ROBERT B. PARKER – Perish Twice. G. P. Putnam’s Sons, hardcover, October 2000. Berkley, paperback, November 2001.

   I think everybody reading this blog has already made up their minds, one way or the other, whether they’re ever going to read one of Parker’s Spenser novels again. He’s a controversial author and he’s a controversial character, no doubt about it, and everybody knows what side they’re on.

   But for some reason, and maybe I just wasn’t paying attention, I don’t believe I’ve ever read any reviews or eve serious discussion of Parker’s series of Sunny Randall books. She’s a PI too, and also based in the Boston area. I don’t believe she and Spenser ever met, but as I understand it, some of the minor characters in the Spenser novels show up now and then in the Randall books.

   For what it’s worth, this is my report on the first of the latter’s books I’ve read. If you don’t like Spenser, you can stop right here. There’s no way in the world that I can persuade you read any of the Sunny Randall books. I’m not sure how convincingly Parker was able to pull off telling the six books in the series from a female point of view, from a female perspective, but I can tell you this. There’s no mistaking the voice. The author of the Spenser books is the same fellow who wrote the Randall books.

   In Perish Twice Sunny starts with two clients: First, her sister, who thinks her husband is cheating on her. (He is.) Then she’s hired by a high-powered feminist to find out who’s stalking her, which she does, but the stakes seem to suddenly go higher when an associate of her client is murdered. The cops think the dead women was killed by mistake. Sunny disagrees, and quite strongly so, and she ends up fired, without a paying client.

   Does that stop her? No way, no how. There’s a lot more I’ve decided not to go into, and this includes the therapy gives her long time friend Julie whose marriage is also breaking up. Sunny’s non-extinguished love affair with Richie, her ex-husband (mob-connected), seems to make her an expert on love affairs that are going wrong.

   It’s too bad that with her dedication to finding answers to questions that bother her doesn’t end up with her solving the case on her own. That she has to depend on Richie’s family for, giving her the answers but not much in the way of resolution. This is a bit troublesome, if you think about it.