Family Honor (Sunny Randall Series #1)

( 15 )

Overview

Sunny Randall is a Boston P.I. and former cop, a college graduate, an aspiring painter, a divorcee, and the owner of a miniature bull terrier named Rosie. Hired by a wealthy family to locate their teenage daughter, Sunny is tested by the parents' preconceived notion of what a detective should be. With the help of underworld contacts she tracks down the runaway Millicent, who has turned to prostitution, rescues her from a vicious pimp, and finds herself, at thirty-four, the unlikely custodian of a difficult ...
See more details below
Available through our Marketplace sellers.
Other sellers (Audiobook)
  • All (8) from $8.00   
  • New (1) from $0.00   
  • Used (7) from $0.00   
Close
Sort by
Page 1 of 1
Showing 1 – 5 of 7
Note: Marketplace items are not eligible for any BN.com coupons and promotions
$8.00
Seller since 2006

Feedback rating:

(262)

Condition:

New — never opened or used in original packaging.

Like New — packaging may have been opened. A "Like New" item is suitable to give as a gift.

Very Good — may have minor signs of wear on packaging but item works perfectly and has no damage.

Good — item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Acceptable — item is in working order but may show signs of wear such as scratches or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Used — An item that has been opened and may show signs of wear. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Refurbished — A used item that has been renewed or updated and verified to be in proper working condition. Not necessarily completed by the original manufacturer.

Very Good
Los Angeles, California, U.S.A. 1999 Audio Book Audio Very Good Color illustrated boxed set of 2cassettes. 3 hours playing time. Read by Andrea Thompson.

Ships from: Otego, NY

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$9.00
Seller since 2005

Feedback rating:

(104)

Condition: Very Good
1999 Audiobook cassette Abridged. Very good in very good packaging. 2 cassettes. Audience: General/trade.

Ships from: Fort Gratiot, MI

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$24.99
Seller since 2014

Feedback rating:

(40)

Condition: Good
Buy with Confidence. Excellent Customer Support. We ship from multiple US locations. No CD, DVD or Access Code Included.

Ships from: Fort Mill, SC

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Standard, 48 States
$30.89
Seller since 2014

Feedback rating:

(278)

Condition: Good
Possible retired library copy, some have markings or writing.

Ships from: Chatham, NJ

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$37.50
Seller since 2014

Feedback rating:

(278)

Condition: Very Good
Very good.

Ships from: Chatham, NJ

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
Page 1 of 1
Showing 1 – 5 of 7
Close
Sort by
Family Honor

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$9.99
BN.com price
This digital version does not exactly match the physical book displayed here.
Marketplace
BN.com

All Available Formats & Editions

Overview

Sunny Randall is a Boston P.I. and former cop, a college graduate, an aspiring painter, a divorcee, and the owner of a miniature bull terrier named Rosie. Hired by a wealthy family to locate their teenage daughter, Sunny is tested by the parents' preconceived notion of what a detective should be. With the help of underworld contacts she tracks down the runaway Millicent, who has turned to prostitution, rescues her from a vicious pimp, and finds herself, at thirty-four, the unlikely custodian of a difficult teenager when the girl refuses to return to her family.. "But Millicent's problems are rooted in much larger crimes than running away, and Sunny, now playing the role of bodyguard, is caught in a shooting war with some very serious mobsters. She turns for help to her ex-husband, Richie, himself the son of a mob family, and to her dearest friend, Spike, a flamboyant and dangerous gay man. Heading this unlikely alliance, Sunny must solve at least one murder, resolve a criminal conspiracy that reaches to the top of state government, and bring Millicent back into functional young-womanhood.

PI Sunny Randall of Boston searches for a rich man's daughter who ran away to be a prostitute. After finding her Sunny must guard her because the girl is on a hit list. She witnessed a conspiracy involving state government.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
September 1999

break Prepare to Meet Sunny

Remarkably, Family Honor is the third new novel Robert B. Parker has published in the last ten months. Even more remarkably, each of those three books represents an entry in a separate, ongoing series. Hush Money is the 26th novel to feature Spenser, still Parker's most durable and popular character. Trouble in Paradise marks the second appearance of Massachusetts police chief Jesse Stone, and Family Honor is the inaugural volume in a brand-new series featuring a feisty female private investigator named Sonya "Sunny" Randall.

Sunny is an attractive, 35-year-old ex-cop who makes her living as a detective while assiduously pursuing a secondary career as a painter. She lives alone, her only companion an undersized bull terrier named Rosie, and is recently — painfully — divorced from saloon keeper Richie Burke, whose father and uncle are prominent members of the Boston Irish mob and who still owns a very large piece of Sunny's heart.

Sunny is a likable, credible character surrounded by an equally credible cast of supporting players, among them her stolid, quietly supportive father, himself a retired policeman; her pseudo-feminist mother; her closest friend, a slightly neurotic professional therapist named Julie; and a gay, extremely lethal martial arts expert and restaurateur named Spike. Sonya herself represents Parker's first attempt to view the world from a feminine perspective, but she is nonethelessafamiliar, even archetypal, Parker character: a woman who is cut from the same ethical cloth as Spenser and who is determined to live her life according to a highly individual system of values and beliefs. Like Spenser, she loves good food, good sex, books, art, conversation, and friendship. (Unlike Spenser, she doesn't know how to cook, but is trying, belatedly, to learn.)

Like Sunny, the story line of Family Honor is an effective mixture of the old and the new, the fresh and the familiar. As the novel begins, Sunny has just been hired to locate the runaway teenage daughter — a lost, unloved child named Millicent Patton — of an upper-crust Boston family for whom "dysfunctional" would be too mild a term. Sunny quickly locates Millicent and just as quickly liberates her from the enterprising pimp who has taken her under his wing. When Millicent adamantly refuses to return her home, Sunny — who can sense how damaged and deeply frightened Millicent has become — takes the girl in, deliberately refusing to return her to her outraged, unsympathetic parents. In a series of scenes deliberately reminiscent of Early Autumn, one of the earliest, and best, of the Spenser novels, Sunny becomes a de facto parent and takes it upon herself to teach her house guest how to become a functional human being.

