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Shrink Rap Hardcover – September 16, 2002

3.7 out of 5 stars 129 customer reviews
Book 3 of 6 in the Sunny Randall Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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

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.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Adult; First Edition edition (September 16, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399149309
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399149306
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.3 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (129 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #846,489 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on October 6, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As her ex-husband says, Sunny Randall, Robert Parker's fresh, new heroine is as cute as Meg Ryan and tougher than a Mafia Don. Unfortunately, she may be losing Robert Parker's interest already, well before she loses ours.
_Shrink Wrap_ does not do justice to her early promise.Sunny's case, where an appealing and likable author of Romance novels is being stalked in some pretty creepy circumstances, is an intriguing and original one. The plot moves along briskly, making it difficult to put the book down. But Sunny is becoming increasingly one-dimensional and thinly drawn.
There is no way not to like her. She is honest, earnest, smart and tough. She is trying to make her life into something honorable. She is sometimes as fast with a comeback as Spenser himself, and almost as funny. So Parker does her an injustice when he has eight people tell her she needs to ask for help, and makes her give each and every one the exact same answer, that she needs to do it herself. Understandable, laudable even, but we get it after the third time. Repeating it is a nuisance, like a one-note song.
There is much about Sunny we would like to know, and while Parker explores a little, the whole character development of the book is built around one insight Sunny has into herself at the end, as a breakthrough, which is --- wait for it -- that her relationship with her father and mother has strongly influenced her relationships with men. Um, okay, good insight. But we could all have used a little more of Parker investing himself here, Sunny most of all.
And then there is the dog. Spenser and Susan's Pearl is a delight, as is the way they feel and talk about her. But this little dog is taking up more emotional space in Parker's minimalistic story than any other supporting character.
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Format: Hardcover
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 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.
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By A Customer on August 18, 2003
Format: Hardcover
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. It contains every element that's ever annoyed me about Parker's writing, and made them even more grating! First of all, the characters. Sunny and Spike are in their 30s and listen to WWII era music and quote Fred Allen. I guess Parker is too lazy to even try to include an appropriate pop culture reference. Then there's the savvy author who is selling her book to Hollywood, who knows all about agents and movie stars and making deals. And she is SHOCKED that Spike is gay? Yes, I can see where a woman who lives in a major metropolian area and rubs elbows with show biz types would find gay men exotic and unusual. COME ON! And Sunny and Julie's conversations are always about "deep, important" male/female issues, the way Phil Donahue's TV show was. Could these two talk about the sweater sale at Filene's for a change? Or if they must ruminate about the battle of the sexes ad nauseum, could we bring the dialog out the 1970s at least? Readers of the Spenser series are used to Parker returning again and again to the issues of feminism, therapy and the way the straight world views gays. In this book, he takes the opportunity to bludgeon us with them, and the characters suffer mightily.
And then there's the plot. Add me to the list of readers who found it hard to believe that the shrink didn't realize that the Sunny Randall and Sonjia Burke were one in the same. Her disguise did seem about as elaborate as Clark Kent's.
Yet I enjoyed FAMILY HONOR and PERISH TWICE enough that, should Parker decide to resurrect Sunny again, I'll try to spend a little more time with her. I just wish he'd work a little harder on what were once his strengths: dialog and plot development. I prefer reading about people I can believe actually live and breathe, and none of this characters remotely came to life.
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Format: Hardcover
Sharp dialogue, fresh witty characters, fast-paced mystery. As some of the hateful reviews here note, yes, there is a stong woman as the protagonist. If you don't like that, get another book and crawl back under your rock--But it is not a valid criticism of the book in and of itself.

Those of us in the 21st Century who think both men and women should be allowed self-determination, find Parker's Sunny Randall to be interesting (if not always perfect--like most of us), strong, intelligent, witty, realistic and curious. The degree of hate in these reviews against independant women is frightening. They obviously have some problems with equality and are using this venue to make a point at the cost of sincere book reviews.
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