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Family Honor [Mass Market Paperback]

Robert B. Parker
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (105 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Jan. 11 2002 Sunny Randall (Book 1)
The author of the bestselling Spenser novels introduces a heroine unlike any other-private eye Sunny Randall. She's street-smart, sexy, and suddenly thrown into a Boston mob war where high-stakes politics and low-down killers conspire to make Sunny's first case her last.

"Robert B. Parker has another winner...Sunny can hold her own with Spenser."-Boston Globe "Sharp and funny." -Washington Post

"Sleek and of the best."-Publishers Weekly

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From Amazon

Let's get this settled right away: Sunny Randall is nothing like Spenser. True, she's a private eye in Boston with good connections to the cops, and she also knows a lot of bad guys. And yes, she happens to have a trusty sidekick named Spike, and a close friend who could easily be related to Susan Silverman, (Spenser's long-term companion). Oh, did I mention the cute dog? Aside from that, though, there's absolutely no similarity between this new series from Robert B. Parker and his long-running Spenser books. Just because the case Sunny is working on--finding a missing 15-year-old girl who has run away from her very rich parents--sounds similar to the Spenser favorite Thin Air doesn't mean Parker is repeating himself here. Think of it as more like a homage, the kind of thing the author took on when he agreed to finish Raymond Chandler's Poodle Springs. Only in this case it's a homage to himself--but what the hell.

Written specifically with Parker's good friend actress Helen Hunt in mind, Family Honor is all in good fun. At one point, a no-nonsense nun looks down at Sunny's bull terrier, who is lying on her back begging for a tummy rub. "What's wrong with this dog?" Sister said. "It is a dog, isn't it?"

Parker is so good that with one hand tied behind his back he can create characters that are more memorable than most writers can even when pounding away with both fists. In just a few short pages, he tells us all about Sunny's career as a painter--and about the complicated relationship between her cool policeman father and her irritating pseudo-feminist mother. Parker even makes a direct dig at Spenser (who, before turning to private investigating, had a short and fairly unsuccessful career in the boxing world). When the runaway girl questions Sunny's ability to protect her from dangerous criminals--"you're a girl like me, for crissake, what are you going to do?"--Sunny replies, "It would be nice if I weighed two hundred pounds and used to be a boxer. But I'm not, so we find other ways." Exactly. --Dick Adler --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

