Boston shamus Sunny Randall’s fifth case takes her out to Hollywood, but her most fateful meeting is a lot closer to home.
Trillionaire producer Buddy Bollen, of Paradise, Mass., may be a mogul of doubtful tastes, but the five popcorn movies he’s made with Amazonian star Erin Flint have netted him a handsome profit. Now he sees a way to parlay his ownership of an underperforming baseball team into major synergy with his most recognizable property. Under intensive tutelage, he’s grooming Erin to become the first female major-leaguer—if only he can protect her from unnamed hostile interests and the possibility of her own missteps. That’s where Sunny (Shrink Rap, 2002, etc.) comes in—as bodyguard, watchdog and role model. It’s a mystery why Sunny signs on for the gig. Maybe she knows that she’ll be pulled off guard duty and assigned to detecting seconds after Misty Tyler, Erin’s longtime personal trainer, is found dead of a broken neck. In truth, Sunny isn’t much better at sleuthing than Erin is at acting. But fans will hardly notice the slack mystery-mongering here because they’ll be agog when Sunny hooks up with Paradise police chief Jesse Stone (Sea Change, 2006, etc.), and their professional partnership quickly develops an undercover dimension.
Does Spenser’s creator plan to tie up both his second- and third-string series in a single knot of domestic bliss? The riddle is one more reminder that his heroes have always been more important than their cases.