In a simultaneous set of developments, Sunny discovers that Millicent is in very real danger, having accidentally eavesdropped on a compromising conversation between her mother and a local thug named Cathal Kragan. Sunny and Millicent go underground in Spike's apartment, and Sunny begins an investigation that leads from the profligate — and well-photographed — sex lives of Millicent's parents to a tawdry series of revelations that threaten both the political aspirations of Millicent's banker father, Brock Patton, and the long-term plans of a high-ranking member of the Mafia's New England branch. By the time Sunny — with the aid of Spike, her ex-husband Richie, and Richie's well-connected relatives — has sorted matters out, her life has changed in a number of ways. By the novel's end, she has killed to defend herself, has put her life and reputation repeatedly at risk, and has been forced to reexamine the most fundamental — and unresolved — relationship of her life: her aborted marriage to Richie Burke.

Outside of Parker's surprising — and surprisingly effective — use of a female protagonist, Family Honor contains nothing that is particularly startling or new. Nevertheless, it works. Parker has always been a clean, concise stylist with an impeccable ear for dialogue and a flawless sense of pace, and this time out, he is at the top of his game. Family Honor is an intelligent, engaging, immensely readable narrative that, once begun, is virtually impossible to set aside. Sunny Randall (who is set to be played by Oscar winner Helen Hunt in the forthcoming film adaptation) is both a vital, sympathetic creation and a perfect vehicle for Parker's characteristic reflections on the importance of living an authentic, fully realized life. She is the heart and soul of one of the best novels Parker has produced in several years, and I look forward to encountering her again.

—Bill Sheehan

Bill Sheehan reviews horror, suspense, and science fiction for Cemetery Dance, The New York Review of Science Fiction, and other publications. He is working on a book-length critical study of the fiction of Peter Straub.

Richard Dyer
You can't call Robert B. Parker's newest private eye a gumshoe because she prefers to wear black ankle boots; or, to accessorize her suit, she will pick out a ''fabulous pair of matching heels.'' Sonya ''Sunny'' Randall - cute, 5 feet 6, blond, 32, and at 115 pounds weighing in at about half of what Spenser does - favors a double-breasted blue pinstripe suit, white shirt open at the throat, and tiny silver hoop earrings along with the ankle boots when she's paying a formal call. Where to carry her Smith & Wesson .38 Special presents a fashion problem; her solution is a speed holster at the small of her back, under her jacket. You might say she looks a little like Helen Hunt, who asked for a series, got Family Honor, and will play Sunny in the movie.

At one point in her debut adventure, Sunny Randall remarks that it would be nice if she weighed 200 pounds and used to be a boxer, and Parker's readers will know she is not speaking theoretically. The form and formula of Family Honorare the ones Parker has honed through 26 Spenser novels and the two leadoff novels of a series featuring recovering alkie Jesse Stone sleuthing around the North Shore. There are good guys and bad guys and troubled characters caught between them. You know there will be excellent food, more dubious pop psychology, familiar Boston locations and traffic patterns, and lubricious conversation between sexual soul mates, not to mention some pretty spicy carryings-on. There will be a code of honor that does not coincide in every particular with the code of law. Sunny will need to be smart and tough, quick on the draw with tongue and gun, and she is. She can hold her own with Spenser in the sexual appetite department, and about her only failing is that she can't cook worth a damn.

Her back story is a bit unusual. Her father's a retired cop and her hapless, hopeless mother whines at her. Her ex-husband is the straight son of a mob boss. She still loves the guy, and he loves her, but they haven't found a way of making it work. In the meantime, a temporary expedient, if that's what you want to call it, comes along in the form of a hunky Boston cop named Brian who, Sunny notices, has ''thick black hair and a cute butt and a wonderful smile.''

Sunny wants to be an artist and is taking painting classes at the Museum School. She's had a show at a gallery on South Street (the Globe's art critic called her ''a primitivist with strong representational impulses''). To support herself, Sunny followed in her father's footsteps, but decided not to stay in uniform; now she's starting her own business.

The case is one Spenser would know how to handle, because he's handled it at least twice before. Millicent Patton - the troubled teenage daughter of politically ambitious, wealthy, and repellent parents - has run away from home and is hooking behind the Hynes Convention Center, like a character in Taming a Seahorse. Once temporarily rescued by Sunny, she must be rehabilitated - a process that parallels the emotional rebirth of Spenser's surrogate son Paul over several novels beginning with Early Afternoon.

Millicent knows too much about what some very bad people are up to, and she is therefore in extreme danger, and so is Sunny. Resourceful as Sunny is, she needs help; fortunately she has it on hand. Spenser has Susan to discuss therapeutic issues with; Sunny can turn to her friend Julia. Spenser has Hawk as buddy and backup, and Sunny has not only Richie, her ex, but Spike, a gay pal who is part owner of a restaurant called Beans & Rice near Quincy Market. Spike can cook, works out wearing his karate black belt, knows all the words to show tunes, and if he ever meets Spenser, will be able to compete not only with body blows but with withering repartee. One would like to know more about Spike's back story, and one day we probably will.

It all works out as you know it will but never exactly how you think it might, which is one enduring source of satisfaction in reading Parker. The bad guys are not just professional crooks but also smug therapists and headmistresses of tony schools. This is another source of satisfaction. ''She was tall and slim and fluty with a prominent nose and the kind of clenched-molar WASP drawl that girls used to acquire at Smith and Mount Holyoke,'' Sunny says of Miss Plum, the headmistress. ''She was wearing one of those hideous print-prairie dresses that are equally attractive on girls, women, and cattle.''

Because Parker is traveling across familiar territory that he mapped out himself, he moves with practiced ease, and the psychologizing seems better integrated than it has on previous occasions. And long before the end of Family Honor, it's clear that he has another winner, and now he can juggle three ongoing series. Actually, to be politically correct, he should launch a fourth, featuring Hawk and Spike, and then, to cap his career, a mega-novel, featuring Spenser, Stone, Sunny, Hawk, and Spike that reveals that one of them has been the supervillain behind everything all along (it would have to be Spenser, because Sunny was only 3 years old when Spenser's first recorded case appeared, in 1971). Naturally, such a book would have to be published posthumously, and no reader of Parker can tolerate the idea that he might predecease the rest of us. Still, one can fancy the idea that Sunny might one day learn to cook, and Spenser may puzzle Susan by showing up wearing a tiny silver hoop earring.
Boston Globe

