SPLIT IMAGE by Robert B. Parker


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While his ladylove, Boston shamus Sunny Randall, wrestles with the problem of a young woman who’s left her parents to join a cult, Paradise, Mass., police chief Jesse Stone (Night and Day, 2009, etc.) investigates a pair of mob hits that are much more than mob hits.

The execution-style shooting of Petrov Ognowski, a soldier in the pay of allegedly retired North Shore mob boss Reggie Galen, would be a routine murder if it weren’t for two complications that swiftly follow. One is the execution-style shooting of Knocko Moynihan, the allegedly retired South Shore boss and Reggie’s longtime friend and current neighbor. The other is the possible involvement of the two old friends’ wives, identical twins Rebecca Galen and Roberta Moynihan, née Bangston. Jesse can’t figure out why such lovely ladies would prove such attentive helpmeets to a pair of thugs. He gets further data when the sisters, known in high school as the Bang Bang Twins for reasons that only began with their birth name, put the moves on him. In between times, Sunny Randall, who’s come to Paradise to urge 18-year-old Cheryl DeMarco to leave the Bond of the Renewal at the behest of parents who seem even scarier than the Patriarch of the Bond, holds Jesse’s hand, and selected other parts, en route to a series of developments as satisfying as they are unsurprising.

Once again Parker leans on his distinctive voice to rescue an ambling plot, unfolding expertly but aimlessly, that seems borrowed from a middling episode of Homicide: Life on the Street.

Pub Date: Feb. 23rd, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-399-15623-6
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 2010


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