SUNNY'S BACK: A REVIEW OF ALISON GAYLIN'S BAD INFLUENCE
I was excited to hear that the Robert B. Parker estate was handing his Sunny Randall character over to Alison Gaylin after Mike Lupica left to take Spenser over from Ace Atkins. Her tight plotting and direct expression of emotion made her a natural to cover the Boston PI. Her first book in the series , Bad Influence, proves her to be the right choice.
Sunny is offered an exchange of services by her freind, media concierge Bethany Rose. Bethany will use her biggest influencers, Blake James and and Alana Jade to promote her Sidekick Spike's restaurant that took a hit during the pandemic. In return, she will look into the threatening notes and photos Blake is receiving. The hunt takes her through the sleazier side of social media, involving mobsters, kidnapping, and murder. As she unravels the case that is damaging Blake and Alana's relationship with each fact coming to light, Sunny's rekindled relationship with ex husband Richie is challenged when he decides to sell his bar and take a job outside of Boston.
Gaylin's writing fits close to parker's and matches Sunny's voice and her world. She possesses a clarity that allows us to travel through the twists, reversals, and reveals of the detective novel with no confusion. She introduces es characters with broad strokes then integrates depth and complexity through the story.
Bad Influence proves that Sunny randall is in good hands. Alison Gaylin understands how to balance her her personal life and private eye work. She also gives the feeling she can take the character further than Parker could. I hope Alison and Sunny work a lot of cases together.