Split Image – The Last Stone?

Split Image (2010)BOOK DETAILS/INFORMATION:

This is the ninth Jesse Stone novel written by Robert B. Parker. It was originally published in 2010 and was the first book published after the death of Dr. Parker.

NOTE: This review will contain spoilers.

Preceded By: Night And Day

PLOT SUMMARY:

This is essentially two stories in one novel, one of them being a Jesse Stone story and one of them being a Sunny Randall story.  The Stone side of the story goes something like this.  A mob shooter ends up dead in the trunk of his car in Paradise.  After some investigation, Jesse and crew find out that not only do they have one former mob boss living in Paradise, but they’ve got two that happen to live right next door to one another.  Oh yeah… and they’re married to twin sisters.  If that wasn’t good enough, the sisters have a past that has given them the moniker of “The Bang Bang Twins”.  You do the math.  Jesse goes on a bender based on Jenn issues that are still not dealt with.  Another body shows up and Jesse quickly begins to deduce that the twins are somehow involved.  There are a few twists and turns by the time everything is solved which I won’t reveal here.

As I said, there is also a Sunny Randall story going on here as well.  Sunny has been hired by a girl’s parents to find out who has “kidnapped” their daughter.  Turns out she’s run away and joined a “cult” which she is very happy with.  A little while later, Sunny learns that the girl has gone missing from the cult as well and learns that the parents have kidnapped their own daughter away from the cult.  Sunny’s friend Spike helps Sunny rescue the girl from her parents and return her to where she’s happiest (with the commune).  That is until she’s forced into  some sexual situations she’s not comfortable with (imagine that).  When Jesse and Sunny let the leaders of the cult know that they’ve got the situation figured out they conveniently agree to leave town and wrap up this part of the story.

Obviously during these two plots, Jesse and Sunny have been spending quite a bit of time together.  Jenn and Richie are no longer a part of Jesse and Sunny’s lives so it’s full speed ahead for their relationship.  By the time the book ends they’re professing their love for one another.

COMMENTARY:

This book was published after Dr. Parker’s death, so as I was reading it I couldn’t help but have a heavy heart.  I have to say that I was thrilled to see the Jesse and Sunny storyline continue in earnest without Jenn and Richie getting in the way.  I’m not sure what I think of having two story lines going on in one book.  I think Parker could have very easily gotten Sunny to Paradise without giving her a case there.  It seemed like both plots were a bit rushed and tied up a bit too neatly for my tastes (especially the Stone plot).  I’ve never been a big fan of the way Parker allows some of his plots to end with either the bad guy essentially “getting away with it” due to “the code” (particularly with Spenser) or the way his character allow vigilante justice to take care of things.  With those plot devices aside, I still always enjoy Parker’s novels primarily due to the witty dialogue and character interaction.  While this definitely isn’t my favorite of Parker’s novels it’s not my least favorite either.  I’m not sure how many (if any) additional Jesse Stone novels we’ll get so I’m certainly glad I got to read this one.

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