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le 8 juillet 2005
Sunny Randall is not really in theraphy, but it helps, January 4, 2003
Reviewer: Lawrance M. Bernabo "I grow old ever reviewing many things" (The Zenith City: Duluth, MN United States) - See all my reviews

On one level there is the case: Sunny Randall has been hired to be a body guard for best-selling author Melanie Joan Hall who is being stalked by her ex-husband, a psychiatrist who is clearly used to having his way with every woman he meets, whether they are a patient or not. On another level there is Sunny's relationship with her ex-husband Richie, which is very much of the can't live with him, can't live without him variety. The more she learns about Melanie Joan's relation with her ex-husband the more Sunny finds herself questioning her own relationships with all of the men in her life, from Richie and her father to Tony Gault, the Hollywood agent she meets out in L.A.
Of course the only way you can read any of Robert B. Parker's Sunny Randall novels and not see it as a juggling around of the elements of his Spenser for Hire series is that you never read any of the Spenser for Hire novels. Yes, the main character is a female rather than a male, was actually married to their obvious sole mate, and the two of them share a good looking bull terrier that is in much better shape that Pearl the beloved wonder dog. But given how long it took Spencer and Susan to figure out their relationship things do not portend well for Sunny and Richie. However, that remains the secondary consideration in this novel to the case Sunny is working and by now it is clear that whatever the case she is working the climax has to be so her willingness (or rather her unwillingness) to have anybody provide help in the big showdown. In that regard, "Shrink Rap" turns out to be rather different from the previous novels in the series, "Perish Twice" and "Family Honor."
Ultimately, the secondary considerations outweigh the case at hand in this novel. The showdown actually ends up being less than fulfilling given everything that sets it up and what becomes more interesting are Sunny's ruminations on her life in the book's several therapy sessions (not that Sunny is in therapy, mind you, just pretending to be in therapy and talking about the pretend therapy). Consequently, her character actually seems to be making some progress with her troubled life.
As always, Parker provides a quick read; these are novels where the only real way to avoid reading it in one day is to start it late at night. However, such books are perfect for the commuter lifestyle. The dialogue is typical Parker, where the one-liners are always driven by character and context. At least now we know if there is any chance for Sunny and Richie to end up happily ever after, it is going to happen this century...
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