32 internautes sur 37 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
- Publié sur Amazon.com
It took five books, but Robert B Parker has finally found a woman's voice and attitude for Sunny that I find realistic. The first books had Sunny saying loudly to anyone who would listen that she was strong and independent - then she would promptly crumble and look for a man to rescue her. With Blue Screen, Sunny really does stand on her own - and ironically it's a story that immediately brings her in contact with Jesse Stone, from Parker's other series. This *could* have spelled disaster for Sunny's ability to stand on her own, but the pair actually work well together, supporting each other instead of Stone treating Sunny as a little girl.
Where the previous Sunny books relied too heavily on cute references to every single character found in Spenser novels, we almost have a clean slate here with Blue Screen. We still run into Susan Silverman and Healy every once in a while, but it's toned down from previous rounds. Sunny is brought in by a millionaire who wants to protect his curvy actress, Erin Flint, from harm. Erin is, of course, in traditional Parker fashion, an uppity, obnoxious feminist who thinks all men are slime. We've seen this character a few times before.
Sunny takes on the job, in short order a friend named Misty is slain, and the chase is on. It turns out of course that EVERYONE is lying, and about really idiotic things, too. Did Erin really think her lies would not be found out? There's a difference between not intelligent and completely senseless. There are a number of things happening during this story which are deliberately for plot reasons - and the plot is pretty transparent.
But when you come down to it, this particular story's not about the mystery, or the plot. It's about the romance. Pretty much all focus is on Sunny and Jesse. How is Jesse dealing with his ex-wife who has cheated on him yet again? How is Sunny dealing with her ex-husband who has moved on in life? How can they carefully hook up with each other, with the emotional wounds still so fresh? Should Sunny shave her legs? Should Jesse risk taking a drink again? It's like watching a courtship dance between porcupines - both are lonely, both are really concerned about being hurt again and about hurting the other. Eventually, of course, they find a way to make it work.
I also love Parker's writing style in general. It's what keeps me coming back for more each time. The way he words things, the dialogues he creates, it is poetry in motion. I still laugh out loud when I read Parker - and there are phrases I remember long after I finish the last page.
Still, I have to wonder just where things are going to go now. I really enjoy the Jesse Stone series, and am also liking the made-for-TV versions that have Tom Selleck playing Jesse. I am hoping they go through and make each book into one, and even perhaps start a whole series based on it. Parker was writing all three series - Spenser, Stone and Sunny - side by side. Does this mean the next book will be a Stone book, continuing the story? Up until now, readers could read just "one line" - say just the Stone line - and not feel TOO lost (despite the continual references to Spenser characters). With the incestuous intertwining that has just happened, readers need to have read BOTH lines (the Jesse and the Sunny lines) to really understand the background of both characters and to get all the references in this book. I suppose it's a way for Parker to ensure that people read every single book he writes, if he's going to have every book refer to every other book he's written.
I suppose since I *do* read every book that Parker writes, I don't mind. But I do feel sorry for people who pick this one up having only read the Sunny series - they'll be quite lost about what Stone is all about. I also would look forward to a refocus on the mystery and plot. Yes, I love the human interplay - but where previous Sunny and Stone books were quite nice in their human nature insights, this one was more laid out as a romance novel. The insight was along the lines of "My ex is married, maybe I really should move on with my life."
As a final note, every time I see the title "Blue Screen" I immediately think "Blue Screen of Death", i.e. the Windows screen you get when it crashes. My friends that I talk to have the same response. I imagine this was intended :)
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Don In Fremont
- Publié sur Amazon.com
Well, it now appears that the merging of the Parker-verse is complete. We've had Spenser and Jesse Stone together on a case, and the previous Sunny Randall experience, Shrink Rap, was in large part about the titular heroine's initiation of therapy with Spenser's girl, Dr. Susan Silverman. So all that's left is for Jesse and Sunny to work together on a case.
Welcome to Blue Screen.
It's very clear from the get-go, even if you don't read the jacket copy, crossing the streams of these two characters is on Parker's mind, as Sunny goes to meet her client in a fashion time-honored since The Big Sleep. That is, meeting the client on his own rather eccentric turf, in this case, Paradise Mass., the home of one Buddy Bollen.
You could call Buddy a Hollywood Sleazeball, but it might offend Hollywood Sleazeballs. He has an ego as large as his brain is small. He has an expansive mansion, decorated as a tribute to his own infantilism. And he has a movie-star-girlfriend who, while being a stunning physical specimen, is possibly the worst actress on the planet, named Erin Green. She is also, apparently, about to break the gender barrier in Major League Baseball, and Buddy feels there are forces in the game are conspiring to prevent that from happening.
Seems Erin needs protection, and insists on a woman to provide it. Hence, Sunny. Erin is prickly with just about everyone. Rude, self-centered and ignorant. And she hates dogs!
Those familiar with the Sunny Randall series know a key character is Rosie, her miniature Spuds McKenzie, which of course sets up endless conflict between Sunny and her new client. And helps us learn to not like Erin, since Parker is quite fond of making Rosie about the cutest dog on the planet.
Parker is on familiar turf here. Many believe Looking For Rachel Wallace is one of the best in the Spenser series. The difficult-client/heroic-PI format is well-used here again by Parker, as a way to let us into the mindset of a person so used to being property she has forgotten how to be a person.
Soon after hiring on to the case, Erin's assistant, Misty, is murdered. Sunny is summoned to the house, and of course, this being Paradise, the local constabulary is on the scene. That would be Jesse Stone, Suitcase Simpson, and Molly Crane.
Cue the romantic sparks!! As Sunny's followers know, she is tortured by the lack of closure with her ex-husband, and prone to what Erica Jong used to call "zipless" carnal frolic. It's part of what drove her to see Susan Silverman, of course.
So, with convenient revelations regarding both Jesse's ex-wife, Jenn, and Sunny's ex, Richie Burke, the way is paved for Jesse and Sunny. Paved in rose petals, actually. We cheer for these two as they find their way down the path readers know, hope and fear they will take.
As their relationship develops, the case at hand almost takes a back seat. It's at least in the passenger seat, but nevertheless interesting, as Sunny and Jesse travel, at various times, to LA to investigate Buddy's history on that coast, while at the same time, Jesse is able to validate his new life by working with his old boss from the LAPD. On her first trip out to the Left Coast, Sunny finds out not only is Erin's history just a bit murky, but her late assistant Misty was actually her sister. I wouldn't tell you this part if the book flap didn't clumsily say so already. Might've made a fun SURPRISE, eh?
So what we have here is a case, wrapped in a romance, and baked with appropriate care by a man who is so skilled at both, it all feels very natural. Parker delivers some major follow up to the last Jesse Stone novel, Sea Change, here, leading to the idea that he wants all three series to be considered as one.
A small, but interesting, through-line continuing here is the insight longtime Parker readers get of Susan Silverman. Seen through only Spenser's eyes for so long, she has become tiresome to many, we see again her professional side, as observed by Sunny, and it sheds new light on a character whose complexities Spenser readers neither saw nor cared about.
Of course, Parker brings in the rest of Sunny's supporting cast as well, primarily Spike, her best-pal restaurateur, who is caged-lion menace when needed, and empathic friend always. He'll never be a staple the way Hawk is, but he's very entertaining.
Parker is a known quantity, of course. And Blue Screen delivers on the levels that we expect, even demand, from a writer this gifted: Clever first-person perception, snappy dialogue, organic action and quality characterization. And, of course, it makes us eager for the next Spenser!