A quick fun read for Parker fans to enjoy…
In addition to his own mysteries, Mike Lupica has written follow-on books in two of Robert B Parker’s sometimes-linked series: the Sunny Randall series and the Jesse Stone series. Right now, however, Jesse and Sunny are taking a “time-out”, and so Lupica’s latest book, Revenge Tour, is a straight-up Sunny story, with just a few mentions of Stone. And it’s a very nice continuation of the series.
As the book opens, readers are reminded that Sunny has been living, almost rent-free, in a Boston townhouse belonging to romance author Melanie Joan Hall, after she got the evidence to put Melanie Joan’s psychotic ex-husband behind bars. Now Melanie Joan is having more problems, and she has hired Sunny to help her out again. At the same time, though, Sunny’s father is being threatened by a creepy but powerful Mob lawyer, as a result of one of his prior cases. So, Sunny finds herself busy enough to need help, and she calls on a number of previous series characters: her friend, Spike; her ex-husband, Richie Burke; her former father-in-law, Desmond Burke; and eventually a couple of well-known cross-overs from one of Parker’s other series. That’s a fair amount of backstory, which can get a bit confusing, but Lupica does a good job reminding readers of who’s who when they need it.
At first the cases appear to be separate, but then coincidences start popping up, and it seems they may be connected. The plot roller-coasters along, with some slow-paced old-fashioned legwork, a couple of murders, and not one, but two, drive-by shootings (or, to be truly accurate, bicycle-by shootings), as Sunny tries to figure out what’s going on. Is Melanie Joan’s ex-husband somehow orchestrating this all from jail? Or is someone else behind everything, and if so, who? And why? And did Melanie Joan really commit plagiarism when she wrote her first book?
Like a lot of the later Parker titles, both original and continuation, Revenge Tour has a little too much “bad guy with honor” and “enemy-of-my-enemy is my friend” stuff going on to seem completely credible. But also as usual, the rest of the book, and especially the snappy dialogue, is good enough that that doesn’t really matter much. All-in-all, this is simply a quick, fun read that is going to leave folks with a smile on their face – and also leave them waiting for the next book, if only to see whether Sunny’s potential new relationship works out any better than her old ones.
And my thanks to GP Putnam’s Sons and NetGalley for the advance review copy!