Cover Image: Robert B. Parker's Blood Feud

Robert B. Parker's Blood Feud

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Mike Lupica is tapped by the Robert B. Parker estate to extend the story of Parker’s Sunny Randall character.  Sunny has a complicated relationship with her ex-husband Richie Burke whose father is local mobster Dominick Burke.  While Sunny is not interested in marriage she finds herself renewing her relationship with her ex after his recent second divorce.  Richie tries to carefully steer clear of his family’s business but occasionally gets pulled in.  One night he is shot but apparently intentionally not killed, an obvious mob maneuver.  Sunny, a licensed private investigator charges to the rescue even though Richie’s family warns her to stay away.  She confronts all the competing crime families to stir the pot and more of Richie’s family is victimized… an uncle is murdered.  But Sunny’s pride and tenacity can’t let it go.  Someone has to pay for dismantling her ex’s family.
Mike Lupica is a renowned sports writer and gifted author of sports books for young adults.  But he must be bored.  Recently, I’ve seen him weighing in on political talk shows and now he is writing mystery novels for mature adults.  He does a competent job of following Robert B. Parker’s style.  The plot is simple and linear, the lead character is tough, tenacious, and lives by a code, and the dialogue is unsophisticated, coarse, and straight forward.  So, he does well to revere Robert B. Parker.  But why does Robert B. Parker need this type of reverence?  I guess I prefer to remember him for his own original works and not confuse him with these more modern attempts to imitate him.  It’s like seeing the movie version of one of your favorite author’s books and being disappointed by the actor playing the lead character.  The author’s future books are never quite the same.
Thanks to NetGalley for the advanced look.
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I stopped reading the Robert B. Parker books after Parker passed away several years ago. When I saw that his estate had hired some ghostwriters to continue his Spenser and Jesse Stone books, I didn't bother reading the new installments because I didn't think the writing would be the same. However, I decided to give this newest ghostwritten book a try because I always enjoyed the Sunny Randall series and was curious to see if the new writer could live up to my expectations.

I was pleasantly surprised by how Mike Lupica's style matches Parker's. The dialogue is snappy, the descriptions are short, and the characters are cool. They have a wisecrack for every tough situation. The plot focuses on Randall's ex-husband Richie and his mafia family after Richie gets shot. This leads Randall down a path full of mobsters and other shady characters. There are some cameo appearances of characters from other Parker series, like Susan Silverman and Belson, as well as references to Jesse Stone. 

