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Split Image

By Robert B. Parker

Copyright 2010 by Robert B. Parker, G. P. Putnam’s Sons publishers since 1838, published by the Penguin Group, ISBN 978-0-399-15623-6, From $15.93

Parker’s Split Image is a Jesse Stone novel. Stone is the chief of police in the town of Paradise. Stone’s character is interesting, well-developed, with just a touch of cliché in spots that actually tend to add to the character. Sunny Randall is a private detective who is working closely with Jesse on a case requiring his input, the two develop a rapport as they each use the other as a sounding block for theories regarding their respective cases.

The rest of the characters are typical of their respective roles: There are muscle-bound body guards with the IQs of snails; mob-boss thugs; ex-con heads of security; wolves in sheep’s clothing and a set of twins, wives of the respective mob bosses who give new meaning to the term “dynamic duo.”

Few of the characters are spectacular, but the writing shines through despite this flaw resulting in a good story that makes skillful use of the technique of foreshadowing. The build-up of tension is very good. The pieces of this murder mystery artfully woven together into a coherent pattern that leaves no loose ends when the story is finally completed. Also, there is a wildcard, or two, thrown into the mix that will keep you wondering how the story is going to turn out in the end.

I hold everyone up to the historical greats: Sherlock Holmes, Miss Marple and of course, Hercule Poirot. Who can hope to compare to the icons of the crime/murder genre?

Still, Split Image held my attention. It made me want to keep turning pages. It was a great way to pass several evenings. The story itself was well-developed and presented in an appealing manner. I wanted to know what was going to happen next. It didn’t keep me up at night wondering what was coming next, but it was good. If crime novels are your thing I think you’ll enjoy Split Image. I did.

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