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Sunday, August 7, 2011

Blue Screen (Sunny Randall) by Robert B. Parker

A quick, enjoyable read

Robert B. Parker (1932-2010)
I came across Blue Screen yesterday afternoon and I snapped it up immediately. I think that I have read through the entire Parker collection at this point and I immediately pick the newest one up as soon as I see it (I have been holding back on reading my last two Michener books since there will be no more ever written and once they're done...)

This is really a tale of two stories. One is a mystery and one is a bit of soap opera. The mystery part is pretty good but really comes off as a bit of a hodgepodge of Parker's enthusiasm for baseball, 'Get Shorty' and the Spenser book 'Back Story'.

Witty banter and familiar faces keep the story moving along. I have no idea if this story could stand alone or not. Probably not. If this might be your first foray into Sunny Randall, pick an older one first and than move to this one.

The soap opera is the merging of the worlds of Sunny Randall and Jesse Stone. We could quibble and say that they were already in the same world, but Spenser, Stone and Randall have always interacted with the peripheral characters (Yes, I am saying Susan is a peripheral character) rather than with one another. The coming together of these two characters is interesting and, for once, the psychoanalysis sequences did not bother me too much - they seemed to have a purpose and Sunny actually moved (maybe even leaped) forward.

As has been the case for several books now, the book seems quite hefty when you pick it up. However, open it up and it reminds me of when a college student tries to pad the length of his paper by enlarging the margins and the font size. This book features large print, extra thick paper, lots of space between each line and full one inch margins. Each chapter also starts about 2/3 of the way down the page and there are 61 chapters, so that's a good way to stretch it out an extra 30 pages or so. Not that it makes any difference, but I wonder why they've done this. It weighs in at 306 pages and could have easily have been printed in a 200 page format without straining the eyes. This little one-day read is wider than most textbooks! This has to be more expensive, it adds to shipping costs and makes it harder for the stores to stock multiple copies...which seems counterproductive to me.

I rate this book 5 stars out of 5.

Reviewed on August 5, 2006.

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