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Spare Change (Sunny Randall Series #6)

Spare Change (Sunny Randall Series #6)

3.5 28
by Robert B. Parker

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Boston P.I. Sunny Randall joins forces with the most important man in her life—her father—to crack a thirty-year-old case.

When a serial murderer dubbed “The Spare Change Killer” by the Boston press surfaces after three decades in hiding, the police immediately seek out the cop, now retired, who headed the original task force:


Boston P.I. Sunny Randall joins forces with the most important man in her life—her father—to crack a thirty-year-old case.

When a serial murderer dubbed “The Spare Change Killer” by the Boston press surfaces after three decades in hiding, the police immediately seek out the cop, now retired, who headed the original task force: Phil Randall. As a sharp-eyed investigator and a doting parent (“You’re smart. You’re tough . . . You, too, are a paradigm of law enforcement- perfection, and you’re my kid”), Phil calls on his daughter Sunny to help trap the criminal who eluded him so many years before.

After interviewing just a handful of suspects, Sunny is certain that she’s found her man. Though she has no evidence against Bob Johnson, she trusts her intuition. And she knows the power she has over him—she can feel the skittishness and sexual tension that he radiates when he’s around her—but convincing her father and the rest of the task force is a different story.

When the killer strikes a second time and a third, the murders take a macabre turn, as, eerily, the victims each resemble Sunny. While her father pressures her to drop the case, her need to create a trap to catch her killer grows.

In a compelling game of cat-and-mouse, Sunny Randall uses all her skills to draw out her prey, realizing too late that she’s setting herself up to become the next victim.

Editorial Reviews

"Hi Phil: You miss me? I got bored, so I thought I'd re-establish our relationship. Give us both something to do in our later years. Stay tuned. Spare Change." The playful letter received by retired cop Phil Randall was not from an old buddy or a long-lost college flame. It's from a serial killer who leaves three coins as a signature next to each corpse. For 20 years, Spare Change had been retired, but now he's back, and Randall hopes desperately that he and his daughter Sunny can stop a second reign of terror.
Publishers Weekly

Not all of Sunny Randall's cases have been personal, but this one, her sixth, raises the average. Her on-again, off-again romance with her ex-husband is on again in a big way. And she's working an investigation with her father, Phil, an ec-cop lured from retirement by a slayer using the same modus operandi (coins left on beautiful female corpses) as the serial killer he hunted 30 years before. Parker's snappy dialogue keeps the story moving along. Burton is too smart to let Sunny slip into girliness when she's chatting with her beloved dad or her ultraromantic ex-husband, and she never makes her too cute or too tough in her cat-and-mouse encounters with the man she's certain is the Spare Change Killer. Instead, Burton maintains Sunny's professional edge, using subtle shifts of phrasing or timing to indicate the emotions the sleuth is keeping under wraps. She is just as successful in finding the right voices for the other main characters: flirtatious and sinister for the prime suspect in pursuit of Sunny; and gruff frustration for Phil Randall, who is worried for his daughter's safety. Simultaneous release with the Putnam hardcover (Reviews, Apr. 9). (July)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Forbes Magazine
Robert B. Parker is that rarity--a prolific author whose books are consistently original, suspenseful and fascinating. His crackling dialogue is always fresh and smart-alecky. His sparse prose makes Hemingway seem like a windbag. You don't have to work to get into Parker's books. You're happily hooked before you know it. He published three mysteries in 2007 (G.P. Putnam's Sons). Spare Change ($24.95).Boston PI Sunny Randall is asked by her father and former cop, Phil, to help him investigate what appears to be the return of a serial killer who leaves three coins next to each of his head-shot victims. Now, after a 30-year hiatus, the killer is back at his grim business. Phil headed--unsuccessfully--the original investigations of these killings and is now back to assist police in tracking down the killer. After interviewing a number of people rounded up because they were in proximity to a recent killing, Sunny thinks she's found the villain. But how to get the proof? Hunches are not enough. Sunny takes a high-risk approach, going out to dinner with the suspect, who seems to take perverse pleasure in being investigated.

