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The Barnes & Noble Review Every appearance by T. Jefferson Parker's protagonist Merci Rayborn is a cause for celebration among fans of police procedurals. A warm, endearing, but tough heroine, she is filled with all the wry charm and expert insight we've come to expect from Parker's hard-edged storytelling. The author always gives his novels an extra dose of genuinely movin The Barnes & Noble Review Every appearance by T. Jefferson Parker's protagonist Merci Rayborn is a cause for celebration among fans of police procedurals. A warm, endearing, but tough heroine, she is filled with all the wry charm and expert insight we've come to expect from Parker's hard-edged storytelling. The author always gives his novels an extra dose of genuinely moving humanity, featuring honest character motivation and a gripping, energetic narrative. Archie Wildcraft, a cop with a great career ahead of him, is found with a bullet in his brain, lying beside his murdered wife, Gwen. It looks like a botched murder-suicide, but Sergeant Merci Rayborn's gut instincts tell her differently. As Archie holds on by a thread, Merci is drawn further into the Wildcrafts' private lives and comes to believe that the young couple were deeply in love and that Archie's been framed. When Archie vanishes from the hospital, it appears he's on a vendetta, and it's up to Merci to cover for him until she has a chance to solve the case on her own. Eventually, she's led to the Russian mob and discovers awful secrets that she isn't sure she wants to hand over to the heartless district attorney. Black Water gives voice to subtle yet resonating themes relating to loss, audacity, and vengeance. That sense of obsession and purpose is what makes this novel a standout in the Rayborn canon. The complexity of character detail and the poignant writing prove once again just what a superior stylist Parker remains. Merci is an Everywoman, a detective who doesn't merely do her job but in a sense actually is her job. (Tom Piccirilli)


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The Barnes & Noble Review Every appearance by T. Jefferson Parker's protagonist Merci Rayborn is a cause for celebration among fans of police procedurals. A warm, endearing, but tough heroine, she is filled with all the wry charm and expert insight we've come to expect from Parker's hard-edged storytelling. The author always gives his novels an extra dose of genuinely movin The Barnes & Noble Review Every appearance by T. Jefferson Parker's protagonist Merci Rayborn is a cause for celebration among fans of police procedurals. A warm, endearing, but tough heroine, she is filled with all the wry charm and expert insight we've come to expect from Parker's hard-edged storytelling. The author always gives his novels an extra dose of genuinely moving humanity, featuring honest character motivation and a gripping, energetic narrative. Archie Wildcraft, a cop with a great career ahead of him, is found with a bullet in his brain, lying beside his murdered wife, Gwen. It looks like a botched murder-suicide, but Sergeant Merci Rayborn's gut instincts tell her differently. As Archie holds on by a thread, Merci is drawn further into the Wildcrafts' private lives and comes to believe that the young couple were deeply in love and that Archie's been framed. When Archie vanishes from the hospital, it appears he's on a vendetta, and it's up to Merci to cover for him until she has a chance to solve the case on her own. Eventually, she's led to the Russian mob and discovers awful secrets that she isn't sure she wants to hand over to the heartless district attorney. Black Water gives voice to subtle yet resonating themes relating to loss, audacity, and vengeance. That sense of obsession and purpose is what makes this novel a standout in the Rayborn canon. The complexity of character detail and the poignant writing prove once again just what a superior stylist Parker remains. Merci is an Everywoman, a detective who doesn't merely do her job but in a sense actually is her job. (Tom Piccirilli)

30 review for Black Water

  1. 4 out of 5

    Cathy DuPont

    Audio book and while it was good, it wasn't all that compelling. I read #1 in the series a few years ago and liked the protag, Merci Rayborn, but there are only three books in the series. I read the first one and now the last one. I guess that T. Jeff didn't like Merci as much as some of his fans. Audio book and while it was good, it wasn't all that compelling. I read #1 in the series a few years ago and liked the protag, Merci Rayborn, but there are only three books in the series. I read the first one and now the last one. I guess that T. Jeff didn't like Merci as much as some of his fans.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Lukasz Pruski

