Boston P.I. Sunny Randall goes on the road to protect a bestselling author—and uncovers a world of dark secrets—in the new novel by the Grand Master.
Melanie Joan Hall is a bestselling author in a bind. Her publisher needs her to tour on behalf of her latest blockbuster, and Melanie Joan needs a bodyguard-cum-escort to protect her from an overbearing ex-husband whose presence unnerves her to the point of hysteria. Sunny’s cool demeanor, cop background, and P.I. smarts are an instant balm for the older woman. Sunny begins to sense that Melanie Joan’s ex—a psychotherapist—is not your basic stalker, and when an incident at a book signing leaves the ex bloodied and the author unconscious, it’s clear the stakes are high. Having decided that the only way to crack the case is from the inside, Sunny enters therapy, only to discover some disturbing truths about herself . . . while putting her life on the line.
Gripping, nuanced, and filled with Parker’s signature dialogue and psychological insight, Shrink Rap is a winner.
As if responding to his new status as an MWA Grand Master, Parker turns in his strongest mystery in years with Boston PI Sunny Randall's third outing (after Family Honor and Perish Twice), a particular relief after this spring's flaccid Spenser offering, Widow's Walk. The setup lacks originality Sunny is hired to bodyguard a bestselling author, Melanie Joan Hall, who pens "high-end bodice rippers," just as years ago in Stardust, Spenser was hired to bodyguard a famous TV newscaster but by focusing on an author's plight during her book tour, Parker writes about experiences close to his own, delivering sharp portraits of publishing types and fans. Melanie Joan's former husband, John Melvin, a psychopathic psychiatrist, is stalking her. To learn about and discredit him, Sunny consults another psychiatrist, then enters incognito into therapy with Melvin, which adds tremendous resonance to the narrative as, inadvertently, she must confront her own neuroses during sessions, complexes involving her relationships with her parents and estranged husband. Soon Sunny sniffs out that Melvin has been raping and, occasionally, killing members of his all-female clientele by injecting them with a date rape drug. To nab Melvin, she submits to his using the drug on her, in an intense finale. With layers of psychological revelation, plenty of action, the welcome return of Sunny's supporting crew (most notably Spike, a gay counterpart to Spenser's Hawk) and, as usual, prose as tight as a drumhead, this is grade-A Parker. National author tour.
Excellent yarn with a very unusual plot. Somewhat predictable ending, but a very good read nevertheless.