Blue Screen, the Sunny Randall novel by Robert B. Parker, is a smoke screen of a mystery. It is not that awful but it may be time for Parker to spend a little bit more time writing and writing one book at a time at that. A Parker fan will certainly recognize a lot of the formulaic stuff from other books in Blue Screen and easily see that dialogue wise the relationship between Jesse Stone and Sunny Randall is not unlike Spenser and Susan Silverman's.
In Blue Screen Sunny Randall is hired by Buddy Bollen, a movie producer who lives in Jesse Stone's Paradise, to protect his main lay, Erin Flint, a B-movie actress. When Erin's sister is murdered, Erin asks Randall to investigate and this brings her in contact with Jesse Stone. The investigation involves the usual Robert B. Parker scene of the detective discussing the case with a local mobster, a close friend, and an intimate friend, shuffling to and back from another big city, discussions on the nature of human nature, and all the other Robert B. Parker stuff.
Parker has always been a popcorn style mystery writer: a nice, familiar, relaxing read. Having read the Spenser mystery Hundred-Dollar Baby the same week, I could not but notice how some lines were repeated verbatim in Blue Screen, "A hard man is good to find" and a line or two on how the bald look does not suit white men. More irritating in Blue Screen is how the dialogue between Stone and Randall at the end of chapter 23 is very similar to their lines at the end of chapter 26: there is formulaic and then there is sweat shop assembly line formulaic. The second scene between Tony Gault and Randall makes little logical sense considering their first scene together. And so on and so on.
Not to play spoiler but the ending of the Sunny Randall novel Blue Screen will more than irritate fans of the series. The ending sucks.
Other Robert B. Parker Reviews
Cold Service - A Spenser Mystery: A little less than a Spenser novel should be.
Double Play: Double Play, a suspense built around the story of baseball great Jackie Robinson
Melancholy Baby - A Sunny Randall Mystery: An entertaining whodunit.
Sea Change - A Jesse Stone Mystery: The fifth Jesse Stone novel and a solid read.
School Days - A Spenser Mystery: One of the better Spenser mystery novels. No Hawk, no Silverman.
Jesse Stone : Death In Paradise DVD: Third Jesse Stone DVD starring Tom Selleck, really really good mystery.
Jesse Stone: Night Passage DVD: First Robert B. Parker Jesse Stone second DVD in the series.
Hundred-Dollar Baby - A Spenser Mystery: A dreadful Spenser mystery. A waste of time and money
Jesse Stone : Sea Change DVD: Good stuff if subdued
High Profile - A Jesse Stone Mystery: Readable? Yes. Believable? Hmmm.
Spare Change - A Sunny Randall Mystery: Sunny Randall and her dad team up to find a serial killer. Not a bad novel.
High Profile - A Jesse Stone Mystery: Banal mystery by writer who puts out too much.
Night and Day - A Jesse Stone Mystery: Good read and toss kind of mystery.
Jesse Stone - No Remorse DVD: Very moody but very good made for TV mystery
Rough Weather - A Spenser Mystery: Decent enough for a later Spenser.
Painted Ladies - A Spenser Novel: 39th Spenser and as ordinary as the last 12 or so
Jesse Stone - Innocents Lost DVD: 2011 TV movie. Good but formulaic
Jesse Stone - Benefit of the Doubt DVD: Eighth in the series and just as good.