The case becomes even more dangerous and urgent when the killer starts choosing victims who resemble Sunny. The suspense is periodically punctuated by many of the characters' various--and usually messy--personal relationships, including Sunny's ex-husband, who comes from a mob family. High Profile ($24.95). The hero in this tale is Jesse Stone, the alcohol-challenged police chief of a small town called Paradise. Stone's battle with the bottle forced him out of the Los Angeles Police Department. A controversial libertarian talk-radio host, Walton Weeks, is found shot andhanging from a tree in Paradise. Shortly thereafter another body turns up in a Dumpster--that of a young woman who had worked for Weeks and was pregnant with his child. Amazingly, Weeks' former wives and current wife seem oddly detached. But Weeks' notoriety has Stone coping with a deluge of media, as well as a publicity-hungry state governor. As in Spare Change, the characters here all have less-than-perfect personal lives. Stone, for instance, is still obsessed with his ex-wife, even though she is what was once called a "loose woman." Despite these and other personal sideshows, the story proceeds absorbingly and briskly.

Now & Then ($25.95). Parker's third home-run novel involves his original hero-character, Spenser (whose first name is still a mystery). A routine case of an aggrieved husband wanting to find out for sure if his attractive wife has been unfaithful veers into several murders involving a gang of terrorists. Spenser's longtime squeeze, Susan Silverman, a both-feet-on-the-ground shrink, finds herself in mortal danger as she treats a suspected killer who prides himself on being able to seduce any woman he desires. You'll remain oblivious to the rest of the world as you race through Parker's latest mesmerizing masterpiece. (7 Jan 2008)
—Steve Forbes

Library Journal
Holed up for three decades, a nasty killer called Spare Change returns, and Phil Randall shucks off retirement to track him down--with the help of daughter Sunny Randall, Parker P.I. extraordinaire. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Sunny Randall joins her father, pulled out of retirement, and every cop in Boston to catch a serial killer who's skipped a generation. Twenty years ago the Spare Change Killer terrorized the city. He shot seven victims, leaving three coins near each body, before stopping as suddenly and mysteriously as he'd begun. Now Spare Change, or somebody who's copying both his m.o. and the style of the obligatory taunting notes he sent Phil Randall, is back in business. Frustrated because the task force he headed never cleared the earlier murders, Phil is eager to consult on the current spate, especially when his beloved shamus daughter agrees to help. It isn't long before Sunny identifies a suspect who, after a single "welcome aboard" note to her, tries a more direct approach: a series of meetings at which he drinks with her and uses his noncommittal obsession with the case to flirt. Still bruised from her fling with Paradise Police Chief Jesse Stone (Blue Screen, 2006), Sunny would be in no mood for romance even if her suitor weren't a probable serial killer. So the case, starved for mystery, devolves into a cat-and-mouse game with a perp whose florid behavior is notably in excess of any explanation his climactic confession offers for it. What's left is what's always left even in Parker's worst: the knowing, laconic dialogue, the endless posturing, the nuggets of hard-won wisdom you never could've come up with yourself.

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Sunny Randall Series , #6
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Sales rank:
File size:
441 KB
Age Range:
18 Years

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

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

Brief Biography

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

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Spare Change (Sunny Randall Series #6) 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 27 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Reader66PA More than 1 year ago
I'm not sure which was more of a let down, the stilted, boring dialogue or the under developed characters. I finished the book, although it was totally predictable. Don't waste your reading time; find a different book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's okay... I just think Parker is confusing his writing style a little for this series with that of Jesse Stone. Although I will say that Parker does write "female" well. Women authors frequently write male leads better than men write women.
mysterywriterJVL More than 1 year ago
As a devoted reader of Robert B. Parker, I was disappointed in Spare Change. It was like eating Angel Food Cake. Parker set a trap for himself when he began mixing characters from his other series (Susan Silvermann, Jesse Stone, etc.) and now he has fallen into it with a sparse plot and sketchy outlines of characters we already know well. On the whole, this is a shallow effort. Given his dabbling with westerns (the Virgil Coles -- which I enjoy) maybe he's bored with Spenser, Jesse, and Sunny. Or maybe he's already written it all in his very rich and distinguished career. Hopefully, he will recover his stride in the future -- maybe with a plot that puts Richie on the bulls eye and does more to explore the depth of the relationship between Sunny and him.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read all the Jesse Stone novels and enjoyed them (as well as the tv movies). So I decided I'd pick up another Parker novel and try it, so I got the audio version of this book from my library. First of all, the narrator obviously hasn't spent much time around Boston and the accent wasn't good. I wish people would just read straight rather than try to affect an accent if they don't have the knack. Then, the plot. My gosh- there was nothing to try to figure out! It just went on and on. Don't believe I'll be reading any more of this guy (except Jesse Stone).
oes_fan More than 1 year ago
Parker delivers another wonderful Sunny Randall mystery. She's a delightful heroine.
Barmack More than 1 year ago
Something was lacking. It was not up to Parker's usual page-turning quality.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I liked Spare Change because it is engaging. It sucks you right into the plot.
retiredJM More than 1 year ago
Disappointing effort by Parker. Is someone else writing using his name and reputation??
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Robert B. Parker's "Spare Change" was an enjoyable read. I recently finished his "Melancholy Baby" and had guessed the plot halfway through. "Spare Change," on the other hand, kept me guessing a lot longer. It was almost as though this book was more enjoyable for Mr. Parker to write, and as such, more enjoyable for me to read.

