Title: Melancholy Baby (A Sunny Randall Novel)
Publisher: G. P. Putnam's Sons
Publication Date: 2004
Book Condition: Fine
Dust Jacket Condition: As New
Signed: Signed by Author(s)
Edition: First Edition.
Signed by Author 0399152180 This hardcover book is Fine, being square and tight. The boards and spine have no wear with pristine lettering. The pages and endpages are clean, with no markings or folds. The dustjacket is As New. Original Price is intact. Not ex-lib. No remainder mark. This copy is signed by the Author on the title page without inscription. Bookseller Inventory # 006513
Synopsis: Boston P.I. Sunny Randall-as conflicted as she is beautiful-helps a troubled young woman locate her birth parents only to uncover some dark truths of her own.
My ex-husband was getting married to a woman I wanted to kill. I didn't actually know her, and killing her would only make matters worse. But I got as much pleasure out of the idea as I could before I had to let go of it.
And so begins Melancholy Baby, the fourth novel in the bestselling series featuring Sunny Randall who now faces the unthinkable: the marriage of her ex-husband, Richie, to someone else. Despite the formality of divorce, Sunny and Richie's relationship had continued, in its own headstrong way, until Richie's desire for marriage overtook Sunny's need for freedom. So when college student Sarah Markham comes asking for help in finding her birth parents, Sunny realizes she must take the case, if only to distract her from her personal life.
But life and work have a curious-and dangerous-way of intersecting. Before the investigation has a chance to take off, two key players are dead, and Sunny is back on a psychiatrist's couch, probing her own past for clues. What she discovers has the potential to shatter Sarah Markham's family and destroy her sense of self, while Sunny's own beliefs are put to the ultimate test.
Emotionally complex and rich with insight, this is the Grand Master at his storytelling best.
Review: Some of Robert B. Parker's most distinctive novels over the years ( God Save the Child, Early Autumn, Ceremony, etc.) have centered on young people in trouble, so his return to that theme in Melancholy Baby is hardly a surprise. What's more remarkable is how deftly he uses the case of an angry, confused college student searching for the facts about her family background as a means to pry open the hardly less troubled psyche of Boston private eye Sonya "Sunny" Randall, a character at serious risk of one day outshining Parker's better-known but less reflective gumshoe, Spenser.
Twenty-one-year-old trust-fund kid Sarah Markham suspects that her parents aren't really related to her at all. "They can't find my birth certificate," she tells Sunny in amazement. "They don?t remember which hospital I was born in." This isn't the sort of inquiry Sunny likes to take on, especially not now, when her ex-husband of five years, Richie Burke--whom she still hasn't given up loving--is marrying another woman. However, Sunny needs a distraction from self-pity, and she can see that "everything about Sarah and her parents seemed fraudulent ... like something that had been built on the cheap, with shoddy materials and no craft, to conceal something unhealthy and mean." As she tears at this façade, though, traveling to Illinois and New York City in order to expose secrets not only in Sarah's father's past but in the history of a holier-than-thou radio celeb, Sunny discovers that her client isn't the only person being kept in the dark. But is it worth destroying Sarah's sense of herself--not to mention attracting the malicious notice of well-armed thugs--to set the record straight? And can Sunny even accomplish this, while struggling (with help from Spenser's psychiatrist girlfriend, Susan Silverman) to understand why she's 37 years old and "just can?t be married"?
Any halfway-conscious reader will spot the solution to this story's mystery from miles off, and Parker's use of central-casting figures--the hypocritical moralizer, the oleaginous but natty shyster--should earn him free admission to a "How to Create Credible Characters" seminar. Still, it's hard not to be charmed by a novel that's as willing as Melancholy Baby is to knock the pins out from under its protagonist, and see where the angst falls. At Dr. Silverman's rates, Sunny had better figure her life out soon. --J. Kingston Pierce
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