Robert B. Parker's Payback
by Lupica, Mike

When her best friend Spike's restaurant is taken over under a predatory loan agreement, PI Sunny Randall begins to investigate while helping a victim of another crime - two seemingly different cases that converge into one deadly mystery.

Robert B. Parker was the author of seventy books, including the legendary Spenser detective series, the novels featuring police chief Jesse Stone, and the acclaimed Virgil Cole/Everett Hitch westerns, as well as the Sunny Randall novels. Winner of the Mystery Writers of America Grand Master Award and long considered the undisputed dean of American crime fiction, he died in January 2010. Mike Lupica is a prominent sports journalist and the New York Times-bestselling author of more than forty works of fiction and nonfiction. A longtime friend to Robert B. Parker, he was selected by the Parker estate to continue the Sunny Randall series.

Many longtime Robert B. Parker devotees were skeptical when the Parker estate agreed to allow the late author's characters to appear in the work of surrogate writers, but in the case of Lupica, who has penned both Sunny Randall and Jesse Stone novels, and Ace Atkins, who has taken over the Spenser franchise, the experiment has been successful. Here, in his third Randall excursion, Lupica doubles down on that familiar trope in detective fiction-the PI takes a nonpaying case to help a friend-by having Sunny take two cases for different friends: Spike, who has lost his restaurant to a weaselly hedge-fund manager, and Lee, a cop whose college-age niece has been assaulted but won't take his help. Naturally, the two cases connect when the weasel and the niece are linked by a floating poker game. Lupica powers his way through the plot in fast-talking Parker style, reveling in the banter and the nicely delineated relationships between Sunny and various other Parker players (psychiatrist Susan Silverman, gangster Tony Marcus, and cop Jesse Stone, now Sunny's most significant other). It's all smart-alecky good fun in the hard-boiled tradition. Copyright 2021 Booklist Reviews.

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