Split Image was the ninth Jesse Stone novel in fourteen years, and was released a month after author Robert B. Parker had passed away. Clearly then, I am very nearly to the end of his bibliography; the two final Spenser novels are still waiting for me, and then I'm moving on to Michael Chabon.
It's one of quite a few books in the second half of his career where one of our red-blooded he-man heroes is confronted with some exceptionally outre sexual deviancy. It isn't quite as ridiculous as the TV show CSI was, early in its run, but you can almost picture Parker, thinking with urgency and knowing he has about 120 days to finish this book, ticking down the list of unusual lifestyles that he's covered recently, looking for a new one: "Voyeurs, wife swappers, con artists, Bonnie & Clyde-fetishists... hmmm. Haven't done incestuous twins marrying retired mobsters yet..."
In less contrived news, the book brings Stone's flirtation and quasi-relationship with Sunny Randall to a reasonable close. Randall had featured in five or six of her own novels - all of Parker's detective series are set in the same Massachusetts, with supporting characters crossing around between them - before being more formally folded in as the major supporting player in Stone's. They realize that they've been falling in love for years, and, the impediments of their ex-spouses removed and finally consigned to the past, the series concludes with the two thinking positively about a future together. It's not often that series fiction gets a happily-ever-after wrapup; I'm glad that things ended this way for the two, regardless of whether Parker had more ideas in store. Recommended as a distraction.