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Shrink Rap [Mass Market Paperback]

Robert B. Parker
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Sept. 30 2003 Sunny Randall (Book 3)
Sunny Randall is hired to protect a bestselling novelist from her ex-husband. He's not only a stalker...he's a shrink. And when Sunny becomes his patient, she discovers as much about herself as she does about the criminal mind...

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From Amazon

Boston PI Sunny Randall is the daughter Robert Parker's series hero Spenser and his inamorata, Susan Silverman, might have had if they weren't so busy parenting Pearl the Wonder Dog. Like Spenser, Sunny is smart, tough, and fearless; like Susan, she's sexy, droll, and vulnerable; and like Pearl, Sunny's pit bull, Rosie, is the only character who's wise enough to hide when trouble comes knocking at the door. In Shrink Rap, Sunny's working as a bodyguard for a famous romance writer who's being stalked by her ex-husband, a psychiatrist engaged in extremely unprofessional conduct with his female patients. To get the goods on Dr. John Melvin, Sunny goes undercover as a vulnerable divorcée, which isn't that far from the truth; simultaneously, she's also seeing another therapist, who's supposed to be coaching her for her undercover role but is also helping her understand her troubled relationships with men. It's a clever device, and Parker makes the most of it in this spare, smart, swiftly paced mystery, one of Parker's best in recent years. --Jane Adams --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

