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Blue Screen [Audiobook, Unabridged] [Audio CD]

Robert B. Parker , Kate Burton
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 13 2006 Sunny Randall Novels
Sunny Randall, the Boston P.I. with a personal life as tangled as that of her clients, is hired on as a bodyguard to an up-and-coming starlet, and discovers some ugly truths behind her glossy façade.

Buddy Bollen is a C-list movie mogul who made his fortune producing films of questionable artistic merit. When Buddy hires Sunny Randall to protect his rising star and girlfriend, Erin Flint, Sunny knows from the start that the prickly, spoiled beauty won't make her job easy. And when Erin's sister, Misty, is found dead in the lavish home they share with sugar daddy Bollen, there doesn't seem to be a single lead worth pursuing.

But then Sunny meets Jesse Stone, chief of police in Paradise, Massachusetts, under whose jurisdiction the case falls.

Tracking Misty's murderer reveals a host of seedy complications behind Erin's glamorous lifestyle as well as Buddy Bollen's entertainment empire, made up of shady film deals and mobsters out for revenge. But in a world where there's little difference between the good guys and the bad, exposing the killer could prove to be Sunny's undoing.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Parker's latest mystery brings two of his series characters, Boston PI Sunny Randall and Paradise, Mass., chief of police Jesse Stone together for the first time. Zillionaire Buddy Bollen hires Randall as bodyguard to his live-in girlfriend, the minimally talented but beautiful and athletic Erin Flint, who has starred in several movies Bollen's produced. As the owner of a baseball team, he wants Flint to be the first female major league player. Flint's fear of physical reprisal against her as she attempts to break the baseball gender barrier leads to the hiring of Randall. When Flint's assistant is found dead, Stone joins Randall, professionally and romantically, to solve the murder. Parker, as usual, delivers a fine novel, whose serviceable plot exists primarily to showcase his well-drawn characters. Although she may upon occasion lose track of whose voice is whose, Burton does an admirable job of delivering Parker's dialogue, which is as stylistically unique as a David Mamet play. Her first-person narration from Randall's point of view and expository passages are nicely performed, bringing just the right amount of world-weariness to her characterization.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Erin Flint is on all the magazine covers, and her last movie--lotta body, acting not so much--was boffo box office. Her lover-manager, Buddy Bollen, who also owns a major-league baseball team, wants Flint to play for his team--a cameo, but timed to coincide with the release of her next movie. But Erin fears there may be an attempt on her life, so Boston investigator Sunny Randall is hired to be her bodyguard. While working on her batting skills in the resort town of Paradise, one of Erin's entourage is murdered. Sunny, with the blessing of Paradise police chief Jesse Stone--another Parker series regular--sets off to find the killer. Parker has never been big on plots. He's all about character, characters, and snappy dialogue, and all are present here in spades. What makes this special is the dalliance between Stone and Randall. Both are smart, clever, witty, brave, burdened with the weight of past loves, and, well, downright horny. This isn't Parker's best work, but it may be his most lighthearted. Wes Lukowsky
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Stuff! July 17 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a fun read, with Sunny Randall and her latest cop boyfriend, Jesse Stone. These two struggle with their relationship and also in trying to solve a murder. Great stuff!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Mills and Boon Jan. 22 2013
By Nat L
Format:Paperback
I'm a big fan of Robert B Parker but this book is so disappointing. It's a badly written book that Parker seems to have churned out just to bring Jesse Stone and Sunny Randall together. Their relationship is pure Mills and Boon. To make matters worse the mystery part of the book is not only unbelievable but it is also so slow. If this was the first Robert Parker book that I'd read I wouldn't read any more.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars Sept. 13 2014
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  98 reviews
31 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Double your Pleasure - Susan and Stone in One Book June 23 2006
By Lisa Shea - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
It took five books, but Robert B Parker has finally found a woman's voice and attitude for Sunny that I find realistic. The first books had Sunny saying loudly to anyone who would listen that she was strong and independent - then she would promptly crumble and look for a man to rescue her. With Blue Screen, Sunny really does stand on her own - and ironically it's a story that immediately brings her in contact with Jesse Stone, from Parker's other series. This *could* have spelled disaster for Sunny's ability to stand on her own, but the pair actually work well together, supporting each other instead of Stone treating Sunny as a little girl.

Where the previous Sunny books relied too heavily on cute references to every single character found in Spenser novels, we almost have a clean slate here with Blue Screen. We still run into Susan Silverman and Healy every once in a while, but it's toned down from previous rounds. Sunny is brought in by a millionaire who wants to protect his curvy actress, Erin Flint, from harm. Erin is, of course, in traditional Parker fashion, an uppity, obnoxious feminist who thinks all men are slime. We've seen this character a few times before.

Sunny takes on the job, in short order a friend named Misty is slain, and the chase is on. It turns out of course that EVERYONE is lying, and about really idiotic things, too. Did Erin really think her lies would not be found out? There's a difference between not intelligent and completely senseless. There are a number of things happening during this story which are deliberately for plot reasons - and the plot is pretty transparent.

