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Sunny or Melancholy?

melancholyJust finished Robert B Parker’s novel featuring private investigator Sunny Randall called “Melancholy Baby.”  I wanted a fast-paced and engaging read without much heavy intellectual input on my part, and I got just that.  The story opens with Sunny Randall, and attractive and young PI, mourning the fact that her ex-husband is marrying again.  To help put aside her personal problems, she takes on the case of a college student, Sarah Markham, who is convinced that her parents are lying to her and are not her birth parents.  Once Sunny starts looking into her case, thugs attack Sarah to scare her off and the bodies start piling up.  Although the main attraction of this novel, like all Parker’s works, is the witty and razor sharp banter between characters (think Gilmore Girls with an R rating), the more subtle strength of the story was some real insights into the human condition.  Alternating chapters deal with Sunny’s visit to her shrink to discover why she is having such a difficult time with her ex’s re-marriage, and not surprisingly, these visits reveal a complicated relationship with her own parents.  It isn’t Freud, but the characterization of the therapist was engaging and the way the layers of her memory and self-realizations were unfolded were quite skillful.  As a murder-mystery, cop procedural, thriller or whatever, it is a little weak.  As a story about the relationships between parents and children, it is much more interesting.

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