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.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
There are really no words to describe this book except possibly awful. Or terrible. Or downright painful. Not only were the writing and dialogue completely mediocre, but the plot was so ridiculous and boring, I was stunned. The blurb about the book caught my attention, and well essentially, that was the only interesting thing about the entire experience. The ending (which I suffered to get to) must have been phoned in, because the author completely stopped trying by that point. The only reason I continued to listen to this book was because I just couldn't believe that it could get any worse. And yet, it did.
Additionally, I don't think that I've ever been more shocked with a narrator. My five year old sister would have done a much better job. Didn't anyone give this woman an audition before you let her further destroy a really bad novel? Soooo much exagerrrration, soooo much inflecccction, and soooo much over-acting. So much for subtlety.
I read many, many books on CD, and I've never written anything about them, but I feel it is my duty to warn all of you out there about this disaster. I've heard some pretty poor narrating and listened to some not-so-great stories, but this one was so over the top, I just couldn't believe it. I sat there iin amazement that someone not only chose to publish this, but decided it should be an audio book, and then let Raffin narrate it. The only positive aspect was that I rented it from the library, and didn't waste any money.
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This third novel of the Sunny Randall character series finds Sunny with her usual problem. Though she is now divorced from Richie she still loves him whether she wants to admit or not. And he still feels the same about her, but has decided he wants to try to move on. He has found someone else by the name of Carrie and she could be the next Mrs. Right. But, as he points out to her in a small diner, he can't seem to get past Sunny.
If he can't and she can't, where does that leave them?
That deep intellectual question is quickly shoved to the back burner as Sunny is hired to bodyguard author Melanie Joan Hall. Like Sunny, Melanie is also divorced, most recently for the third time. Unlike Sunny, she has a horrible relationship with her ex-husband Dr. John Melvin. A psychiatrist by training, he is stalking her and trying to cause her to lose control and surrender herself back to his clutches. Her agent recognizes that Melanie needs protection and hires Sunny to provide such protection while Melanie is on her book tour.
Things start out well enough and both Sunny and Melanie get along with each other and share a common perspective and background regarding men. And it becomes clear that the good doctor may pose an actual threat, not only in regards to her sanity but to Melanie's life. Sunny decides to investigate the good doctor and eventually moves to pose undercover as one of his patients. As he escalates the stalking and Melanie begins to crack under the psychological pressure, Sunny realizes that time is running out and she may be forced to take drastic action to solve the threat.
Like most of Robert B. Parker's novels the dialogue moves the story forward with limited action.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Sunny Redux Nov. 2 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Ok. We've established several things from the previous reviews, all of them more-or-less true. Sunny Randall is a younger, female version of Spenser. Robert B. Parker is showing his age a bit (not much, but a bit). His stories are sparingly written, with a great deal of snappy dialog and not a whole lot of description or characterization. So what you get is a *spare* plot, not much action, and a great deal of conversation that illuminates what Parker's interested in illustrating while the story's going on in the background.
Parker's been dealing with these issues for at least a decaded now (in the earlier books, he was strictly a detective novelist) and he's settled in several themes which he repeats, with variations. Some readers who have followed him religiously will, I suppose, begin to tire of these themes. Frankly, given that those themes don't produce much surprising any more, I still enjoy the books because I like the characters.
In this book, the aforementioned Sunny Randall is hired to bodyguard a female romance novelist with a stalker for a husband. This plot device is somewhat old hat for Parker. Spenser first bodyguarded for a writer in Looking for Rachel Wallace back what must be two decades ago. The results are somewhat different though. Here, Sunny decides to engage in some preemptive detective work after she discovers that the husband, a shrink, has a nasty habit of seducing his female patients (almost all of them are female) and then killing them if they get troublesome.
I liked this book, I like the series, I like Parker generally. I would recommend the book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars It's Parker, not Dostoevsky! Sept. 28 2003
By jrmspnc
Robert B. Parker has to rank high among the demigods of Entertainment Fiction. 95% of his works are brilliant brain candy - so much fun to read that they can't be put down, and are read in a couple of hours (thus supporting Poe's claim that a work that can't be read in one sitting isn't worth reading). When you pick up a Parker book, that's all you have a right to expect. There will be no deep characterizations, no exploration of themes that stand the cold light of scrutiny, no meaningful insights into the human condition. Even the plots usually won't withstand much analysis. Oh, sure, Parker likes to pretend he's giving us all that, but we know, and he knows, that it's just a sham. All a Parker book is about is sharp dialogue and crack witticisms.
And that's exactly what we get with Shrink Rap. As a novel, it is extremely flawed. As entertainment, it is incredible. Perhaps most entertaining of all is Sunny Randall herself. True, she often seems like Spenser in petticoats - the same wisecracking wit, the same moral code. Yet Sunny is more compelling than Spenser. Not only is she more introspective than Spenser (we find out about Spenser's inner psyche only by other people - Susan, mainly - talking about him as if he weren't there; we're given a direct link to Sunny's feelings), but she's better than Spenser because she cannot fall back on brawn to get her through situations. Spenser ticks people off because he knows he can beat the snot out of them if he has to. Sunny, like the vast majority of us, does not have that option. Which, all told, makes her more real than Spenser and in some ways more enjoyable.
All the complaints about Shrink Rap are fair, but misguided. A Parker book is meant to be read quickly, enjoyed, and then put on the shelf for a slow afternoon at the beach. This is network television in print without the commercials; keep your expectations in line with reality and you will not be disappointed.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
good book
Published 3 days ago by richard fornwald
4.0 out of 5 stars Sunny Randall sure has problems
I love his books and this one is also great. But his character, Sunny Randall, P.I. was getting on my nerves through the whole thing. Read more
Published on July 18 2004 by Victoria
3.0 out of 5 stars Annoying Narrator
While Deborah Raffin does her best to inject some liveliness into this book, I agree with another reviewer that the constant "he said" "she said" was extremely... Read more
Published on July 13 2004
1.0 out of 5 stars Almost made me crazy!
I listened to this book, and I regretted that within the first ten minutes. The constant use of "she said" or "he said" for every single line of dialogue almost made me roll down... Read more
Published on Feb. 16 2004 by Eileen Finn
1.0 out of 5 stars woof-woof
Robert Parker's Shrink Rap is a dog. As a long-time fan of Parker's - I've read 'em all and enjoyed most of them - I found Shrink Rap to be silly, contrived, sexist, and banal -... Read more
Published on Dec 29 2003 by Dennis E. Smirl
3.0 out of 5 stars 2 1/2 Stars -- Diversity Is Not Better!
The story is plausible but if you can catch a murderer this way you must believe in the Tooth Fairy. Parker should stick to his Spenser series. Read more
Published on Nov. 15 2003 by larry
2.0 out of 5 stars Parker at his most lame
I agree whole heartedly with the recent reviewer who advises us not to put Parker's works in the same league as the classics. Read more
Published on Oct. 27 2003
2.0 out of 5 stars Who ARE these people?
I love the Spenser series and enjoyed the first two Sunnys, so I feel as disappointed by this book as I would be an unfaithful lover. Read more
Published on Aug. 18 2003
3.0 out of 5 stars One more chance for Sunny Randall
This is the second Sunny Randall book I've read. While there is much to like - interesting characters, good dialogue, descriptive details, I'm having trouble with Sunny. Read more
Published on Aug. 12 2003
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