Overall, I enjoyed the book and plan to read more of the ghostwritten works of Robert B. Parker. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an advanced reader's copy in exchange for an honest review.
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A good book to read if you’re in need of a Sunny fix. Many familiar characters are present, but the Parker magic is missing.
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It's been a fair while since I read the previous six Sunny Randall books written by original author Robert B Parker. I have no qualms about the right person continuing a series as Reed Farrel Coleman has done with Parker's Jesse Stone books which I am continuing to enjoy (Michael Brandman notsomuch though) so I was both willing and able to give this book a fair crack of the whip. As I started reading this continuation by Mike Lupica, it did feel somewhat reminiscent and comfortable and I feel that he has done an equally good job with both the characters and the style. He certainly included pretty much all the usual suspects in one way shape or form, even Jesse himself gets a couple of mentions, so that set it off on the right track for me.
So, Sunny is in an "on" period with her on and off relationship with ex-husband Richie. Her qualms against his family's mafia connections taking a back burner. But then he's shot, a glancing blow but a shock for the both of them nevertheless. An event which drags both her and Richie, and eventually Spike too, into the murky world of the Burkes and their nefarious deeds. Then Richie's uncle is shot dead and things pretty much go south from there on in and it becomes a race against time and indeed death to get to the bottom of who is targeting the family, before the body count rises higher...
Sunny enlists the help of a few familiar faces to try and get to the truth of what is going on, aided by Spike and pretty much against Richie's father's wishes. But she can't stand by and watch as, for her sins, she still loves Richie despite everything.
I was going to re-read the sixth book before starting this continuation book but I changed my mind as I think that would be doing this book a injustice. Instead I preferred to rely on my memory of the style of the previous books rather than get nitpicky. The characters felt familiar and, from what I recall, acted according to what I would expect. The story was great, very well plotted and executed, and didn't veer from the familiar. But, and this has really nothing to do with anything apart from my own personal preference, what I really enjoyed was the trip round Boston. When I read the previous books I had never been Stateside. Nor had I any interest in any American sports. 2016 changed all that for me when I was dragged (I went willingly) to Boston, to Fenway, to watch Big Papi in his last season and the Sox come from behind to beat the Yankees. Now a Red Sox fan and a fan of Boston itself, reading this book brought back some lovely memories of my time there, and I thoroughly enjoyed that aspect of things. Not book related but I thought I'd mention it as it did connect me more to what I was reading.
I see that there is a book 8 in the offing and so it looks like the series will continue as Jesse's has. I like that Coleman has, after a few books under his belt, got braver in the direction he has taken that series and characters, and I wonder if Lupica will be doing likewise. I'll definitely be looking forward to seeing how this series progresses. My thanks go to the Publisher and Netgalley for the chance to read this book.
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Read Blood Feud if you are a fan of the Sunny Randell detective series and miss the characters. It is a lightweight, easy-to-read thriller.  Lupica stays true to Robert Parker's characters and writing style.  Fans of Robert Parker will be pleased to see many of his characters from his other series mentioned in this story.  The novel did make me want to go back and re-read all of Parker's Sunny Randell books again.  The lackluster storyline made it a slow read for me and I wanted to see more depth to Sunny's character.  I will read the next Sunny Randell though to see how Lupica moves the series along.
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I wish Robert b. Parker was still alive, or that people would stop writing under his name. This one was a big pass for me. Mike Lupica is a well known and great writer in his own right, but this one didn't do the series any justice. Thanks for allowing me an arc
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Of all the Parker reboots this is the poorest.  Should have been left alone.  While Ace Atkin's Spenser continuation is perfect and Robert Knotts westerns were good, this series should never have been continued, at least not by Lupica.
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Sunny Randall has always been one of those spunky female detectives that I like but this time she got boring obviously because of the author since he “made” her. This is more like a documentary of the author’s political views than it is a mystery. I am sorely disappointed both in the story and that something like this should be written associated with Robert Parker’s name. I wanted to read a Robert Parker novel, a good mystery. That I’ll describe as one that has some humor, one that keeps my mind in another world and one I can’t put down. This was most certainly not that.
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So glad to see Sunny Randall back on the case again! Mike Lupica does right by Robert B. Parker's character while putting his own "spin" on Sunny's life. Was a quick read, with a few twists and turns, and the bantering between Spike and Sunny that has been missing is back again! I hope Mr. Lupica continues on with the Sunny Randall series.
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Robert B. Parker's Blood Feud by Mike Lupica- As she searches for answers and tries to prevent a mob war, Sunny is targeted in the threat against the Irish mob boss, Desmond Burke and his family. Lupica handles this series better than I anticipated. I love this and can’t wait to see how Lupica continues Sunny’s and Sheriff Jesse Stone’s storylines. A must read novel.
Review of Robert B.Parker’s BLOOD FEUD by Mike Lupica from Book Review Crew.
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There are a number of ways to continue series of dead authors, most of them bad. Mike Lupica chooses the least bad of the bad ways. He stays faithful to the characters and plots of the original works. Diehard fans can read about their favorite people and places in their favorite activities.

The writing style is similar, but of course lacks the spontaneity and originality that the living Robert Parker brought. Lupica does bring the politics up-to-date, in ways many of Parker's fans will dislike, but nothing else has evolved. The plot is by-the-numbers and not very satisfying--certainly not surprising.

I recommend this book to people who have read the entire Sunny Randall series, and everything else Parker wrote, who want more of the same, not development, growth or originality. It's very, very good for fan fiction, but that's what it is.
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I've always loved Robert B Parker's books and family of characters.  His books made you feel as if you were reading the newspaper about people you knew and cared about.  When he died, it was a sad day for fiction.  Mike Lupica has done a decent job of recreating Sunny Randall and her island of misfits.  The story line was consistent with my expectations of a Sunny Randall book but I could have done without the political comments that were unnecessary and did not advance the story.  I was happy to see another Robert B Parker book, not so happy while reading it but I'd still rather have Sunny and her crew come back for another round than let her die with Parker.  Mr Lupica, there is a long history already in place for this series, you do not need to create a new one.
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Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons on November 27, 2018

Mike Lupica wrote Robert B. Parker’s Blood Feud so it really isn’t Robert B. Parker’s, although Parker created the key characters before he died. The Robert B. Parker factory has assembled a bunch of novels this year. Lupika is a capable techniian, but Blood Feud comes across as an assembly line product.

Someone shot Richie Burke, Sunny Randall’s separated-with-benefits husband. The shooter apparently wanted to send a message to Richie’s mobster father. Sunny has been brooding about her need for a distraction from loneliness and the attempted murder gives her something to do, so she spends a few chapters talking to her cop father and dangerous friends about Boston’s colorful gangsters.