Ann Prichard
This book delivers plenty of pace and lots of action.
USA Today
Katherine Dillin
An easygoing, easy-to-read Parker is just right for a hot summer afternoon when a Dashiell Hammett can seem a dash dense.
Christian Science Monitor
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
After 33 novels--including more than two dozen Spenser mysteries--backboned by heros concerned with distinctly male codes of behavior, Parker presents his first female protagonist. She's Sunny Randall, and she's a keeper. In some ways, Sunny is a female Spenser. Like him, she's a former cop, now a Boston PI, quick with a pistol and a quip. She teams with an odd sidekick, Spike, as Spenser teams with Hawk, and she has a significant other, an ex-husband to Spenser's Susan. But Sunny is female, and as she explains in this wonderfully involving and moving novel, that means that she can't rely on the compass of "Be a man" to orient toward life. How to live correctly is this novel's theme, as it is in the best Spenser novels, and to explore that theme Parker borrows situations from those novels. Sunny is hired by a powerful family to find their runaway daughter, Millicent, who, it transpires, is hooking and needs rescuing--like the girl in Taming a Sea-Horse. Once saved from the streets, Sunny trains Millicent in responsible adult ways--cooking, exercise--as Spenser trained Paul in Early Autumn. But it's only a minor knock that Parker uses here elements honed in 30 years of writing, for he uses them with consummate skill. Millicent, it happens, witnessed a conspiracy to murder arising from her cold, ambitious parents--her father aims to be governor--and the Italian mobsters who control them. The mobsters now want her dead, and Sunny, too, if need be. Sunny's fight to save Millicent and herself moves through a wide swath of Boston and its denizens, all etched in Parker's lean and exquisitely cadenced prose. The high suspense is equaled by the emotional power of Sunny's bonding with the damaged girl. A bravura performance, this novel launches what promises to be a series for the ages. BOMC main selection; film rights to Helen Hunt. (Sept.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
KLIATT
To quote KLIATT's Jan. 2000 review of the Dove Audio/New Star audiobook edition: Parker introduces a new character in this mystery, whose name is Sunny Randall... Her beloved father is a retired policeman, and she has taken the route of being a private investigator... This case takes her to an estate in the Boston suburbs, called by parents to locate their runaway teenage daughter. Sunny dodges insults from the mother and sexual come-ons from the father to set out on the trail of their obviously miserable daughter. She locates the girl on the streets, and beats up her pimp in the rescue. Sunny takes Millicent home with her, to the loft where she paints and has a private life. Sunny is determined to get at the truth of the mess in the home the girl left behind. As Sunny protects Millicent from killers who are stalking her, she turns to her closest friends for help: her ex-husband, the son of a local crime boss, who provides essential contacts for Sunny; Spike, a homosexual waiter/actor, whose strength and compassion are supports Sunny relies on; and Sunny's girlhood friend, now a wife, mother, and social worker...as well as Sunny's dog, whose personality is as fully developed as the human characters, and who is always endearing, providing comic and emotional relief. This is a particularly good YA selection, especially because of the 15-year-old central to the case. Granted, at the beginning, this is a girl everyone doesn't like very much, but by the end of the story we are all on her side. KLIATT Codes: SA*—Exceptional book, recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 1999, Berkley, 320p, $7.50. Ages 16 to adult. Reviewer: ClaireRosser; January 2001 (Vol. 35 No. 1)
Library Journal
Private investigator Sunny Randall has a full array of family and friends who help her in her new business. Her complex life becomes even more so when she locates the runaway teenager whom she has been hired to find, only to decide that the young girl's home is not a healthy place; so Sunny keeps her while she investigates her clients. Her inquiries reveal some seemingly unrelated murders, and soon she finds herself killing a man to protect young Millicent. Andrea Thompson is easy to listen to; her husky voice is believably one of a self-described "cute" thirty-something blond who can get tough when necessary. Men, too, are portrayed with panache, whether it be a pimp or Sunny's attractive and devoted ex-husband. Most listeners will be drawn into the story immediately. Recommended for popular collections.--Juleigh Muirhead Clark, John D. Rockefeller Jr. Lib., Williamsburg, VA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
Katherine Dillin
An easygoing, easy-to-read Parker is just right for a hot summer afternoon when a Dashiell Hammett can seem a dash dense.
Christian Science Monitor
Kirkus Reviews
What if Spenser were a woman? What if he were still by turns macho and sensitive, well-connected in both Boston's law community (because he was an ex-cop) and in Boston's underworld (because the ex-husband she'd walked out on were a mob scion who ran some legitimate saloons started with dirty money), great with weapons and wisecracks, but deep-down sententious and, yes, wise as ever? Chances are he'd be just as potent a fantasy as a woman, but more convincing than when he was a man—and chances are he'd walk and talk just like Sunny Randall, the painter/private eye politically connected banker Brock Patton and his well-groomed wife Betty call when their daughter Millicent, 15, runs away from home. Finding a runaway who must be turning tricks on Boston's streets to survive is no problem, Sunny soon realizes; the problem is figuring out what to do with a runaway who doesn't want to go home, identifying the people she's afraid of, and protecting her from them when every promising lead she gets about how to keep them away from Sunny turns up dead. Fans of Spenser (Hush Money, p. 108, etc.) will be happy to know that Sunny, who doesn't mind fighting back hard, takes her grievances all the way to the top en route to revelations that make her feel "as if I'd spent my life in a convent and was just emerging." Come to think of it, Sunny's also just like Helen Hunt, who'll be playing her in the movie scheduled for shooting next year. Nice, huh? (Film rights to Helen Hunt, Book-of-the-Month Club main selection; author tour)
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780787123550
  • Publisher: NewStar Media, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/1/1999
  • Series: Sunny Randall Series , #1
  • Format: Cassette
  • Edition description: Abridged, 2 Cassettes
  • Product dimensions: 4.37 (w) x 7.09 (h) x 0.64 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert B. Parker was the author of seventy books, including the legendary Spenser detective series, the novels featuring Police Chief Jesse Stone, and the acclaimed Virgil Cole-Everett Hitch westerns, as well as the Sunny Randall novels. Winner of the Mystery Writers of America Grand Master Award and long considered the undisputed dean of American crime fiction, he died in January 2010.

Robert B. Parker was the author of more than fifty books. He died in January 2010.

Biography

Robert B. Parker began as a student of hard-boiled crime writers such as Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, but when he became a crime writer himself, he was one of the rare contemporary authors to be considered on par with his predecessors. The Spenser series, featuring a Boston-based ex-boxer and ex-cop, is one of the genre's most respected and popular fixtures.

Noted for their sharp dialogue and fine character development, the Spenser books carry on a tradition while updating it, particularly in giving its hero two strong alter egos in Hawk, a black friend and right-hand man; and Susan Silverman, Spenser's psychologist love interest. Parker's inclusion of other races and sexual persuasions (several of his novels feature gay characters, a sensibility strengthened in Parker through his sons, both of whom are gay) give a more modern feel to the cases coming into Spenser's office.