    "[...]the milk-and-orange-blossoms smell of Gwen, bass scent of his life. All the other notes that came to him - coastal sage and the ocean, the new car leather - were just the riffs and fills." We meet the Orange County Sheriff's Deputy Archie Wildcraft as he is driving along the Pacific Coast Highway, past Crystal Cove (a scenic place I visited last month) with his beautiful wife Gwen. It is Gwen's birthday and they are just returning home from a party. They will make love on the beach, and lat "[...]the milk-and-orange-blossoms smell of Gwen, bass scent of his life. All the other notes that came to him - coastal sage and the ocean, the new car leather - were just the riffs and fills." We meet the Orange County Sheriff's Deputy Archie Wildcraft as he is driving along the Pacific Coast Highway, past Crystal Cove (a scenic place I visited last month) with his beautiful wife Gwen. It is Gwen's birthday and they are just returning home from a party. They will make love on the beach, and later that night, when they are back home, Gwen will be killed and Archie will have a bullet lodged in his brain. Leading the investigation is Merci Rayborn (for me, an unforgettable character from The Blue Hour), who is battling her own demons, personal and professional. The Newport Beach Sheriff's department is divided about her because of her testimony that exposed corrupt cops. Merci discovers that Archie and Gwen had made some amazingly profitable stock investments. More and more circumstantial evidence points to Archie's being the killer, yet Merci does not want to believe it; quite likely because he had defended Merci when many in the department ostracized her. Archie regains consciousness and ... that's it for spoilers from me. Like The Blue Hour, this is a very good procedural. Handling the crime scene, autopsy, goings on in a firearms examination room are shown with meticulous attention to detail and exude plausibility. Scenes of conversations with the victims' families, friends, and business acquaintances offer great characterizations of minor characters. Most importantly, for me anyway, we are getting outstanding writing, for a thriller. I liked several metaphors a lot, for instance, "[...] now the sentence hung in the air, blatant and tactile, like a spider at the end of a strand." Merci comes across perhaps a bit less believable than in the previous novel, but she still feels almost like a real person. I am happy to meet "well grounded" Francisco again (now called Frank) - what a wonderful touch by the author! On the other hand, I am shaving my rating by half a star because of the histrionic, melodramatic, and implausible scene on Santiago Peak. Still, I think that T. Jefferson Parker's Black Water (2002) is a very good novel and recommend it highly. Three-and-a-half stars.

  3. 5 out of 5

    James Thane

    Merci Rayborn is still suffering the consequences of exposing an old scandal in the Orange County Sheriff's Department when the wife of Deputy Archie Wildcraft is shot to death with a gun belonging to Wildcraft. Wildcraft himself is found shot in the head, and all of the evidence suggests a classic murder-suicide attempt. But Archie Wildcraft survives and Merci, burned by an earlier mistake, refuses to jump to conclusions. While virtually the rest of officialdom is determined to hang the crime o Merci Rayborn is still suffering the consequences of exposing an old scandal in the Orange County Sheriff's Department when the wife of Deputy Archie Wildcraft is shot to death with a gun belonging to Wildcraft. Wildcraft himself is found shot in the head, and all of the evidence suggests a classic murder-suicide attempt. But Archie Wildcraft survives and Merci, burned by an earlier mistake, refuses to jump to conclusions. While virtually the rest of officialdom is determined to hang the crime on Archie, Merci pursues the investigation. Things get increasingly complicated because the attractive young Wildcrafts are living in a very expensive home, driving luxury cars and conducting an extravagant lifestyle, apparently on a deputy's salary, which seems highly improbable. As he recovers from his head wound, Archie has no memory of what happened the night his wife was killed. He checks himself out of the hospital and begins his own investigation, all of which leads to a stunning climax. This is the third book in the Merci Rayborn series, and in it Merci, a single mother, continues to try to sort out the details of her personal life while she conducts the investigation. Merci is a very appealing character, and one hopes that Parker will bring her back in the not-too-far-distant future.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Mike French

    Third book in Merci Rayborn series. Very enjoyable and entertaining from to finish!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Frank Kelso

    Top notch police procedural Outstanding plot development! The victims are a police officer and his beautiful wife. He survived, she doesn't. Murder & attempted suicide? Officer has too much money & fancy car & house. Is he on the take and this payback? Too much evidence points to the officer, but the lead detective can't connect the dots. Great twists and double-backs about who and why. Super read, fast-paced. Top notch police procedural Outstanding plot development! The victims are a police officer and his beautiful wife. He survived, she doesn't. Murder & attempted suicide? Officer has too much money & fancy car & house. Is he on the take and this payback? Too much evidence points to the officer, but the lead detective can't connect the dots. Great twists and double-backs about who and why. Super read, fast-paced.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    I didn't care much for this book. Not very compelling seemed to be the consensus. I didn't care much for this book. Not very compelling seemed to be the consensus.

