What if Spenser were a woman? What if he were still by turns macho and sensitive, well-connected in both Boston’s law community (because he was an ex-cop) and in Boston’s underworld (because the ex-husband she’d walked out on were a mob scion who ran some legitimate saloons started with dirty money), great with weapons and wisecracks, but deep-down sententious and, yes, wise as ever? Chances are he’d be just as potent a fantasy as a woman, but more convincing than when he was a man—and chances are he’d walk and talk just like Sunny Randall, the painter/private eye politically connected banker Brock Patton and his well-groomed wife Betty call when their daughter Millicent, 15, runs away from home. Finding a runaway who must be turning tricks on Boston’s streets to survive is no problem, Sunny soon realizes; the problem is figuring out what to do with a runaway who doesn’t want to go home, identifying the people she’s afraid of, and protecting her from them when every promising lead she gets about how to keep them away from Sunny turns up dead. Fans of Spenser (Hush Money, p. 108, etc.) will be happy to know that Sunny, who doesn’t mind fighting back hard, takes her grievances all the way to the top en route to revelations that make her feel “as if I’d spent my life in a convent and was just emerging.” Come to think of it, Sunny’s also just like Helen Hunt, who’ll be playing her in the movie scheduled for shooting next year. Nice, huh?