Not even a first printing of 750,000 and a ten-city tour can protect romance novelist Melanie Joan Hall from John Melvin, MD, the ex-husband who’s stalking her, harassing her at a signing in Cleveland and leaving bloody smears on a window in Cincinnati. But money and her publisher’s solicitude for a $10-million property about to become a movie franchise can buy Melanie Joan some quality time with Sunny Randall, despite Sunny’s insistence that “I’m not really suited to bodyguard anyway. I’m a detective.” Well, maybe, but she actually thinks like a proactive avenger. When the women return to Boston, Sunny decides that it’s not enough to protect her client from a menace that could go on forever; she needs to dig up something on Melvin, a psychiatrist whose practice seems limited to attractive women, that will put him away throughout Melanie Joan’s peak earning years. Unfortunately, one of the good doctor’s clients she approaches has just died; a second soon follows; and Melvin’s male friends respond to Sunny’s inquiries—framed in Parker’s trademark killer dialogue—by sending her threatening photos and painting her windshield black. The only way to get the goods on Melvin is to stake herself out as bait; but Sunny, who let men do the heavy lifting for her in Perish Twice (2000), frets endlessly whether she should accept help from her own ex, mobbed-up Richie Burke, on this dangerous assignment.
Despite Sandy’s profession, none of her adventures has been marketed as a mystery. Good thinking. File her third under self-help.