The Spenser series, which began with 1973's The Godwulf Manuscript, has an element of toughness that suits its Boston milieu; but it delves just as often into the complex relationship between Silverman and Spenser, and the interplay between the P.I. and Hawk.

By the late ‘80s, Parker had acquired such a reputation that the agent for Raymond Chandler's estate tapped him to finish the legend's last book, Poodle Springs. It was a thankless mission bound to earn criticism, but Parker carried off the task well, thanks to his gift for to-the-point writing and deft plotting. "Parker isn't, even here, the writer Chandler was, but he's not a sentimentalist, and he darkens and deepens Marlowe," the Atlantic concluded. In 1991, Parker took a second crack at Chandler with the Big Sleep sequel Perchance to Dream.

Parker took other detours from Spenser over the years. In 1999, Family Honor introduced Sunny Randall, a female Boston private eye Parker created with actress Helen Hunt in mind. Two years earlier, he introduced L.A.-to-New England cop transplant Jesse Stone in Night Passage. He also authored four bestselling Westerns featuring Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch, a few young adult books, as well as several stand-alone novels that were well-received by his many fans.

Parker died suddenly in January 2010 while at home at his desk, working on a book. The cause was a heart attack. He was seventy-seven.

Good To Know

Parker's thesis in graduate school was a study of the private eye in literature that centered on Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett and Ross MacDonald. Critics would later put him in the same category as those authors.

Parker's main hero is named for Edmund Spenser, the 16th-century author of The Faerie Queene.

Parker had a hand in writing the scripts for some television adaptations of Spenser books starring Robert Urich, who also played Spenser in the ABC series from 1985-88. Urich suffered a battle with cancer and passed away in 2002, but adaptations continue to be made for A&E, starring Joe Mantegna. Parker approved of the new actor, telling the New York Times: ''I looked at Joe and I saw Spenser."

According to a profile in the New York Times, Parker met his wife Joan when the two were toddlers at a birthday party. The two reconnected as freshmen at Colby College and eventually had two sons. They credit the survival of their marriage to a house split into separate living spaces, so that the two can enjoy more independent lives than your average husband and wife.

Parker told fans in a 1999 Barnes & Noble.com chat that he thought his non-series historical novel All Our Yesterdays was "the best thing I've ever written."

Parker had a small speaking part in the 1997 A&E adaptation of Small Vices. How does he have time to write his Spenser books, plus the other series and the adaptation stuff? "Keep in mind, it takes me four or five months to write a novel, which leaves me a lot of time the rest of the year," he told Book magazine. "I don't like to hang around."

Read More Show Less
    1. Date of Birth:
      September 17, 1932
    2. Place of Birth:
      Springfield, Massachusetts
    1. Date of Death:
      January 18, 2010
    2. Place of Death:
      Cambridge, Massachusetts
    1. Education:
      B.A. in English, Colby College, 1954; M.A., Ph. D. in English, Boston University, 1957, 1971
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt



Chapter One


One of the good things about being a woman in my profession is that there's not many of us, so there's a lot of work available. One of the bad things is figuring out where to carry the gun. When I started as a cop I simply carried the department-issue 9-mm on my gun belt like everyone else. But when I was promoted to detective second grade and was working plainclothes, my problems began. The guys wore their guns on their belts under a jacket, or they hung their shirt out over it. I didn't own a belt that would support the weight of a handgun. Some of them wore a small piece in an ankle holster. But I am 5'6" and 115 pounds, and wearing anything bigger than an ankle bracelet makes me walk as though I were injured. I also like to wear skirts sometimes and skirt-with-ankle-holster is just not a good look, however carefully coordinated. A shoulder holster is uncomfortable, and looks terrible under clothes. Carrying the thing in my purse meant that it would take me fifteen minutes to find it, and unless I was facing a really slow assailant, I would need to get it out quicker than that. My sister Elizabeth suggested that I had plenty of room to carry the gun in my bra. I have never much liked Elizabeth.

    At the gun store, the clerk wanted to show me a LadySmith. I declined on principle, and bought a Smith & Wesson .38 Special with a two-inch barrel. With a barrel that short you could probably miss a hippopotamus at thirty feet. But any serious shooting I knew anything about took place at a range of about three feet, and at that range the two-inch barrel was fine. I wore my .38 Special on awider-than-usual leather belt in a speed holster at the small of my back under a jacket.

    Which is the way I was wearing it on an early morning at the beginning of September as I drove through a light rain up a winding half-mile driveway in South Natick, dressed to the teeth in a blue pant suit, a white silk tee shirt, a simple gold chain, and a fabulous pair of matching heels. I was calling on a lot of money. The driveway seemed to be made of crushed seashells. There were bright green trees along each side, made even greener by the rain. Flowering shrubs bloomed in serendipitous places among the trees. The whole landscape, refracted slightly by the rain, made me think of Monet. At the last curve in the driveway the trees gave onto a rolling sweep of green lawn, upon which a white house sat like a great gem on a jeweler's pad. The vast front was columned, and the Palladian windows seemed two stories high. The drive widened into a circle in front of the house, and then continued around back where, no doubt, unsightly necessities like the garage were hidden.

    As soon as I parked the car a black man wearing a white coat came out of the house and opened the door for me. I handed him one of my business cards.

    "Ms. Randall," I said. "For Mr. Patton."

    "Yes, ma'am," the black man said. "Mr. Patton is expecting you."

    He preceded me to the door and opened it for me. A goodlooking black woman in a little French maid's outfit waited in the absolutely massive front hallway.

    "Ms. Randall," the man said and handed the maid my card.

    She took it without looking at it and said, "This way, please, Ms. Randall."

    The foyer was very air-conditioned, even though the rainy September day was not very hot. The maid walked briskly ahead of me, her heels ringing on the stone floor. If her shoes were as uncomfortable as mine, she was as stoic about it as I was. My heels rang on the stone floor, too. The foyer was decorated with some expensively framed landscape paintings, which were hideous, but probably made up for it by costing a lot. Through the French doors at the far end of the foyer I could see a croquet lawn and, beyond that, a more conventional lawn that sloped down to the river at the far bottom.

    The maid opened a door near the end of the foyer and stood aside. I stepped in. The air-conditioning was even more forceful than it had been in the foyer. The room was a man's study, and it absolutely howled of decorator. Bookshelves were filled with leather-bound books artfully arranged. The walls were done in a dark burgundy. The drapes matched the walls but with a golden triangular pattern in them. There was a fireplace that I could have stood upright in on the wall opposite. There was a fire in it. The ceiling was far above my head. There was a massive reddish wooden desk along the left wall of the room with Palladian windows opening behind it. The deep colorful rugs had been woven somewhere in the far east. A huge globe of the world was on its own dark wooden stand near the fireplace. It was lit from within. Above the fireplace was a formal portrait of a good-looking woman with smooth blond hair and the contemptuous smile of a well-fed house cat.

