Thursday, April 16, 2009

Guest Blog - Shrink Rap by Robert B. Parker

I just finished my second book about Sunny Randall. This one was slower going for me. I actually did the laundry and loaded the dishwasher instead of throwing all responsibility aside to read the book.

In Shrink Rap, Sunny Randall is hired as an escort and bodyguard for a woman novelist who is being stalked by her ex-husband. Her ex turns out to be a psychiatrist who became her lover while she was still his patient. Sunny decides that she is going undercover to learn more about the stalker, John Melville, and ends up putting herself in peril in order to trap or entrap the "shrink."

There is not a lot of sexual detail. Parker stays true to his past form. However, as Sunny places herself in a situation where she may be "gang" rapped by men in monogrammed shirts and suits, I felt really uncomfortable. Parker was able to convey the concern that Sunny and her close friends feel as she contemplates putting herself at risk. But being a cynic, I could not help but wonder if there were men who read the end of the book and felt excited about the dramatic scene while I was feeling panicky despite knowing it was "only" a book. Fortunately, I will never know. I would hope that the male portion of the population felt sympathy for the victims. Overall there was just a little too much mental illness or just plain weirdness in this novel for my liking.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Guest Blog- Perish Twice by Robert B. Parker

I had no trouble finding some of Parker's novels about Sunny Randall. And no trouble getting lost in the pages and finishing the book in a very short time. In this story, Sunny's sister comes to her to have her shadow her husband to find out if he is cheating on her. Sunny's best friend is bored with her marriage and having an affair. Sunny herself is recently divorced but keeps on seeing her ex-husband Richie. A powerful women's rights advocat comes to Sunny because she is being stalked by a man who talks about "slapping bitches." Soon someone turns up dead.

I am not sure that Sunny sounds very different from Jesse Stone. I am not totally sure that she really has a woman's voice, but she is enjoyable and the book was absorbing. This particular book had just about every type of sexual relationship that women have except a healthy marriage. The relationships ran the gamut from prostitution to unhappy marriage and lesbian commitment.

Like the Jesse Stone books there is just a sprinkling of rough language and sexual relationships are conducted off the page. I like both of these factors. In Perish Twice, Sunny ably solves the mystery. And I am ready to try another book featuring this feisty female detective.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Guest Blog - Die Trying

I really did not plan to stay awake half the night finishing Lee Child’s Die Trying. If my husband was not out of town, I am sure I would have been sensible and would have closed the book with 200 pages left to read instead of reading all of the way to the end. By the way, I am handicapped by being a very slow reader.

Ironically I got halfway through the book and wondered whether I really wanted to read it all or just skip to the last pages. The story is about the kidnapping of an FBI agent in Chicago. Jack Reacher is in the wrong place at the wrong time and he gets picked up and pushed into the car with Holly Johnson. So many of their attempts to escape fail and when they finally do escape but are quickly recaptured, I was about to give up on the novel. If I had, I would have missed out on a lot of action and on Jack managing to outwit the head of the militia.

Just a few days ago I watched a repeat of NCIS where weapons stolen from the Marines were being bought illegally by a right wing militia group. The buyers drove up in their Humvees dressed in military uniforms. It took a moment for me to realize that these men in uniform were not a legitimate military group. It was easy to carry that image over to Die Trying. The kidnappers turn out to be a militia group that is determined to establish a new independent nation within the United States with a government like the Founding Fathers intended.

At over 400 pages of small print, Lee Child is not a fast read for me, but I keep going back to read about this loner’s action-packed adventures. I am learning a lot about military weapons. Since I am definitely a pacifist at heart, I am sure the knowledge will really pay off in the future.