  7. 5 out of 5

    LawReader

    This book contains far too many references to previous novels involving the same protagonist. Not only do all those references make me have no interest in reading the previous books (I already know how they turned out), but they made the book drag - especially when the same situations are referenced for the 120th time. I can understand setting the stage for some of Merci Rayborn's concerns, but there really is no need to repeatedly dredge up the previous investigation and arrests. Merci's toddler This book contains far too many references to previous novels involving the same protagonist. Not only do all those references make me have no interest in reading the previous books (I already know how they turned out), but they made the book drag - especially when the same situations are referenced for the 120th time. I can understand setting the stage for some of Merci Rayborn's concerns, but there really is no need to repeatedly dredge up the previous investigation and arrests. Merci's toddler son is cute at first, but quickly becomes annoying. If the purpose of including him is to humanize Rayborn, fine - but again, repeatedly including lengthy interactions between Rayborn and her son is tedious and does nothing to advance the plot. For that matter, most of the plot advancement comes from Archie, the victim/suspect who takes matters into his own hands. Rayborn & colleagues spend most of the book playing catch-up. Overall, this is a rather thin plot with large amounts of filler (Rayborn's interactions with her son; rehashing the previous cases; replaying interviews and television coverage). It is slow-moving and not particularly satisfying.

  8. 5 out of 5

    LJ

    A beautiful young woman is dead in the bathroom of her home. Her husbanda promising young cop named Archie Wildcraftis shot in the head but still alive. It looks like an attempted murder/suicide, but something tells Detective Merci Rayborn that theres more to the story. When the suspect vanishes from his hospital bed, he draws Merci into a manhunt that leaves the entire department questioning her abilities and her judgment. Is Archies flight the act of a ruined mind, or a faithful heart? Is his A beautiful young woman is dead in the bathroom of her home. Her husbanda promising young cop named Archie Wildcraftis shot in the head but still alive. It looks like an attempted murder/suicide, but something tells Detective Merci Rayborn that theres more to the story. When the suspect vanishes from his hospital bed, he draws Merci into a manhunt that leaves the entire department questioning her abilities and her judgment. Is Archies flight the act of a ruined mind, or a faithful heart? Is his account of the night his wife was murdered half-formed memory, or careful manipulation? Merci and Wildcraft head for a collision in a dizzying succession of cryptic clues, terrifying secrets, and painful truths. My biggest problem with this was, not having read RED LIGHT, the 2nd book in the series, it was clear I was missing substantial pieces of information. That aside, I also found her son a bit annoying. Other than those two items, I did enjoy the basic mystery.

  9. 5 out of 5

    GS Nathan

    Rather a decent read, but not compelling. Would now look out for other books featuring Merci Rayborn, Orange County detective. Rayborn gets to the bottom of what seems to be a straight forward case of murder-suicide. And in doing so, redeems herself somewhat, of the taint of a previous case. Merci sticks to her understanding of the case, stands up for herself and for the suspect and eventually cracks the case which turned out again to be not all that complicated. The crucial breaks were not due Rather a decent read, but not compelling. Would now look out for other books featuring Merci Rayborn, Orange County detective. Rayborn gets to the bottom of what seems to be a straight forward case of murder-suicide. And in doing so, redeems herself somewhat, of the taint of a previous case. Merci sticks to her understanding of the case, stands up for herself and for the suspect and eventually cracks the case which turned out again to be not all that complicated. The crucial breaks were not due to great detective work - like say in a Mankell book - and so that was a bit of a let down given that this was a 'national bestseller'. One could expect more... The book however has too many references to these previous cases. And that, to me, given that this is the first of this series that I am reading was a bit of a put off. But, overall, an OK light read, for all police story fans.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Tim Warner

