Sunny Randall, the Boston PI who’s waited years longer for resurrection than Parker’s franchise heroes Spenser and Jesse Stone, is back in action thanks to sportswriter/YA specialist Lupica (No Slam Dunk, 2018, etc.).
About the only thing that prevents Sunny from retying the knot with her ex-husband, saloonkeeper and Mafia scion Richie Burke, is her inability to commit—that and his getting shot in the back. He’s not dead, and there are those who think that sparing his life was deliberate, but a muttered remark by his shooter, “sins of the father,” makes him seriously spooked about his father, Desmond Burke, who’s rumored to be on the brink of a major move into the city’s illegal gun trade. Not to worry: The next victim is Desmond’s brother Peter, whose days of high-volume bookmaking are ended when he’s shot to death in the park around the Chestnut Hill Reservoir. It’s clear that somebody has a serious grudge against the Burke family, clear that Desmond and Felix, his surviving brother, would prefer to take care of the matter themselves, and clear that Sunny’s going to horn in anyway, arousing the ire of both the Burkes and Albert Antonioni, the mobster who, retired to Rhode Island after trying to kill Sunny, still seems to keep popping up wherever Sunny looks in this case. Antonioni soldier Joseph Marchetti beats up Sunny, and someone kills the top soldiers in both the Burke and the Antonioni camps and shoots up Felix’s house for good measure. No wonder Sunny (Spare Change, 2008, etc.) feels “as if most of the people I need to talk might be dead or in jail.”
Apart from constructing a serviceable plot, Lupica mimics the heroine’s voice, much less distinctive than those of Parker’s other leads, with ease. If all hands sling around a fair amount of gratuitous attitude, well, that’s just like Parker too.