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    Review of BLUE SCREEN by Robert B. Parker


    G. P. Putnam's Sons, June 2006

    Internet millionaire (and ballclub owner) Buddy Bollen hires private detective Sunny Randall to bodyguard his lover, movie actress Erin Flint. Superjock Flint is scheduled to become the first female player in the baseball major leagues and Buddy fears that some angry man will hurt her to stop that from happening. When Flint's body double/personal assistant is found dead, the case turns from protection to murder and Chief of Police Jesse Stone joins with Sunny to attempt to solve the crime.

    Both Sunny and Jesse suffer from bad relationships. Sunny's ex-husband has remarried and she learns that his new wife is pregnant, devastating any hope she had that they could ever recover their relationship. Jesse is still in love with his ex-wife who has been unable to stop sleeping with anyone who can help her in her business. As they investigate the crime, they also investigate the desire that they feel for one another. For Sunny, sex can be fun, but making love has to be something more--so, what, exactly, is it that she's doing with Jesse?

    Author Robert B. Parker (see more reviews of mysteries by Parker) can be counted on for clever banter, screwed up relationships, and hard-boiled male characters. Fans will be pleased to see that Parker continues with these qualities. As both Sunny and Jesse are recurring Parker characters, getting them together adds to the reader's enjoyment--as does the likelyhood that we'll soon see a book from Jesse's point of view with another angle on the relationship. The all-wise Susan Silverman, from the Spenser series helps complete the connection between Parker's multiple series.

    While there's a lot to enjoy in this novel, it is not without its flaws. I found Sunny's casual reaction to her ex-uncle-in-law's murder of a thug disturbing and unsympathetic. Too, I find that all of Parker's characters talk the same. The snappy dialogue that is endearing in a single character grows tired for me when everyone has the same mannerisms.

    BLUE SCREEN is a quick read--big print, lots of leading, lots of white space. Parker's writing still has the power to grab the reader and hook him to the story. It's not Parker at his best, but any Parker is pretty enjoyable.

    Two Stars

    Reviewed 11/22/06

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