But when you come down to it, this particular story's not about the mystery, or the plot. It's about the romance. Pretty much all focus is on Sunny and Jesse. How is Jesse dealing with his ex-wife who has cheated on him yet again? How is Sunny dealing with her ex-husband who has moved on in life? How can they carefully hook up with each other, with the emotional wounds still so fresh? Should Sunny shave her legs? Should Jesse risk taking a drink again? It's like watching a courtship dance between porcupines - both are lonely, both are really concerned about being hurt again and about hurting the other. Eventually, of course, they find a way to make it work.

I also love Parker's writing style in general. It's what keeps me coming back for more each time. The way he words things, the dialogues he creates, it is poetry in motion. I still laugh out loud when I read Parker - and there are phrases I remember long after I finish the last page.

Still, I have to wonder just where things are going to go now. I really enjoy the Jesse Stone series, and am also liking the made-for-TV versions that have Tom Selleck playing Jesse. I am hoping they go through and make each book into one, and even perhaps start a whole series based on it. Parker was writing all three series - Spenser, Stone and Sunny - side by side. Does this mean the next book will be a Stone book, continuing the story? Up until now, readers could read just "one line" - say just the Stone line - and not feel TOO lost (despite the continual references to Spenser characters). With the incestuous intertwining that has just happened, readers need to have read BOTH lines (the Jesse and the Sunny lines) to really understand the background of both characters and to get all the references in this book. I suppose it's a way for Parker to ensure that people read every single book he writes, if he's going to have every book refer to every other book he's written.

I suppose since I *do* read every book that Parker writes, I don't mind. But I do feel sorry for people who pick this one up having only read the Sunny series - they'll be quite lost about what Stone is all about. I also would look forward to a refocus on the mystery and plot. Yes, I love the human interplay - but where previous Sunny and Stone books were quite nice in their human nature insights, this one was more laid out as a romance novel. The insight was along the lines of "My ex is married, maybe I really should move on with my life."

As a final note, every time I see the title "Blue Screen" I immediately think "Blue Screen of Death", i.e. the Windows screen you get when it crashes. My friends that I talk to have the same response. I imagine this was intended :)
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Disappointing Novel July 17 2007
By Kocca - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is the first Robert Parker novel I have read and I was really disappointed. The plot had potential, but was poorly written. The dialogue was terrible with an occassional funny line thrown in. I usually love books with strong female characters, but Sunny Randall was written without any depth. Basically the author makes a few statements that tells the reader that she's a strong character and that's as far as the character development goes. Actually there wasn't much in the way of real development or depth for any of the characters.
22 of 28 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Half a Good Novel June 25 2006
By C. Baker - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I have read every Robert B. Parker novel so of course I have read all the novels featuring Jesse Stone and Sunny Randall. This novel is told from the viewpoint of Sunny Randall but Jesse Stone is the other primary character. In this novel the two team up to solve a murder. The characterization in this novel is fabulous as Parker builds on his previous work to paint a continuing picture of these two endearing characters. The plot seems to be just a backdrop for this character building and that is where the novel falls apart.

The plot finds Sunny Randall being hired by Buddy Bollen, a rich mogul who produces movies and also owns a major league baseball team, as a bodyguard for his lover and film star Erin Flint. It just so happens that Erin is not only a stunning beauty but a terrific athlete as well so Buddy plans to have her play on his major league baseball team, the Connecticut Nutmegs, mainly as a publicity stunt. Erin's personal trainer, Misty, is murdered on the Bollen compound in Paradise, Massachusetts and Erin hires Sunny to solve the murder, suspending her role as bodyguard. Jesse Stone, chief of police of Paradise, brings Sunny into his investigation at her request. Of course Sunny and Jesse begin to unravel the unsavory past of both Erin and Buddy with explosive consequences.

I loved Sunny and Jesse together in this novel, which is what kept me reading, despite the preposterous and unbelievable plot. The interplay between Jesse and Sunny is just simply Parker at his best and was a rewarding part of the novel for those who are fans of both series.

The plot is idiotic and why Parker chose such a ridiculous plot is beyond me. First, Erin Flint is a movie star - she's been in People Magazine and similar publications. As we find about her past, the reader realizes just how unbelievable it is that it was kept so well hidden. In this age of paparazzi and aggressive tabloid media, her past would never have gone undiscovered. Secondly, the major league baseball team, the Connecticut Nutmegs??!! First, nobody in their right mind would put a major league baseball team in Connecticut. Second, even if they did, they WOULD NOT call them the Nutmegs. Finally, Buddy Bollen is an unsavory character with mob connections. Again, in this day and age, there is no way a person like Buddy Bollen would be allowed to own a major league baseball team. There is one other glaring gap in the plot that I can't mention as it would be a spoiler. The plot is just completely unbelievable and that totally ruined the novel for me.