    I had some trouble getting into this book. I think that T Jefferson Parker is an excellent writer but I have also been disappointed with him at times. He is great at giving heart to his characters, and yet that doesn't seem to carry the entire weight of a who-dunnit. In Black Water there are several "beautiful losers" who captured my own heart. Unfortunately the plot seemed not to grab me and I labored through until midway when I decided to stick it out.It's not a bad book; but it is frustrating I had some trouble getting into this book. I think that T Jefferson Parker is an excellent writer but I have also been disappointed with him at times. He is great at giving heart to his characters, and yet that doesn't seem to carry the entire weight of a who-dunnit. In Black Water there are several "beautiful losers" who captured my own heart. Unfortunately the plot seemed not to grab me and I labored through until midway when I decided to stick it out.It's not a bad book; but it is frustrating knowing how good Parker can be and yet, he doesn't always seem to reach that pinnacle. I wonder what's going on with him. There are still plenty more of his books that I plan to read.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Xanxa

    This is one of those formula police procedurals, with the expected cliches - maverick cop with deep personal issues leading the investigation, hindered by departmental politics and general disapproval from superiors and fellow cops; seriously injured person discharging themselves from hospital and going on the run; drunken (therefore supposedly unreliable) witness; Hispanic gardener ... you know the score. However, those cliches don't detract from the story. In fact, it's oddly comforting to enco This is one of those formula police procedurals, with the expected cliches - maverick cop with deep personal issues leading the investigation, hindered by departmental politics and general disapproval from superiors and fellow cops; seriously injured person discharging themselves from hospital and going on the run; drunken (therefore supposedly unreliable) witness; Hispanic gardener ... you know the score. However, those cliches don't detract from the story. In fact, it's oddly comforting to encounter them. They're like old friends who I haven't seen in ages and have a massive catch-up session with. The characters are well-drawn and their flaws make them endearing. The plot thickens and conspiracies abound. It all wraps up on a bittersweet note. It's a fast-paced easy read and I'd recommend it to anyone who likes cop stories and murder mysteries.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    Good enough as a mystery but does not quite stand alone. Yup, I did it to myself again, jumped in mid series. This seems to happen rather often with things I pick up at sales and stash away for future reading or the odd time when you really want a paper back you can abandon at journey's end. The most interesting device here is that you are pretty certain but not entirely certain that you know who didn't do it. Good police procedural will take you the rest of the way home but by starting in the t Good enough as a mystery but does not quite stand alone. Yup, I did it to myself again, jumped in mid series. This seems to happen rather often with things I pick up at sales and stash away for future reading or the odd time when you really want a paper back you can abandon at journey's end. The most interesting device here is that you are pretty certain but not entirely certain that you know who didn't do it. Good police procedural will take you the rest of the way home but by starting in the third book of the series the characters just left me rather flat. It's a me thing. I'm sure Merci and her cohorts are completely fascinating and engaging if you know the back story, but I don't and probably will not be searching it out. Unless I do it by accident, always a possibility;-)

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

    So this is the third in the series, and honestly, I thought this one was by far the best book. Seldom do I find a book that I cannot put down, but this is one. I have read a lot of T. Jefferson Parker, and while I like his style of writing there are some books that seem to run off the rails. This only had one section that I think the description went way too long, and it did not add to the book. The character developed which was needed and the ending of this book left me looking for the next boo So this is the third in the series, and honestly, I thought this one was by far the best book. Seldom do I find a book that I cannot put down, but this is one. I have read a lot of T. Jefferson Parker, and while I like his style of writing there are some books that seem to run off the rails. This only had one section that I think the description went way too long, and it did not add to the book. The character developed which was needed and the ending of this book left me looking for the next book, which unfortunately I will have to wait for, but will be buying when it comes out. I will pull another T. Jefferson and see if I like it.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Christina

    This book really lacked in the suspense department and because of that it took me longer to read than usual... overall I was left bored. The first chapter explicitly revealed was is innocent which left the plot without mystery thus resulted in the rest of the book’s detective work uninteresting. The end was absolutely corny too. Additionally, the hints of romanticism throughout the book were pretty tacky. I could not even bring mysef to finish the last chapter. I am over it and thankful this boo This book really lacked in the suspense department and because of that it took me longer to read than usual... overall I was left bored. The first chapter explicitly revealed was is innocent which left the plot without mystery thus resulted in the rest of the book’s detective work uninteresting. The end was absolutely corny too. Additionally, the hints of romanticism throughout the book were pretty tacky. I could not even bring mysef to finish the last chapter. I am over it and thankful this book was borrowed and not purchased.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kay