I would definitely recommend this book for someone who has "spare time" :)

J.R. Reardon
author, "Confidential Communications"
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the first Sunny Randall book but this is the last one I will read. It was so boring and my patience with her has ended. What a stupid relationship with her ex and way too much of it. Perhaps she and Jesse Stone should get together and jump off a bridge.
GailCooke More than 1 year ago
While this is Parker's sixth Sunny Randall novel, first-time readers needn't be at all shy about dropping in. They'll soon feel right at home, and home is a carefully chosen word as so much of Parker's story revolves around family and the importance of familial relationships. The banter between Sunny and her father, retired cop Phil Randall, is a joy to read. The characters are real, authentic and you'll quickly find yourself caring about each of them, even Rosie, Sunny and ex Richie's bull terrier (they share custody). Some 20 years ago a serial killer was on the loose. Boston newspapers dubbed him the Spare Change Killer because he left three coins by his victims after shooting the unsuspecting behind the right ear. At that time Phil was the lead investigator in the case, taunted by notes from the killer. Phil doesn't much care for unsolved cases, and this one really bothered him. Now, after two decades, there's another note and another killing. 'Hi, Phil,' it reads. 'You miss me? I got bored, so I thought I'd reestablish our relationship. Give us both something to do in our later years. Stay tuned. Spare Change.' The original killer surfacing after all this time or a copy cat? Police immediately call upon Phil to consult on the case and he calls upon Sunny to help him. She is, of course, pleased to be asked. As she says, 'I loved my father. My sister and I had competed with my mother for his attention all our lives. I was thrilled to have him sharing space with me.' Very soon the arduous task of interviewing suspects is begun, and Sunny has her eye on one man. No one agrees with her but this is a determined woman. She sets out to bait a trap for the man, little realizing the danger she's putting herself in. As is often the case, the outcome isn't much of a surprise but it's such a pleasure getting there! For this reader, Parker is tops. - Gail Cooke
Guest More than 1 year ago
Dear Me!! Parker slides ever further into his prolonged funk. This could have been readable if anything at all about Sunny's part in the investigation rang true. The ending is laughable and Spenser's friend Susan Silverman makes a, as per her style, irratating appearence. Funniest bit was Sunny in therapy wondering just how old Susan might be. She decides that Susan 'might' be a couple of years older than herself. Sunny, you are supposed to be about 30. Susan, using the Spenser books as a guide is well into her sixties if not older. Babe, if you think that she looks just a couple of years older than you then you better think about reconstructive surgery for yourself. This is better than the last Jesse Stone book but still rates as a huge waste of time for the reader. Parker needs to write fewer books and up the quality level or his readership will look elsewhere for their reading entertainment.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Dialog is preachy - just like all his other books. Enjoyed the humor in the older books, can't find it in the later ones.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Robert Parker has another BESTSELLER on his hands with his newest book, 'Spare Change.' I don't know how he manages to write great story after great story time and time again! I am in awe of his talent to seduce his readers! The characters are interesting and his plots are very suspenseful! I am thrilled to recommend this book!