Why, oh why, waste such a wonderful concept of bringing these two interesting characters together on a plot that undermines the body of work? I hope to read more about Sunny and Jesse together - but I really hope for a plot that is deserving of them.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sunny gets a boyfriend!! July 5 2006
By Don In Fremont - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Well, it now appears that the merging of the Parker-verse is complete. We've had Spenser and Jesse Stone together on a case, and the previous Sunny Randall experience, Shrink Rap, was in large part about the titular heroine's initiation of therapy with Spenser's girl, Dr. Susan Silverman. So all that's left is for Jesse and Sunny to work together on a case.

Welcome to Blue Screen.

It's very clear from the get-go, even if you don't read the jacket copy, crossing the streams of these two characters is on Parker's mind, as Sunny goes to meet her client in a fashion time-honored since The Big Sleep. That is, meeting the client on his own rather eccentric turf, in this case, Paradise Mass., the home of one Buddy Bollen.

You could call Buddy a Hollywood Sleazeball, but it might offend Hollywood Sleazeballs. He has an ego as large as his brain is small. He has an expansive mansion, decorated as a tribute to his own infantilism. And he has a movie-star-girlfriend who, while being a stunning physical specimen, is possibly the worst actress on the planet, named Erin Green. She is also, apparently, about to break the gender barrier in Major League Baseball, and Buddy feels there are forces in the game are conspiring to prevent that from happening.

Seems Erin needs protection, and insists on a woman to provide it. Hence, Sunny. Erin is prickly with just about everyone. Rude, self-centered and ignorant. And she hates dogs!

Those familiar with the Sunny Randall series know a key character is Rosie, her miniature Spuds McKenzie, which of course sets up endless conflict between Sunny and her new client. And helps us learn to not like Erin, since Parker is quite fond of making Rosie about the cutest dog on the planet.

Parker is on familiar turf here. Many believe Looking For Rachel Wallace is one of the best in the Spenser series. The difficult-client/heroic-PI format is well-used here again by Parker, as a way to let us into the mindset of a person so used to being property she has forgotten how to be a person.

Soon after hiring on to the case, Erin's assistant, Misty, is murdered. Sunny is summoned to the house, and of course, this being Paradise, the local constabulary is on the scene. That would be Jesse Stone, Suitcase Simpson, and Molly Crane.

Cue the romantic sparks!! As Sunny's followers know, she is tortured by the lack of closure with her ex-husband, and prone to what Erica Jong used to call "zipless" carnal frolic. It's part of what drove her to see Susan Silverman, of course.

So, with convenient revelations regarding both Jesse's ex-wife, Jenn, and Sunny's ex, Richie Burke, the way is paved for Jesse and Sunny. Paved in rose petals, actually. We cheer for these two as they find their way down the path readers know, hope and fear they will take.

As their relationship develops, the case at hand almost takes a back seat. It's at least in the passenger seat, but nevertheless interesting, as Sunny and Jesse travel, at various times, to LA to investigate Buddy's history on that coast, while at the same time, Jesse is able to validate his new life by working with his old boss from the LAPD. On her first trip out to the Left Coast, Sunny finds out not only is Erin's history just a bit murky, but her late assistant Misty was actually her sister. I wouldn't tell you this part if the book flap didn't clumsily say so already. Might've made a fun SURPRISE, eh?

So what we have here is a case, wrapped in a romance, and baked with appropriate care by a man who is so skilled at both, it all feels very natural. Parker delivers some major follow up to the last Jesse Stone novel, Sea Change, here, leading to the idea that he wants all three series to be considered as one.

A small, but interesting, through-line continuing here is the insight longtime Parker readers get of Susan Silverman. Seen through only Spenser's eyes for so long, she has become tiresome to many, we see again her professional side, as observed by Sunny, and it sheds new light on a character whose complexities Spenser readers neither saw nor cared about.

Of course, Parker brings in the rest of Sunny's supporting cast as well, primarily Spike, her best-pal restaurateur, who is caged-lion menace when needed, and empathic friend always. He'll never be a staple the way Hawk is, but he's very entertaining.

Parker is a known quantity, of course. And Blue Screen delivers on the levels that we expect, even demand, from a writer this gifted: Clever first-person perception, snappy dialogue, organic action and quality characterization. And, of course, it makes us eager for the next Spenser!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Two fo the Price of One July 12 2006
By SDRTX - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Although billed as a Sunny Randall novel, Paradise series character Jesse Stone almost gets as much story time as Sunny.

Sunny is hired first as a bodyguard to D-List movie actress and aspiring baseball player, Erin Flint, by her movie producer, baseball team owner Sugar Daddy, Buddy Bollen. Sunny does not get to act as body guard long before Erin's sister Misty is found with her neck broken. Erin wants her sister's death investigated and Sunny is right for the job with the blessing of Chief of Police Jesse Stone.

Robert Parker safely follows a bluepint of the successful crime novel...flawed tough guy hero, almost as tough heroine, a little romance, obvious bad guys, and a not too complicated plot. The book was engaging but not compelling. I enjoyed it while I was reading then I promptly forgot about it. I do like both Sunny and Jesse. I'm not sure if I like them as a couple. Characters from other Parker novels show up which feels a bit gimmicky.

3.5 Stars
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