- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: GP Putnam And Sons; 1 edition (June 5 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0399154256
- ISBN-13: 978-0399154256
- Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 3 x 23.5 cm
- Shipping Weight: 612 g
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #57,593 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Spare Change Hardcover – Jun 5 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
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)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Top Customer Reviews
The first glaring error that whacks you on the side of the head is when Mr. Parker describes a murder weapon as a "Smith and Wesson 38" -- revolver -- and then has his characters looking for the spent cartridge, which would only be there if the weapon were an automatic. This is a sad and obvious lapse, especially for a writer who has over three decades of experience writing about such things.
There are other similar errors that I won't describe in detail since it could spoil the "plot", though I have to warn you that once you start spotting the careless errors and realize that this is just another gone-through-the-motions pot-boiler for Mr. Parker, the flame of fandom may flicker for you too.
Luckily, Amazon has many thousands of other authors and books to enjoy. My condolences to Robert B. Parker fans, and to all the unlucky people who read this book first.
If you haven't read any of the Sunny Randall books before, you may feel like you've been dropped into an alien universe of psychological perspectives at times. Rather than be puzzled and annoyed by this book, I suggest you go back to the beginning and start with Family Honor.
Mystery fans who like character development will find that aspect of Spare Change nicely balances a pretty standard, and not very productive, police investigation into a serial killer. The two strands of the story nicely intertwine in a number of ways that enhance the reading experience. The book has another appealing feature, Susan Silverman and long-time police characters from the Spenser series have small roles. More than some books in the series, you feel like Sunny lives in the same Boston that Spenser does.
As the book opens, Sunny's romantic life is a mess. Richie has gotten remarried and her relationship with Jesse Stone is over because he can't get over his ex-wife and Sunny can't get over Richie. But things look up when her beloved father, Phil Randall, asks her to help him catch a serial killer who leaves three coins after execution-style killings in public places. Much of Sunny's life has always been focused on pleasing her father and getting his attention, and she feels like she's in a warm limelight.
The killings seem to be connected to a series of earlier murders that followed the same MO that ceased 20 years earlier. Captain Phil Randall had been the lead investigator on those killings, and someone claiming to be the perp sent him regular, taunting notes during the investigation. Now Phil is back as a consultant, and the notes start again.
With few clues, the police find that they have to fall back on mass screening to find suspects. During interrogations of some of these suspects, one stands out as enjoying himself too much. Sunny takes over the interrogation and starts meeting with him in bars. She's convinced this suspect is the one and becomes a one-woman committee to find evidence to prove he's the guilty party. Along the way, she gets a lot of good advice from her father, the police, and even a bit of help from Susan Silverman. The investigation isn't all that interesting, but the mystery of "why" the killings are occurring will keep your attention.
After you finish enjoying the book, I suggest that you think about things in your life that you feel you have to do. What are the lessons you can learn about where you have compulsions to act? In addition, think about what's a good way to love someone. Spare Change will have provided you with much food for thought in both areas.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com
Both women reached the unfaltering opinion that a certain alleged male suspect was indeed the guilty person, and put themselves in positions of being stalked in order to trap the suspect who was also a sex pervert who got his rocks off by imagining sex encounters with these two women.
I gave this book a four star rating because of Mr. Parker’s sharp wit, his short concise narrative and dialogue. If you are already a Parker fan and if you don’t mind reading stories about a female Spenser, then I highly recommend this book. It moves fast and held my interest tight.