Eventually Richie’s other relatives are attacked. Is this an escalation of a gang war involving Richie’s father or something more personal? Sunny considers the possibilities over martinis with her friend Spike, shots of Jameson with Richie, and coffee with the cops. Eventually the murders are solved and there is a mild twist at the end. In other words, the factory followed the formula for a crime novel with all the parts welded together just a little too neatly.

Blood Feud is entertaining because of the characters that Parker created and the snappy dialog that Lupica gives them. The plot is a pleasant vehicle to contain the characters but it offers little in the way of drama and builds no tension. Maybe that isn’t required in a book that is probably meant to keep characters alive without altering them in ways that a series fan might dislike. The novel has no glaring faults, but it is also devoid of obvious strengths, such as a compelling plot or an insightful examination of challenges that characters must overcome. It has the feel of a novel assembled by a writer who didn’t really have his heart in it.

Reader reviews of Blood Feud will inevitably appear on Amazon complaining that some of the characters have a negative opinion of Donald Trump and that Sunny isn’t in love with guns (although Sunny carries a gun and her only gripe is that unregistered guns end up in the hand of criminals and nutcases). If you can’t stomach characters who disagree with your political views, and if you are pro-Trump, you might want to give Blood Feud and a good many other books a pass. Most readers, I suspect, will be undisturbed by the small amount of political commentary in which characters indulge.

Politics aside, you might want to give Blood Feud a pass unless you are a fan of the series and miss the characters. It is a lightweight, easy-to-read thriller, but there are better crime novels to stack up on your nightstand. There is just too little reason to choose this one over all it competitors.

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“Blood Feud” by Mike Lupica reintroduces readers to Sunny Randall, Robert B. Parker’s PI last seen in “Spare Change.” A few things have changed; she moved; she got a new dog, and she is a little older. 

“Do I look as if I’m getting older?”
“This is some kind of trap,” he said. 
“I’m being serious,” I said. “The UPS kid ma’amed me the other day.” 

However, most things remain the same.

“I assume you shot him,” Spike said.
“No,” I said. “But I thought about it.”

 In a first person narrative, readers find Randall still in a turbulent on-again off-again relationship with her ex-husband Richie Burke, despite his “unfortunate” crime mob family connections. When Burke is shot, Randall searches for answers and finds herself plunged into the middle of his family’s business. The situation becomes more personal that she expected. 

Lupica did a fine job of renewing the franchise and reacquainting readers with familiar characters after all the years. He also introduced a few new ones that advance and refresh the franchise. I received a review copy of “Blood Feud” from Mike Lupica, G. P. Putnam’s Sons, Penguin Group, and NetGalley and found it very entertaining. Previous readers will feel right at home with the new series. New readers will easily jump into the franchise. I look forward to reading the next book in the series
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Mike Lupica
G. P. Putnam’s Sons
ISBN-13: 978-0525535362

One of the primary questions which has been asked since Robert B. Parker’s sudden death in 2010 is whether someone would pick up the reins of Parker’s Sunny Randall series. Randall, a Boston (where else?) private investigator with an interesting public and private life, appeared to have vanished into the ether. Well, contraire mon frere. The question of succession has been answered, and satisfyingly so, with the publication of the wonderfully written BLOOD FEUD.  The author of this extremely pleasant surprise is Mike Lupica. This might come as a surprise to those who know Lupica solely as a somewhat acerbic sports and political commentator who is on occasion described as being “seldom correct, but never in doubt.” Lupica, however, is also the highly regarded author of several sports novels for younger readers and is thus not a stranger to long-form fiction. It accordingly should not be a shock to learn that BLOOD FEUD is a fast-paced and entertaining read which is true to Parker’s voice, thus demonstrating that Lupica is a more than worthy choice to pick to continue the Randall canon.

