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Blue Screen: A Sunny Randall Novel    by Robert B. Parker order for
Blue Screen
by Robert B. Parker
Order:  USA  Can
Putnam, 2006 (2006)
Hardcover, Audio, CD

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

I enjoy all three of Robert Parker's series - starring Spenser, Sunny Randall and Jesse Stone - and it's been fun watching series stars (and occasionally lesser characters) move between books to make each other's acquaintance. The fact that Sunny's psychiatrist is Spenser's love, Dr. Susan Silverman, makes for intriguing exchanges. This time, Sunny's path crosses that of Paradise police chief Jesse Stone when her client's personal assistant, Misty Tyler, dies on his turf, and the immediate sparks between them soon turn to fireworks. Luckily, Jesse gets along with the other love of Sunny's life, her English bull terrier Rosie.

Sunny, a Boston PI, was hired as a bodyguard for statuesque action star of the Woman Warrior series, Erin Flint, who lives with her lover, Hollywood magnate Buddy Bollen, on his SeaChase estate ('said to be bigger than Luxembourg') in Paradise, Massachusetts. Buddy owns a ball club, the Connecticut Nutmegs, and intends to sign Erin (a talented athlete who performs her own stunts) to play center field, though she's not much of a baseball player - the publicity involved in making her the first female player in major league baseball is to be the salvation of the Nutmegs and also help box office sales for Erin's new movie, a biography of the great female athlete Babe Didrikson.

Though Erin turns out to be an obnoxious client, Sunny handles her, replicating Spenser's inimitable style. Sunny flies in to LA to consult her 'big-deal Hollywood agent' lover, Tony Gault, and digs up dirt on Erin's past. It turns out that Misty is Erin's sister, that both were involved in the sex industry before Erin's rise to fame, and that Erin is still married to the 'head pimp in the Valley.' Sunny also uncovers a connection to vicious gangster Moon Monaghan, who may have a score to settle with Bollen, and who's not happy about her investigation - Sunny's bear-like sidekick Spike gets in on the action that ensues. But the investigation is like a maze, each piece of new information leading nowhere.

Still reeling from Richie's remarriage, Sunny takes another body blow when she learns from his mobster uncle Felix (who remains fond of her) that her ex will soon be a father. Jesse also suffers from discovering that Jenn has again been unfaithful. Are these prior dysfunctional relationships actually over for both of them? They solve the case together, applying a shared interpretation of justice, and begin a relationship that is sure to please Parker's legion of fans. Though the mystery in Blue Screen is nothing extraordinary, the interaction (both verbal and physical) between Sunny and Jesse makes up for it, each discovering they are 'A fool for love.'

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