    Feisty, damaged Merci Rayborn climbs back in the police detective saddle post spectacular mistake and goes after Russian goons. Sensitive but tough, unrelenting in pursuit of the truth, emotional and loving, she's not someone I'd want to have lunch with but I'd sure like to sit on on one of her press conferences. Wish there were #4 in this series. Feisty, damaged Merci Rayborn climbs back in the police detective saddle post spectacular mistake and goes after Russian goons. Sensitive but tough, unrelenting in pursuit of the truth, emotional and loving, she's not someone I'd want to have lunch with but I'd sure like to sit on on one of her press conferences. Wish there were #4 in this series.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sonya L Moore

    Too good to explain I love a good murder mystery, but when an author can write like this, it becomes superb. Strong characterization, moving plot - all the elements needed for a good story. Then add in a deep understanding of the human soul and its struggles - what ya got is worth reading twice.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Paige Turner

    Really good read. I had hoped the author wrote more books in this series, but since it's been 15 years, probably not. If he sees this review, I hope he will. And I finally like Merci Rayborn. She grew on me and I have come to understand her better. Come on, Mr. Parker! Give us more Merci Rayborn! Really good read. I had hoped the author wrote more books in this series, but since it's been 15 years, probably not. If he sees this review, I hope he will. And I finally like Merci Rayborn. She grew on me and I have come to understand her better. Come on, Mr. Parker! Give us more Merci Rayborn!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Fredrick Danysh

    A police officer is shot and his wife murdered using the officer's gun. Despite hostile feelings toward her by many in the department, Merci Rayburn comes to believe that it was not a murder-suicide attempt. Interesting story line but reads like a romance nove. A police officer is shot and his wife murdered using the officer's gun. Despite hostile feelings toward her by many in the department, Merci Rayburn comes to believe that it was not a murder-suicide attempt. Interesting story line but reads like a romance nove.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Brendan Sullivan

    Merci goes to the top of the class of flawed, but effective detectives.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Greg

    need to find book 2. Character is more developed in this book. Enjoyed a lot.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Stevelarson1685

    Pleasantly surprised. For a supermarket checkout type of book, it was very well written. A little bit longer than it needed to be.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Lois Blanco

    Loved Merci's conversations with her son! Loved Merci's conversations with her son!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    Too long This novel would have had the same impact and outcome with about 100 pages less This is the first novel I have read from this author I hope others are better than this

  24. 5 out of 5

    Darren

    could not get into the plot at all

  25. 4 out of 5

    Barbara Criswell

    Lots of emotions Enjoyed this book. Read the first two a long time ago. Merci is a complicated character . Will read more TJ Parker.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Camilla Harry

    Enjoyed the book very much. It was deep, but fairly easy to follow.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Catherine

    Love this guy's writing. Love the character and I guess that’s it for this one. Too bad but nice tie up. Love this guy's writing. Love the character and I guess that’s it for this one. Too bad but nice tie up.

  28. 4 out of 5

    HARRY Cullen

    Everlasting love, changes brought on by money, the Russian Mob, fraud, murder and getting vengeance, should have this this after Silent Joe

