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At the start of Parker's engaging sixth Sunny Randall novel (after Blue Screen), the cop-turned-PI helps her father track down a Boston serial killer whose depredations begin again after a 20-year hiatus. The "spare change" killer executes victims with a single shot to the head, leaving three coins near the body. Sunny's dad, Phil, headed the old task force formed to catch the killer, who wrote Phil taunting letters as the killings piled up. A new killing and a fresh letter to Phil have him and Sunny serving as consultant and assistant respectively to a new task force. Gutsy Sunny takes the lead in identifying the most likely suspect, and then in playing him dangerously to get hard evidence. Parker's signature bantering byplay and some borrowings of characters from other series (notably Susan Silverman from the Spenser novels) will delight fans. The outcome is never in doubt, but Parker hits most of the right notes, and there's still ingenuity to his cat-and-mouse. (June)
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The victims, dispatched with a single shot to the back of the head, are not assaulted or molested in any way and share no defining characteristics. Their bodies are decorated with a few coins. Most troubling to the Boston PD is the time elapsed between the two most recent victims: 20 years. The city was terrorized by the Spare Change killer two decades ago, and Phil Randall headed the task force that came up dry. Now he's been asked to come out of retirement to consult on the new killings. He asks his daughter, private investigator and former cop Sunny Randall, to join him. A suspect emerges, but there is no physical evidence to tie him to the killings, only Sunny's intuition. Meanwhile, Sunny's relationship with her ex-husband--for whom she still carries a torch--is moving to a new plateau as she tries to understand the family dynamics among her father, mother, sister and herself. Parker, also responsible for the classic Spenser mystery series and the Jesse Stone novels, continues to add depth to his characterization of Randall as he explores her often contradictory feelings about love. Parker's ruminations on romance are sometimes--not always--wearisome, but he never fails to entertain with humor and recurring characters whom we welcome back into our lives like old friends. Wes Lukowsky
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