Featured Review: ‘Robert B. Parker’s Blood Feud’ by Mike Lupica

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Robert B Parker's Blood FeudAfter years of rumors and speculation, Sunny Randall, Robert B. Parker’s beloved, Boston-based PI, is finally back. 

No matter what, Sunny Randall (who was last seen in Spare Change, 2007) has always loved Richie Burke. And yet, she’s never been able to settle down and commit to their relationship. Well, not since the two divorced years back, which had a lot to do with Richie having serious ties to the Mafia. Still, even now, those ties have a way of coming between the two, especially when his uncle Felix calls Sunny in the middle of the night from Mass General to inform her that Richie had been shot. 

Sunny enters the ER waiting room to find Felix and Desmond Burke, Richie’s father, waiting for her. The two men explain to her that he’s alive, but that someone shot him in the back with zero warning. Thankfully, Richie’s saloon was close to the hospital, which might have saved his life. . . unless the shooter never intended to kill him, a question that Sunny can’t help but wonder. Felix and Desmond are asking that same question, and their instincts eventually prove correct when it’s revealed that the gunman muttered, “Sins of the father,” before putting the trigger.

Sunny believes the words were chosen carefully, meant to be a direct message to the Burke family, which sets up a great line from Felix. “Tell that f–ing f–k to send an email next time.”

Sadly, Sunny’s theory takes shape when Peter, Desmond’s youngest brother, is murdered in the little park set above Chestnut Hill Reservoir across the street from the Boston College football stadium. A student out for an early jog found the body, but something about the scene feels off. Sunny takes note of the secluded location and the fact that no cell phone was found at the scene, all of which she believes indicates that Peter had agreed to the meeting before things went south. Obviously, someone has their sights set on the Burkes, who would rather handle things themselves than have the police–or Sunny–do any digging around the family business. But why? 

As the story unfolds, old characters make cameos, new characters are introduced, and Sunny revisits some of her old stomping grounds (such as Spike’s, formerly known as Spike’s Place) as readers become reacquainted to her universe. As the body count starts to pile up, though, she goes looking for more answers and eventually discovers that an all-out mob war is close to erupting. 

With the vicious blood feud threatening to spill over onto the streets of Boston, where innocent people could wind up in the crosshairs, it’s up to Sunny Randall to put an end to things before it’s too late. 

Stepping into Parker’s enormous shoes, sports writer and Young Adult novelist Mike Lupica follows the footsteps of Reed Farrell Coleman and Ace Atkins–who have successfully resurrected Jesse Stone and Spenser, respectively–to bring back a fan-favorite character. From the opening scene in Spike’s, everything about Lupica’s work feels familiar, and his ability to mimic Parker’s voice is truly remarkable. Between Lupica, Coleman, and Atkins, Mike Lupica Clearly does the best job of staying true to Parker’s style. Everything from sentence structure to word choice, how he sets a scene to how he develops the characters, is spot-on and reads as if it were written by Robert B. Parker himself, something his diehard fans will almost certainly appreciate. Beyond that, the story is deftly plotted and moves fast, leading up to a memorable ending that’ll have fans begging for more. 

Replacing an icon can’t be easy, but you wouldn’t know it by reading Robert B. Parker’s Blood Feud. Mike Lupica mixes a heavy dose of suspense with a shot of nostalgia, effortlessly delivering a relentless thriller that might just be the best book in the series so far. 

Book Details

Author: Mike Lupica
Series: Sunny Randall #7
Pages: 336 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 0525535365
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Release Date: November 27, 2018
Book Spy Rating: 8.5/10

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Praised as “one of today’s finest book reviewers” by New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds, Ryan Steck (“The Godfather of the thriller genre” — Ben Coes) has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.

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