    The maid marched across the rug and put my card on the desk and announced, "Ms. Randall."

    The man behind the desk said, "Thank you, Billie," and the maid turned and marched out past me and closed the door. The man looked at my card for a little while without picking it up, and then he looked up at me and smiled. It was an effective smile and I could tell that he knew it. The little crinkles at his eyes made him look kind though wise, and the parentheses around his mouth gave him a look of firm resolve.

    "Sunny Randall," he said, almost as if he were speaking to himself. Then he rose and came around the desk. He was athletic-looking, taller than my ex-husband, with blue eyes and a healthy outdoor look about him. He put his hand out as he walked across the carpet.

    "Brock Patton," he said.

    "How very nice to meet you," I said.

    He stood quite close to me as we shook hands, which allowed him to tower over me. I didn't step back.

    "Where did you get a name like Sunny Randall?" he said.

    "From my father," I said. "He was a great football fan and I guess there was some football person with that name."

    "You guess? You don't know?"

    "I hate football."

    He laughed as if I had said something precocious for a little girl. "Well, by God, Sunny Randall, you may just do."

    "That's often the case, Mr. Patton."

    "Ill bet it is."

    Patton went around his desk and sat. I took a seat in front of the desk and crossed my legs and admired my shoes for a moment. Of course they were uncomfortable; they looked great. Patton appeared to admire them, too.

    "Well," he said after a time.

    I smiled.

    "Well," he said again. "I guess there's nothing to do but plunge right in."

    I nodded.

    "My daughter has run off," he said.

    I nodded again.

    "She's fifteen," he said.

    Nod.

    "My wife and I thought somehow a woman might be the best choice to look for her."

    "You're sure she's run away?" I said.

    "Yes."

    "She ever do this before?"

    "Yes."

    "Where did she run to before?"

    "She didn't get far. Police picked her up hitchhiking with three other kids ... boys. We were able to keep it out of the papers."

    "Why does she run away?" I said.

    Patton shook his head slowly, and bit his lower lip for a moment. Both movements seemed practiced.

    "Teenaged girls," he said.

    "I was a teenaged girl," I said.

    "And I'll bet a cute one, Sunny."

    "Indescribably," I said, "but I didn't run away."

    "Well, of course, not all teenagers ..."

    "Things all right here?" I said.

    "Here?"

    "Yes. This is what she ran away from."

    "Oh, well, I suppose ... everything is fine here."

    I nodded. To my right the fireplace crackled and danced. No heat radiated from it. The air-conditioned room remained cold. The windows fogged with condensation in which the rain streaked little patterns.

    "So why did she run away?"

    "Really, Sunny," Patton said. "I am trying to decide whether to hire you to find her."

    "And I'm trying to decide, Brock, if you do offer me the job, whether I wish to take it."

    "Awfully feisty," Patton said, "for someone so attractive."

    I decided not to blush prettily. He stood suddenly.

    "Do you have a gun, Sunny?"

    "Yes."

    "With you?"

    "Yes."

    "Can you shoot it?"

    "Yes."

    "I'm something of a shooter myself," Patton said. "I'd like to see you shoot. Do you mind walking outside in the rain with me?"

    Other than the fact that my hair would get wet and turn into limp corn silk? But there was something interesting happening here. I wasn't sure what it was, but I didn't want to miss it.

    "I don't mind," I said.

    He took an umbrella from a stand beside the French doors behind his desk. He opened the doors and we went out into the rain. He held the umbrella so that I had to put my arm through his to stay under cover. We walked across the soft wet grass, my heels sinking in uncomfortably. Maybe there should be a new rule about wearing heels when I was working. Maybe the new rule would be, never. On the far side of the croquet lawn, and shielded from it by a grove of trees, was an open shed with a sort of counter across one side and a wood-shingled roof. We went to the shed and under the roof. Patton closed the umbrella. He took a key from his pocket and opened a cabinet under the counter and took out something that looked like a small clay frisbee.

    "What have you for a weapon," Patton said.

    I took out my .38 Special.

    "Well, very quick," he said. "Think you could hit anything with that?"

    There was a test going on, and I didn't know quite what was being tested.

    "Probably," I said.

    He smiled down at me.

    "I doubt that you can hit much with that thing," he said.

    "What is your plan?" I said.

    "I'll toss this in the air, and you put a bullet through it."

    If I did that using a handgun with a two-inch barrel it would be by accident. He knew it.

    "I'll toss it up here," he said, "it's safe to fire toward the river."

    He looked at me and raised his eyebrows. I nodded. He smiled as if to himself and stepped out of the shed and tossed the disk maybe thirty feet straight up into the air. I didn't move. The disk hit its zenith and came down and landed softly on the wet grass about eight feet beyond the shed. And lay on its side. I walked out of the shed, and over to the disk, and standing directly above it, I put a bullet through the middle of it from a distance of about eighteen inches. The disk shattered. Patton stared at me.

    "I don't need to be able to shoot something falling through the air thirty feet away," I said. "This gun is quite effective at this range, Brock, which is about the only range I'll ever need it for."

    I put the gun away. Patton nodded and stared at the disk fragments for a moment or two; then he picked up the umbrella and opened it and handed it to me.

    "Come back in," he said. "I'd like you to meet my wife."

    Then he walked away bareheaded in the nice rain. I followed him, alone under the umbrella.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Read More Show Less

Introduction

Their last months together had been gothic. Both of them had avoided being home, and the house in Marblehead with the water view had stood, more empty than occupied, both emblem and relic of their marriage. They had been much younger than their neighbors when they'd moved in, freshly married, twenty-three years old, the house purchased for cash with money from her in-laws. They had drunk wine in the living room and looked straight out over the Atlantic and held hands and made love in front of the fireplace, and thought about forever. Nine years is a little short of forever, she thought. She had refused alimony. Richie had refused the house.

Now she was carefully bubble-wrapping her paintings and leaning them carefully against the wall where the movers could pick them up when they came. Each painting had a fragile sticker on it. Her paints and brushes were boxed and taped and stood beside the paintings. The house was silent. The sound of the ocean only made it seem more silent. The sun was streaming in through the east windows. Tiny dust motes glinted in it. The sun off the water made a kind of backlighting, diffusing the sunlight, and filling in where there would have been shadows. Her dog sat on her tail watching the packing, looking a little nervous.