  29. 4 out of 5

    Heidi

    I had the audio book version of this novel and found it to be a taut, well plotted murder/mystery with believable characters, which made me want to read the earlier books in the series. “Black Water” follows the murder investigation into the shooting of a young woman, Gwen Wildcraft, in her own home. Her husband, young Sheriff’s deputy Archie Wildcraft, has been grievously wounded in the same incident, shot in the head by his own service weapon. Merci Rayborn, the homicide detective in charge of I had the audio book version of this novel and found it to be a taut, well plotted murder/mystery with believable characters, which made me want to read the earlier books in the series. “Black Water” follows the murder investigation into the shooting of a young woman, Gwen Wildcraft, in her own home. Her husband, young Sheriff’s deputy Archie Wildcraft, has been grievously wounded in the same incident, shot in the head by his own service weapon. Merci Rayborn, the homicide detective in charge of the case, is reluctant to believe the most likely explanation – that of a murder-suicide committed by Archie himself. With a previous history of making a judgment call that nearly cost her her career, Merci must not only face her own demons as she delves deeper into the case, but also overcome the dislike and resistance she faces from work colleagues. But as the investigation progresses and new evidence comes to light, Merci discovers that she was right to trust her instincts and keep believing in Archie’s innocence. Things really heat up as Archie checks himself out of hospital (with the bullet still in his head) and decides to hunt down his wife’s killers himself. Not having read the two previous Merci Rayborn novels, I was left wondering about the details of the earlier case Merci keeps referring to, which so deeply affect her actions in the Wildcraft case – I will now have to catch up on “Blue Hour” and “Red Light” just to find out what I missed. Reading the series in sequence may also explain some of the complex relationships between the characters in this novel. However, despite my lack of background knowledge, I was able to enjoy “Black Water” as a stand-alone novel and very quickly got drawn into the mystery of this well plotted whodunit. Merci Rayborn is a strong, well developed and believable character and her personal growth as lead detective in this case is well portrayed. I really felt for Archie and found the author’s descriptions of his altered thought processes due to his traumatic brain injury fascinating, believable and very well researched. It was Archie who drove the story for me, and who I suffered with throughout. Personally, I felt that the story lost a bit of its momentum towards the end as all the pieces of the puzzle had finally fallen into place – yet this may be due to my ignorance of the details of earlier novels in he series, which the final chapters of the story referred to as loose ends were tied up. “Black Water” is a satisfying read with all the elements that make for a gripping murder/mystery. I will definitely check out the other books in this series.

  30. 5 out of 5

    David

    Parker always manages to get a good story going and offers an intriguing plot. Sometimes he focuses on the intense evil of the bad guys and sometimes he focuses on the frustration of being a cop. This time, it's the cop. I thought the title would have more to do with the story, but it only relates to a minor degree. Archie is a deputy sheriff who hears a noise and goes outside with his gun, only to get shot in the head. When he begins to awaken, it is like he is trying to swim in dark, black wat Parker always manages to get a good story going and offers an intriguing plot. Sometimes he focuses on the intense evil of the bad guys and sometimes he focuses on the frustration of being a cop. This time, it's the cop. I thought the title would have more to do with the story, but it only relates to a minor degree. Archie is a deputy sheriff who hears a noise and goes outside with his gun, only to get shot in the head. When he begins to awaken, it is like he is trying to swim in dark, black water.. hence the title of the novel. Meanwhile, Merci Rayborn, the heroine of the story (and series since this is the the third book featuring her) is investigating what appears to be a murder/suicide-- for Archie is found outside in a pool of blood with a gunshot wound to the head, a recently fired gun in his hand, and his wife is dead inside the house. The forensic evidence mounts and a reporter's meddling makes things worse for Archie. Archie, a miracle patient, checks himself out of the hospital and his mental condition is erratic and apparently degenerating. He intends to find the real killers himself. Overall, if I go any further, I will be spoiling the story. I will say that there were some plot resolutions I would have liked to see, rather than viewing them through Merci's eyes after the fact. Usually, I like characterization. Merci's son, Tim, a toddler, is introduced for the purpose of deepening Merci's character, but at times was just an annoyance and stalled the story out a bit. Parker writes Merci as a woman in desperate need of a man. This is demonstrated in various failed relationships (We know how the relationship she had with Hess, the father of her child, ended prematurely-- some of the others were likely in book # 2 of this series, that I have not yet read).. Parker does a great job of driving us around Orange County-- introducing the reader, at times, to the seamier side. He obviously has driven by buildings and locations that drew his interest and his descriptions of these spots are dead on. There are places where the reader can see the hills, smell the orange blossoms, etc. Finally, Parker gets us to the conclusion.. and here's where the rating dropped for me. Without offering spoilers, I want to suggest that the author might've though this was the perfect romantic ending.. I thought it was just plain stupid. Archie's resolution was a pitiful attempt to make something beautiful (his love for his deceased wife) into something ugly. A good book, but not one of Parker's best.

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