Spare Change, the latest in Robert B. Parker’s Sunny Randall series, features former cop and current private investigator Sunny working with her father, Phil, a retired Boston police captain, on one of his former unsolved cases; a mystery over twenty years in the making. The Spare Change killer, so dubbed by the media because he/she leaves spare change next to the body, has seemingly returned for another rampage. Phil and Sunny have narrowed their list of suspects when the murders take a surprising twist; the victims begin to resemble Sunny. The investigation moves along at a brisk clip with the murderer identified, if not proven, early on in the novel making the subplot of Sunny's continued tumultuous relationships with her family (Mom, Dad and sister Elizabeth), friends (Julie and Spike), ex-husband (the ever present Richie) and her therapist almost overshadow the eventual unraveling of the decades long mystery. Those who are able to overlook Parker's expounding of the continual romantic saga of Sunny and Richie will not be disappointed with Spare Change.
While I found the mystery in this title a satisfying and easy read, I bought it before dinner and finished it the same evening, I continue to find something just short of annoying with Sunny in the Sunny Randall series and Jesse Stone and the Stone Cold series. Parker's characterization of romance and relationships in both his Sunny Randall and Jesse Stone novels tarnishes some of the overall appeal of the series. I very much enjoy the mystery involved in his work and while I applaud making his characters fallible and realistic, in my opinion he often overcompensates by at times making them seem shallow and insipid.
On the plus side, I do enjoy Tom Selleck's interpretation of Jesse Stone in the various television movies that have been made. (What's not to like about Tom Selleck?) I read somewhere that Parker wrote Sunny Randall with Helen Hunt in mind. Wonder how true that might be?
Update: Late cover image; Blogger hated me last evening and I was unable to add it to the post until this morning. I did try ... and it was trying.
Tags: Robert B. Parker, Spare Change, Sunny Randall novels, Fiction, Recreational reading