Or was that projection?

When she had married Richie, her mother had said, "Marriage is a trap. It stifles the potential of womanhood. You know what they say, a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle. "Sunny had said, "I don't think they say that too much anymore, Mother. "But her mother, the queen of doesn't-get-it, paid no attention. "A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle, "she had said.

When Sunny had announced nine years later that she and Richie were divorcing, her mother had said, "I'm very disappointed. Marriage is too hard to be left to men. It is your job to make it work. "That was her mother. She could disapprove of the marriage and disapprove of the divorce that ended it. Her father had been simpler about both. "You should do what you want," he had said of her marriage and of her divorce and of everything else in her life. "You need help, I'll help you."

Her parents were so strangely unsuitable for each other. Her mother was a vocal feminist who had married a policeman at the end of her junior year in college. Her mother had never held a paying job, and had never, as far as her daughter could tell, ever written a check, or changed a tire. Her husband had taken care of her as he had taken care of his two daughters, completely and without comment, which probably gave her the time to be a feminist. He was straight ahead and calm. He said little. What he did say, he meant. He rarely talked about his job. But he would often come home and eat supper in his shirtsleeves with his gun still on his belt. Her mother would always remind him to take it off. The gun seemed to Sunny the visible symbol of him, of his power, as her therapist had pointed out during her attempt to save the marriage, of his potency. If that were true Sunny had often wondered what it meant that her mother wouldn't let him wear it to table. But it was never clear what her mother meant. It was clear what she wanted to mean. Her mother was verbal, combative, theoretical, filled with passion over every new idea, and, Sunny smiled to herself, sad to say, most ideas were pretty new to her mother. Her mother wanted to be a new woman, abreast of every trend, in touch with the range of experience from supermodels to theoretical physics. But she never penetrated any of the ideas she embraced very deeply. Probably, Sunny thought, because she was so desperately shouting, "See me, look at me." If her father noticed any of his wife's contradictions, he didn't comment. He appeared to love her thoroughly. And whether she loved him, or simply needed him completely, Sunny's mother seemed as committed to him as he was to her. They had been married for thirty-seven years. It was probably what Sunny had had in mind when she and Richie had talked about "forever."

Christ, didn't we fight over Daddy, Sunny thought, all three of us.

She leaned the last painting against the living room wall. She leaned the folded easel against the wall beside them. The furniture was gone. The rugs were up. The red oak floor gleamed. Without anything in the empty rooms to buffer sound, the dog's claws rattled loudly as she trotted behind Sunny.

Sunny's sister was four years older than she was. God, she must have hated me when I was born, Sunny thought. It doubled the competition for Daddy. To win him, they had devised different methods as they had grown up. Her mother, impregnably married to him, persisted serenely in her noisy self-contradictions. Elizabeth, apparently convinced that nothing succeeded like success, tried to be like her. By default Sunny was left to emulate her father. Their mother dressed them both in pinafores and Mary Janes. Their father had built them a large dollhouse, and Elizabeth, with her long curls, had spent hours with it, manipulating her dollies. Sunny had worn her pinafores to the pistol range with Daddy, and while she was too female to be butch, she reveled in the androgyny of her nickname. And she learned to shoot. If one approach worked better than another, it was never evident. Her father persisted in loving his daughters as unyieldingly as he loved their mother. There was something frustrating in it. What you did didn't matter, he loved you whatever you did.

In the echoing kitchen, there were only the plates and glasses to pack. Sunny took them down, one at a time, and wrapped them in newspaper and put them in the cartons. The movers would have done it, but she wanted to do it herself. Somehow it seemed the right transition from one life to another. She was hungry. In the refrigerator, there was a half-empty jug of white wine, some Syrian bread, and a jar of all-natural peanut butter. She had some bread and peanut butter, and poured herself a glass of jug wine. Beyond the window over the sink she could see the rust-colored rocks stoically accepting the waves that broke in upon them and foamed and slid away. The dog pushed at Sunny's ankle with her nose. Sunny gave her some bread. Way out along the horizon a fishing boat moved silently. The dog ate her bread and went to her water dish and drank noisily for a long time. Sunny poured another glass of wine.

She had become a cop, the year before her marriage. Two years after her father was promoted to Area D commander. Her mother had asked if she were a lesbian. Sunny had said no. Her mother had seemed both relieved and disappointed. Disappointed, Sunny thought, that she couldn't martyr herself to her daughter's preference for women. Relieved that she didn't have to. Her mother had said, what about painting? Sunny had said she could do both. What about marriage and children? Sunny wasn't ready. The clock is ticking. Mother, I'm twenty-two. She remembered wondering if women needed children like fish needed bicycles, but she kept it to herself. The fishing boat had moved maybe an inch across the horizon. She took her wine and went and sat on the floor beside the dog with her knees up and gazed out through the French doors while she drank.

Richie was like her father; she'd known that even before she went to the therapist. He didn't say much. He was inward and calm and somehow a little frightening. And like her father, he was very much straight ahead, going about his business, doing what he did, without paying much attention to what other people thought or did about it. It was what he did that was one of the issues. He worked in the family business, and the family business was crime. He didn't do crime. She believed that when he told her. He ran some saloons that the family owned. But . . . she poured some more wine from the jug into her glass.

There was a sort of ravine behind the house that ran down to the ocean, and the waves as they rolled into it sent up a harsh spray. Sitting on the floor she could see only the spray, disembodied from the ocean, appearing rhythmically above the slipping lawn. . . . It wasn't really that he was from a crime family any more than it was that she was from a cop family. It had to do with much tougher stuff than that and she'd learned early in their separation not to pretend that it was just cops versus robbers. A gull with a white chest and gray wings settled down past her line of vision and disappeared into the ravine and came back up with something in its mouth and flew away. Richie loved her, she knew he did. The fact that her father had spent a lifetime trying to jail his father didn't help, but that wasn't what felt so sharp and sore in her soul.

Richie was so closed, so interior, so certain of how things were supposed to go, so too much like her father that she felt as if she was dwindling every year they were together, smaller and smaller.

"Dwindle," she said aloud.

The dog turned her head and cocked it slightly and pricked her big ears a little forward. Sunny drank some wine.

"Dwindle, dwindle, dwindle."