Lupica picks up where Parker left off on SPARE CHANGE without a misstep. Randall is involved with her ex-husband, Richie Burke, demonstrating that the old flame still flickers. Richie, who comes from a well known Boston area crime family, has eschewed his father’s and brothers’ business. This apparently is not enough to save him, however, as he is the victim of a deliberate street shooting. The interesting element of the hit is that it is obviously professional but the doer shoots Richie to (seriously) wound, not to kill, making reference to “the sins of the father” to Richie as he lay bleeding in the street. The attack on Richie is by no means the last of moves against the Burke crime family. Things escalate, and soon there is a trail of bodies that lead ever closer to Desmond Burke, the family patriarch. The problems with investigating the shootings are that the Burkes will not talk to the police and that there is a surfeit of suspects. With regard to the latter, Burke has left an army of enemies in his wake on both sides of the law but particularly among his fellow crime families. Randall, motivated by her concern for Richie and her relationship with her quasi-father-in-law, takes it upon herself --- even when her help is not wanted --- to investigate the several tentacles of Desmond’s past to see who has the greatest grudge against him and possibly the most to gain. She manages to uncover a family secret or two along the way also fractures a few of her own alliances, the consequences for which may play out in future installments of the series. 

Lupica in BLOOD FEUD hits all the right notes, from the stunning cover --- what a cover! --- and a couple of cameo appearances from some characters in one of Parker’s other series to the very satisfying ending. It also contains one of those unintentional ironies that put the events in the book squarely in the real world. Whitey Bulger, who is frequently mentioned as an influential player in the background of BLOOD FEUD, was murdered in prison while I was reading the book, making the ruthlessness described therein all the more believable. Even with that aside, I cannot imagine that anyone who was a fan of Randall during the Parker years would be anything less than totally satisfied with Lupica’s stellar handling of the character. As for those who may not have been totally enamored with this particular Parker creation, I would urge them as well to read BLOOD FEUD. This would be a terrific and worthwhile novel if it were introducing a new p.i. series featuring a detective named Samantha Jones. That it continues the Sunny Randall canon and does it so well, makes it all the better. Recommended. 

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
© Copyright 2018, The Book Report, Inc. All rights reserved.
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I received an ARC copy of this book thanks to net galley and the publisher. May I just say yay!!! Sunny is back and better than ever! Could not put this book down I thoroughly enjoyed it. Loved how various characters from the Spenser and Jesse Stone novels are involved and/or mentioned. This was a great book, Sunny is a strong woman and I look forward to future installments.
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Thanks to NetGalley, for a copy of this book in return for a fair and honest review.

I think Mike Lupica has a real advantage over Ace Atkins (continuation writer of the Spenser books) - Sunny Randall was just not as fully developed a character as Spenser (or Jesse Stone).  I read and liked the Robert B. Parker Sunny Randall books, but it's been a long time.  So, I didn't have any real opinions about her, nor was I inclined to re-read the older books before I read this one.

Because of this, I was able to approach this on its own merits, and I enjoyed it. References to other Robert B. Parker characters aside (particularly Susan Silverman, Vinnie Morris and Jesse Stone), the book stood on its own and you didn't need to have read earlier books in this or any other Parker series to enjoy it.  Nothing profound, no serious surprises, but an enjoyable read.

The one problem that I think the author has is how to portray a strong woman.  We shift back and forth, between people telling her that she "really has balls," because she's so brave and gutsy, and her somewhat obsessive attention to how good she looks in her jeans and how she's a little jealous of Susan Silverman's looks, dress, and makeup.  Not that a woman can't be both tough and concerned with her appearance, but it seemed a little forced.  I wish a strong woman could be just that - a strong woman - without men having to analogize her to a man to "compliment" her.

But, that aside (and I was able to put it aside - it's a detective story, not a serious piece on gender issues!), it was a solidly entertaining book.  I look forward to reading more in the series.
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This is my first book to read by Mike Lupica and I will be reading more!  I enjoyed Sunni and Richie’s story and all the secondary characters. There was plenty of suspense to keep me anxiously reading until the final page.  I wish I had read their storyline from the beginning to fully appreciate the characters.
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Blood Feud by Mike Lupica

I have to say the author has really captured the spirit of Robert Parker. The syntax and the delivery are so familiar and welcome. This book is another Sunny Randall book and the interplay and the characters are almost historic in nature. Sonny's ex-husband’s family draws her in to a mob feud. 

I'm guessing that many of the people or perhaps most are Robert Parker friend fans and consequently a lot of the humor will be picked up. I think it might be missed by the first time reader but there is a lot of humor in the book. It's particularly poignant considering the murder just this week of Whitey Bolger in prison. Kind of brings the Irish mob in Boston to the front of the newspapers again. 

This was a good book and I give it  my recommendation.,
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Oh Sunny Randall, how I have missed you! Mike Lupica stays true to Robert B. Parker's roots for Sunny in this tightly woven mystery involving Sunny, Richie, his family -- and of course, my favorites, Spike and Rosie. With glimpses of characters from other Parker books, this mystery is destined to be a fan favorite! One of my favorite books of the year! Thank you!
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