After 33 novelsAincluding more than two dozen Spenser mysteriesAbackboned by heros concerned with distinctly male codes of behavior, Parker presents his first female protagonist. She's Sunny Randall, and she's a keeper. In some ways, Sunny is a female Spenser. Like him, she's a former cop, now a Boston PI, quick with a pistol and a quip. She teams with an odd sidekick, Spike, as Spenser teams with Hawk, and she has a significant other, an ex-husband to Spenser's Susan. But Sunny is female, and as she explains in this wonderfully involving and moving novel, that means that she can't rely on the compass of "Be a man" to orient toward life. How to live correctly is this novel's theme, as it is in the best Spenser novels, and to explore that theme Parker borrows situations from those novels. Sunny is hired by a powerful family to find their runaway daughter, Millicent, who, it transpires, is hooking and needs rescuingAlike the girl in Taming a Sea-Horse. Once saved from the streets, Sunny trains Millicent in responsible adult waysAcooking, exerciseAas Spenser trained Paul in Early Autumn. But it's only a minor knock that Parker uses here elements honed in 30 years of writing, for he uses them with consummate skill. Millicent, it happens, witnessed a conspiracy to murder arising from her cold, ambitious parentsAher father aims to be governorAand the Italian mobsters who control them. The mobsters now want her dead, and Sunny, too, if need be. Sunny's fight to save Millicent and herself moves through a wide swath of Boston and its denizens, all etched in Parker's lean and exquisitely cadenced prose. The high suspense is equaled by the emotional power of Sunny's bonding with the damaged girl. A bravura performance, this novel launches what promises to be a series for the ages. BOMC main selection; film rights to Helen Hunt. (Sept.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
One of the good things about being a woman in my profession is that there's not many of us, so there's a lot of work available. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Family secrets Jan. 1 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Sunny and Richie were married for nine years. They had had a house in Marblehead. Richie refused the house. Sunny wrapped her paintings in order to move her things. Her mother said she was disappointed. Her father offered to help with a divorce or with whatever she needed. Families offer protection to their members. Protection is the theme of Parker's story.
Sunny was a cop, her father was a cop. Richie resembled her father although he came from a crime family. Sunny moved to investigation and then to private investigation. She is hired to find a teenage runaway. The mother seems too perfect. Sunny is pursuing an MFA nights. She still paints and lives in a loft. The missing girl, Millicent, attended a girls school. The school provided a classical education. Millicent had been missing for ten days. At the school she had no friends, no interests, no achievements.
Sunny discovered that Millicent had been to a youth shelter. The person running the shelter said that the kids seemed to have equal measures of defiance and guilt. Sunny needs her ex-husband's help to get her into areas of activity to find Millicent, (Milly). Sunny finds the girl through the connections that Richie Burke makes available to her. Since Milly isn't talking convincingly, Sunny has the the girl move in with her.
It develops that others are looking for the girl. They have to go to the mattresses and move to a friend's apartment in the South End. An interesting subtext in the story is that families teach its members how to function, and that no one seems to have taken any time to teach Milly how to function.
Parker writes that in Boston organized crime is an oxymoron. There are loose groups. When Sunny returns to her loft, she finds that it had been tossed.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Yes, Sunny's saga does sound a lot like Spenser April 18 2003
By A Customer
Format:Audio Cassette
But, to borrow from the Beatles, "you know that can't be bad." Sure, Sunny is a wiseacre like Spenser and, like Spenser, she lives in Boston and loves both Charlie Parker and the bar at the Ritz. And Julie the shrink bears a passing resemblance to Susan the shrink. Rosie eats off chopsticks, just like Pearl. Sunny's ex-husband provides extra muscle, underworld connections, and makes people uncomfortable by remaining menacingly still, just like Hawk. And Millicent is a mix between April Kyle and Paul Giacommin. So I guess if you wanted to brand this work as derivative, I wouldn't be able to convincingly defend it. BUT I adore the Spenser books and have feared that as Parker's original PI grows older (he's in his 60s now) and retires, there would be no new Parker character to take his place. Now there's Sunny. I enjoyed this tale of sex, mystery, love and redemption. The plot was interesting, the characters comfortable and compelling, and the performance by Andrea Thompson was exceptional. (OK, she said "Betty Hutton" instead of "Betty Patton" once, but I thought that was funny.) I've heard that Sunny was created for Helen Hunt, but Parker has hit the jackpot with Thompson. If there's ever a Sunny film, she certainly deserves a crack at the title role.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I like Sunny! March 5 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Yes, there's similarity to Parker's "Early Autumn" in that the detective sort of adopts a teenager who's aimlessly floating around, and yes, bits of the dialogue are identical to Spenser dialogue, but that's not really sufficient to take away from the enjoyment of this book.
Sunny isn't really a female Spenser. She's less comfortable dealing with the gangster connections than Spenser is. While she's a good shot, she doesn't seem to be a true physical match for the bad guys.
In this first outing, she's hired to find a missing 15 year old daughter, but on finding her also discovers that she'll be in considerable danger if she's returned to her family. The story goes on from there. We meet Tony Marcus who we know from Spenser books. And a flip remark is made at one point which indicates that Sunny knows of Spenser and his reputation.
Parker likes to throw in little teasers. When we realize that the girl and her mother will each likely be visiting psychologists, we can't help wondering if one of them won't end up with that lady counsellor we know so well. After all, this is set in Boston.
There's bound to be a bit of a tie-in with other Parker series and therefore, I recommend reading all Parker stories in sequence.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A fun read! Feb. 14 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
A friend gave me this book, and I really had no idea what to expect. When I opened it and found out it was the first book for a new character, I was pretty excited. Sometimes it's difficult when you pick up a book in the middle of a series, but here I was coming in on the ground floor. Yay!
Although I'm used to a bit more action in the books I read, I have to say that it only took me a couple of days to read it -- it was VERY fast, very enjoyable, and also quite funny. Not necessarily laughing out loud funny, but there were so many times Sunny brought a smile to my face! As others have said, it sure would be nice to have a friend like her around.
The book is light reading, but even so, at the end of every chapter you feel compelled to just see what's going to happen next. Mr. Parker, I salute you, and I'm certainly going to be looking for your other books. I can't wait to read them!
If you're looking for some funny, caring characters you might want to know better (or might not want to!), this is a good place to start. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
good book
Published 18 days ago by richard fornwald
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!
Loved this as I do all Sunny Randall mysteries. I find that she's a very confused woman in a tough job, and somehow manages to battle through.
Published 2 months ago by Kathryn Philipps
4.0 out of 5 stars Audio Reading by Andrea Thompson
Andrea Thompson, the pretty actress who was on NYPD BLUE for a season or two, does a worthwhile read. Read more
Published on June 6 2004 by Robert Cohen
4.0 out of 5 stars Family Honor
I have read all of Robert B. Parker's novels except the Sunny Randall novels. I wasn't sure that I would enjoy Parker's writing about a female P.I. Read more
Published on April 21 2003 by Ricky N.
4.0 out of 5 stars First Time Parker Reader...I'll be back
This is the first book I have read by this author and I really enjoyed it. I see a large number of people who have read his other titles were a little disappointed in Family Honor... Read more
Published on March 22 2002 by mistymorninbooks
2.0 out of 5 stars Ouch this was bad
I have read all of Parker's Spenser and Jesse Stone novels - I am a big fan. With reluctance I picked up Parker's first Sunny Randel novel. Read more
Published on Dec 12 2001 by K. Drelicharz
3.0 out of 5 stars Parker is a one-note writer
As it turns out, when Parker finally turns away from writing about (and in the voice of) Spenser, and creates a new character... Read more
Published on Nov. 14 2001
4.0 out of 5 stars Feisty female private eye makes for an enjoyable read
I don't normally read airport books but this one caught my eye in LAX among all the other hyped up best-seller production line flotsam. Read more
Published on Aug. 27 2001 by Mr. Stuart Robert Harris
4.0 out of 5 stars Great reading by Andrea Thompson, good story too
As a reader with only a passing knowledge of the Spencer series, I found Family Honor to be a refreshing, fun read. Read more
Published on June 15 2001 by Carol Peterson Hennekens
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