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Family Honor Paperback – Nov 1 2000
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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.
Top Customer Reviews
Although she is reluctant to seek his aid, Sunny asks Richie to help her locate Millicent, which turns out to be rather easy. Once Millicent is found, Sunny finds herself becoming a parent to Millicent and when two men arrive at Sunny’s apartment, she blows one away with a shotgun while dressed in nothing but a silk robe that flows in awkward and revealing ways. There are many characters in the story, Spike the gay man who dresses like a dandy but is as deadly as a venomous snake. Mobsters and vicious killers are everywhere, and she actively seeks out their assistance, talking with them as an equal. Sunny also makes friends with cops, eventually having intimate relations with one.
While she is female, Sunny shares many characteristics with Spenser; one of Parker’s other great P. I. characters. She is sentimental and emotionally entangled much beyond what her job requires. Spike is very similar to Hawk of the Spenser series, a dear friend who stands by her even in the face of danger and without pay. Nevertheless, the combination of similarities and differences makes it a great story worthy of the Parker tradition of deadly sentimentalists.
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.Read more ›
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.
Most recent customer reviews
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 on July 17 2014 by Kathryn Philipps
Andrea Thompson, the pretty actress who was on NYPD BLUE for a season or two, does a worthwhile read. Read morePublished on June 6 2004 by Robert Cohen
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 morePublished on April 21 2003 by Ricky N.
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 morePublished on March 22 2002 by mistymorninbooks
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. Read morePublished on Feb. 14 2002 by Michael R. Eiger
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 morePublished on Dec 12 2001 by K. Drelicharz
As it turns out, when Parker finally turns away from writing about (and in the voice of) Spenser, and creates a new character... Read morePublished on Nov. 14 2001