical decisions.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 10/23/02

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