Her friend Julie had said once to her that she was too stubborn to dwindle. That her self was so unquenchable, her autonomy needs so sharp, that no one could finally break her to a marriage. Julie was a therapist herself, though not by any means Sunny's, and maybe she knew something. Whatever had happened they had been forced to admit it didn't work, after a nine-year struggle. Sitting across from one another in the restaurant of a suburban hotel, they had begun the dissolution.

"What do you want?" Richie had said.

"Nothing."

Richie had smiled a little bit.

"Hell," he'd said. "I'll give you twice that."

She had smiled an even smaller smile than Richie's.

"I can't strike out on my own at your expense," she had said.

"What about the dog?

She had been silent, trying to assess what she could stand.

"I want the dog," she had said. "You can visit."

He had smiled the small smile again.

"Okay," he had said. "But she's not used to squalor. You keep the house."

"I can't live in the house."

"Sell it. Buy one you can live in."

Sunny had been quiet for a long time, she remembered, wanting to put out her hand to Richie, wanting to say, I don't mean it, let's go home. Knowing she could not.

"This is awful," she said finally.

"Yes."

And it was done.

Out through the French doors the fishing boat had finally inched out of sight and the horizon was empty. Sunny pulled the dog onto her lap. And sang to her.

"Two drifters, off to see the world/ There's such a lot of world to see."

She couldn't remember the words right. Maybe it was two dreamers. Too much wine. The dog lapped the back of Sunny's hand industriously, her tail thumping. Sunny sipped a little more of her wine. Got to go slow here. She sang again to the dog.

She wanted to be alone, now she was alone. And she didn't want to be alone.

Of course, she wasn't really alone exactly. She had a husband -ex-husband- she could call on. She had friends. She had parents, even her revolting sister. But whatever this thing was, this as yet unarticulated need that clenched her soul like some sort of psychic cramp, required her to put aside the people who would compromise her aloneness. You lose, you lose; you win, you lose.

"You and me," she said to the dog. "You and me against the world." She hugged the dog against her chest, the dog wriggling to lap at her ear. Sunny's eyes blurred a little with tears. She rocked the dog gently, sitting on the floor with the jug of wine beside her and her feet outstretched.

"Probably enough wine," she said out loud, and continued to rock.
Chapter 1

One of the good things about being a woman in my profession is that there's not many of us, so there's a lot of work available. One of the bad things is figuring out where to carry the gun. When I started as a cop I simply carried the department-issue 9-mm on my gun belt like everyone else. But when I was promoted to detective second grade and was working plainclothes, my problems began. The guys wore their guns on their belts under a jacket, or they hung their shirt out over it. I didn't own a belt that would support the weight of a handgun. Some of them wore a small piece in an ankle holster. But I am 5'6" and 115 pounds, and wearing anything bigger than an ankle bracelet makes me walk as though I were injured. I also like to wear skirts sometimes and skirt-with-ankle-holster is just not a good look, however carefully coordinated. A shoulder holster is uncomfortable, and looks terrible under clothes. Carrying the thing in my purse meant that it would take me fifteen minutes to find it, and unless I was facing a really slow assailant, I would need to get it out quicker than that. My sister Elizabeth suggested that I had plenty of room to carry the gun in my bra. I have never much liked Elizabeth.

At the gun store, the clerk wanted to show me a LadySmith. I declined on principle, and bought a Smith & Wesson .38 Special with a two-inch barrel. With a barrel that short you could probably miss a hippopotamus at thirty feet. But any serious shooting I knew anything about took place at a range of about three feet, and at that range the two-inch barrel was fine. I wore my .38 Special on a wider-than-usual leather belt in a speed holster at the small of my back under a jacket.

Which is the way I was wearing it on an early morning at the beginning of September as I drove through a light rain up a winding half-mile driveway in South Natick, dressed to the teeth in a blue pant suit, a white silk tee shirt, a simple gold chain, and a fabulous pair of matching heels. I was calling on a lot of money. The driveway seemed to be made of crushed seashells. There were bright green trees along each side, made even greener by the rain. Flowering shrubs bloomed in serendipitous places among the trees. The whole landscape, refracted slightly by the rain, made me think of Monet. At the last curve in the driveway the trees gave onto a rolling sweep of green lawn, upon which a white house sat like a great gem on a jeweler's pad. The vast front was columned, and the Palladian windows seemed two stories high. The drive widened into a circle in front of the house, and then continued around back where, no doubt, unsightly necessities like the garage were hidden.

As soon as I parked the car a black man wearing a white coat came out of the house and opened the door for me. I handed him one of my business cards.

"Ms. Randall," I said. "For Mr. Patton."

"Yes, ma'am," the black man said. "Mr. Patton is expecting you."

He preceded me to the door and opened it for me. A good-looking black woman in a little French maid's outfit waited in the absolutely massive front hallway.

"Ms. Randall," the man said and handed the maid my card.

She took it without looking at it and said, "This way, please, Ms. Randall."

The foyer was very air-conditioned, even though the rainy September day was not very hot. The maid walked briskly ahead of me, her heels ringing on the stone floor. If her shoes were as uncomfortable as mine, she was as stoic about it as I was. My heels rang on the stone floor, too. The foyer was decorated with some expensively framed landscape paintings, which were hideous, but probably made up for it by costing a lot. Through the French doors at the far end of the foyer I could see a croquet lawn and, beyond that, a more conventional lawn that sloped down to the river at the far bottom.

The maid opened a door near the end of the foyer and stood aside. I stepped in. The air-conditioning was even more forceful than it had been in the foyer. The room was a man's study, and it absolutely howled of decorator. Bookshelves were filled with leather-bound books artfully arranged. The walls were done in a dark burgundy. The drapes matched the walls but with a golden triangular pattern in them. There was a fireplace that I could have stood upright in on the wall opposite. There was a fire in it. The ceiling was far above my head. There was a massive reddish wooden desk along the left wall of the room with Palladian windows opening behind it. The deep colorful rugs had been woven somewhere in the far east. A huge globe of the world was on its own dark wooden stand near the fireplace. It was lit from within. Above the fireplace was a formal portrait of a good-looking woman with smooth blond hair and the contemptuous smile of a well-fed house cat.

The maid marched across the rug and put my card on the desk and announced, "Ms. Randall."

The man behind the desk said, "Thank you, Billie," and the maid turned and marched out past me and closed the door. The man looked at my card for a little while without picking it up, and then he looked up at me and smiled. It was an effective smile and I could tell that he knew it. The little crinkles at his eyes made him look kind though wise, and the parentheses around his mouth gave him a look of firm resolve.

