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Robert B. Parker's Blood Feud (Sunny Randall) Audio CD – Audiobook, November 27, 2018
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“Lupica, an award-winning sports columnist, author of 40 books, and longtime friend of the late Parker, nails the Sunny Randall character and the Boston criminal milieu that Parker created. The patter is snappy. The criminal honor codes are only understood by the criminals but are dismissed anyway when they interfere with personal enrichment. Even family loyalties come and go. Great stuff, Parker fans. Sunny’s back!”—Booklist (starred review)
“Lupica does justice to the work of MWA Grand Master Robert B. Parker in this splendid continuation of the late author’s Sunny Randall series. . . . Lupica hits the sweet spot by balancing Sunny’s professional hypercompetence with first-person narration that exposes her fears and self-doubts. Parker fans will look forward to seeing what Lupica does with Sunny in her next outing.”—Publisher’s Weekly (starred review)
About the Author
Kate Burton has appeared in such films as August and Life with Mikey. Her theater work includes Broadway appearances in Doonesbury and the revival of Stephen Sondhein's Company. She has previously read Running with the Demon, Crooked Little Heart, and Intensity for Random House AudioBooks.
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He sets the mood pretty close to what Parker would have, and (as far as I can recall) says faithful to the characters.
Is the story predictable? Sure...to a point...but isn't that what we loved about Parker's series? To revisit "old friends" doing what they do in familiar contexts? That's why I read series. Other folks' mileage may vary, but if they went into this book expecting something ground breaking...they were just about guaranteed to be disappointed.
About now, you're likely to be wondering, "Why only two stars?" I'll share that it was very nearly one star.
Here's why: The fairly constant barrage of political commentary is not only distracting, it will end up dating the work. I don't read fiction to find out what the author's political stance is; I am less interested in what that is than he is about mine. If I want that garbage, I'll read the news, or browse on-line editorials...there's plenty of that junk out there, but sure as heck don't expect it...or want it...in a story I am reading for fun and relaxation.
Similarly, the anti-gun drumbeat of this book is distracting and nearly caused me to set the book aside. Again, there's plenty of that junk (both sides of it) in the media and floating around the internet; I am disappointed to find it in a work of fiction that I read for entertainment. The lecture by retired ATF agent Charlie Whitaker that intrudes into the story starting on page 141 is not only distracting and hypocritical, it is completely unnecessary to advance the story. I can only assume this junk is in the book because it lets the author beat his particular agenda-drum, gives him a captive audience to virtue signal and apparently makes him feel good.
That's pathetic, and as I mentioned, nearly had me set the book aside.
I'm ambivalent about the issue, which is why I don't want, or need it shoved in my face when I grab a book to relax, escape and disengage from the daily grind of this tragedy and that agenda. Encountering this type of garbage in a fiction book is just sad. As with the political commentary, if I want that nonsense, and want to have my face shoved into others' opinions. I'll seek it out.
If Lupica wants to beat his drums, he should pollute one of his columns with it. I don't want to read it, and I particularly do not want to read it in a work of fiction I've paid for. If I want a lecture, I can find one about anywhere.
Will I buy another book by this author? Right now, no. That may moderate over time, but I promise that if I buy another and it is polluted with the same nonsense, that will be my last. I will also do my level best to make sure everyone I can influence understands why. Politics and social agendas have no place in this kind of fiction and if Lupica doesn't understand his audience enough to get that...he's swimming in the wrong pool. Robert Parker never wrote this kid of nonsense into his books, and for good reason. Lupica should write that down someplace, memorize it and live by it.
Might be a good book if you like that sort of thing, but I bought what I expected to be a reasonably close approximation of a Robert Parker Sunny Randall novel. This was not even close.
Some writers, who either pick up a series when the original author dies or ghost write a portion of a series, are able to closely match the original/primary author's style. Mr. Lupica doesn't seem to have that skill, or just doesn't care.
Top international reviews
There are a few errors where the new author has forgotten things that have happened in previous books. For example the mention that Sunny's Mum had recently learned to play bridge, when her hosting Bridge parties is well established in books 5 and 6 of the series.
The author has also invented a new love of baseball for Spike, something not mentioned before, and the sporting references occur far more frequently than in previous books, but I guess he is a sports writer, so it should be no surprise.
Other than these small niggles this was a good story and, in answer, to a key question I will be buying the next book in the series when Lupica has finished it.