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Split Image    by Robert B. Parker order for
Split Image
by Robert B. Parker
Order:  USA  Can
Putnam, 2010 (2010)
Hardcover, CD
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Here's another double treat for Parker fans - two of his leads (Boston PI Sunny Randall and Paradise, Massachusetts Police Chief Jesse Stone) in one story. And of course Sunny's psychiatrist is also Spenser's inamorata, Dr. Susan Silverman, while characters like Rita Fiore have walk-on parts, making Split Image even more of a family affair.

Sunny misses her English bull terrier Rosie and knows that her relationship with her ex Richie is truly over, now that his new wife has given him a child. Jesse's ex, the perennially unfaithful and ambitious Jenn, seems also to be gone for good. Sparks have flown between Jesse and Sunny for some time. Each wonders if a relationship has a chance, given their obsessions with their exes, and Jesse's drinking problem. They both see their shrinks.

Jesse's drinking is exacerbated after he interviews two gangsters in a murder investigation and finds them partnered with adoring, seemingly perfect wives (twin sisters) - he wonders how these thugs deserved princesses while he wed the frog. His shrink Dix helps him understand why this set off another binge. When one of the gangsters is also murdered, Jesse digs into their lives and finds a serpent or two. His investigation is complicated by 'two dangerous men circling the scene, looking for revenge.'

The case that brings Sunny to Paradise (and back into Jesse's orbit) involves a young woman, Cheryl, whose parents believe she's joined a cult. It turns out to be a benign commune, but the parents are not placated. Then the girl disappears. Of course Sunny - helped by her best friend, gay restaurant owner Spike - rescues Cheryl. But that's not the last of it as the author injects a final twist into this rather farcical situation.

Split Image is typical Robert B. Parker fare, a smooth read that goes down just like a scotch and soda slides down Jesse's throat. Though the law cannot touch the instigators of the murders Jesse investigates, he has his ways. He tells Sunny, 'There's justice and maybe there's justice.'

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