Sunny Randall joins her father, pulled out of retirement, and every cop in Boston to catch a serial killer who’s skipped a generation.
Twenty years ago the Spare Change Killer terrorized the city. He shot seven victims, leaving three coins near each body, before stopping as suddenly and mysteriously as he’d begun. Now Spare Change, or somebody who’s copying both his m.o. and the style of the obligatory taunting notes he sent Phil Randall, is back in business. Frustrated because the task force he headed never cleared the earlier murders, Phil is eager to consult on the current spate, especially when his beloved shamus daughter agrees to help. It isn’t long before Sunny identifies a suspect who, after a single “welcome aboard” note to her, tries a more direct approach: a series of meetings at which he drinks with her and uses his noncommittal obsession with the case to flirt. Still bruised from her fling with Paradise Police Chief Jesse Stone (Blue Screen, 2006), Sunny would be in no mood for romance even if her suitor weren’t a probable serial killer. So the case, starved for mystery, devolves into a cat-and-mouse game with a perp whose florid behavior is notably in excess of any explanation his climactic confession offers for it.
What’s left is what’s always left even in Parker’s worst: the knowing, laconic dialogue, the endless posturing, the nuggets of hard-won wisdom you never could’ve come up with yourself.