"Sunny Randall," he said, almost as if he were speaking to himself. Then he rose and came around the desk. He was athletic-looking, taller than my ex-husband, with blue eyes and a healthy outdoor look about him. He put his hand out as he walked across the carpet.

"Brock Patton," he said.

"How very nice to meet you," I said.

He stood quite close to me as we shook hands, which allowed him to tower over me. I didn't step back.

"Where did you get a name like Sunny Randall?" he said.

"From my father," I said. "He was a great football fan and I guess there was some football person with that name."

"You guess? You don't know?

"I hate football."

He laughed as if I had said something precocious for a little girl. "Well, by God, Sunny Randall, you may just do."

"That's often the case, Mr. Patton."

"I'll bet it is."

Patton went around his desk and sat. I took a seat in front of the desk and crossed my legs and admired my shoes for a moment. Of course they were uncomfortable; they looked great. Patton appeared to admire them, too.

"Well,"he said after a time.

I smiled.

"Well,"he said again. "I guess there's nothing to do but plunge right in."

I nodded.

"My daughter has run off," he said.

I nodded again.

"She's fifteen," he said.

Nod.

"My wife and I thought somehow a woman might be the best choice to look for her."

"You're sure she's run away?" I said.

"Yes."

"She ever do this before?

"Yes."

"Where did she run to before?

"She didn't get far. Police picked her up hitchhiking with three other kids . . . boys. We were able to keep it out of the papers."

"Why does she run away?" I said.

Patton shook his head slowly, and bit his lower lip for a moment. Both movements seemed practiced.

"Teenaged girls," he said.

"I was a teenaged girl," I said.

"And I'll bet a cute one, Sunny."

"Indescribably,"I said, "but I didn't run away."

"Well, of course, not all teenagers . . ."

"Things all right here?" I said.

"Here?

"Yes. This is what she ran away from."

"Oh, well, I suppose . . . everything is fine here."

I nodded. To my right the fireplace crackled and danced. No heat radiated from it. The air-conditioned room remained cold. The windows fogged with condensation in which the rain streaked little patterns.

"So why did she run away?

"Really, Sunny," Patton said. "I am trying to decide whether to hire you to find her."

"And I'm trying to decide, Brock, if you do offer me the job, whether I wish to take it."

"Awfully feisty," Patton said, "for someone so attractive."

I decided not to blush prettily. He stood suddenly.

"Do you have a gun, Sunny?

"Yes."

"With you?

"Yes."

"Can you shoot it?

"Yes."

"I'm something of a shooter myself," Patton said. "I'd like to see you shoot.

Do you mind walking outside in the rain with me?

Other than the fact that my hair would get wet and turn into limp corn silk?

But there was something interesting happening here. I wasn't sure what it was, but I didn't want to miss it.

"I don't mind," I said.

He took an umbrella from a stand beside the French doors behind his desk. He opened the doors and we went out into the rain. He held the umbrella so that I had to put my arm through his to stay under cover. We walked across the soft wet grass, my heels sinking in uncomfortably. Maybe there should be a new rule about wearing heels when I was working. Maybe the new rule would be, never. On the far side of the croquet lawn, and shielded from it by a grove of trees, was an open shed with a sort of counter across one side and a wood-shingled roof. We went to the shed and under the roof. Patton closed the umbrella. He took a key from his pocket and opened a cabinet under the counter and took out something that looked like a small clay frisbee.

"What have you for a weapon," Patton said.

I took out my .38 Special.

"Well, very quick," he said. "Think you could hit anything with that?

There was a test going on, and I didn't know quite what was being tested.

"Probably,"I said.

He smiled down at me.

"I doubt that you can hit much with that thing," he said.

"What is your plan?" I said.

"I'll toss this in the air, and you put a bullet through it."

If I did that using a handgun with a two-inch barrel it would be by accident.

He knew it.

"I'll toss it up here," he said, "it's safe to fire toward the river."

He looked at me and raised his eyebrows. I nodded. He smiled as if to himself and stepped out of the shed and tossed the disk maybe thirty feet straight up into the air. I didn't move. The disk hit its zenith and came down and landed softly on the wet grass about eight feet beyond the shed. And lay on its side. I walked out of the shed, and over to the disk, and standing directly above it, I put a bullet through the middle of it from a distance of about eighteen inches.

The disk shattered. Patton stared at me.

"I don't need to be able to shoot something falling through the air thirty feet away," I said. "This gun is quite effective at this range, Brock, which is about the only range I'll ever need it for."

I put the gun away. Patton nodded and stared at the disk fragments for a moment or two; then he picked up the umbrella and opened it and handed it to me.

"Come back in," he said. "I'd like you to meet my wife."

Then he walked away bareheaded in the nice rain. I followed him, alone under the umbrella.

From Family Honor by Robert B. Parker. © September 6th, 1999 , Robert B. Parker used by permission.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 15 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(7)

4 Star

(6)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 15 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2000

    Didn't I read this before?

    I expected something new and different from one of my favorite authors. What I read however, was a re-work of a Spencer Novel. Sunny Randall is a former cop turned P.I. She is tough and a smart a##. She has trouble with authority. She has a mysterious friend/ protector named Spike. Okay there is a difference Spike is a white homosexual and Hawk is an African American non homosexual. In the book Sunny tries to rescue a child; to save her from her messed up parents, ruthless hit men, prostitution.... This is all interesting reading; but to a fan of the Spenser books I am very disappointed to be reading Spenser type material with a female character. I thought the character deserved a better story. I know I deserved a better story

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2003

    Excellent

    This is the first Robert B. Parker that I've read. I enjoyed it very much. It starts out being just about a runaway then quickly turns into something else. I loved it. Can't wait to read the next Sunny Randall book

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2000

    wonderful

    This is the best book I have ever listened to.I pulled it off the shelf not knowing anything about the author and could not stop listening until the book was finished.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 1999

    NOT a feminine Spenser

    This story will be familiar to Spenser fans (take a teenager in trouble, help them grow up, etc.), but it's not a rehash. I was expecting a female Spenser, but that's not the case. Sure she knows how to deliver the perfect 'smart a--' line, but she seems more grounded in the real world. And her personal relationships are considerably more straightforward, even the one with her ex. Sure there are some issues to resolve but nothing like Spenser encounters. On the whole I really liked it and I'm looking forward to the next one. Kathy

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 10, 2010

    True Parker

    I enjoyed this book as I have all of Robert Parker's books I have read. I am sorry for his passing, but I am grateful to have experienced his books. He was a terrific writer/author and I am delighted that I still have all of the Spencer series to read. He will be greatly missed by his fans and family.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 15 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)