Welcome to this week’s edition of Friday Book Round-Up. It’s a brand-new year and that means there’s more books to read. While on vacation, I heard the news of Sue Grafton’s passing. My heart clenched as she is, no was, my favorite mystery author. I first heard about her books while I was in college. I lamented to my friend that there wasn’t any good mysteries to read anymore as I had read them all. lol! She gave me her beat-up copy of Grafton’s A is for Alibi, which I read in one sitting and I was hooked. I loved the whole alphabet theme and was an instant fan. Her writing style is gritty yet not so much that my tummy would give me fits. I truly believe even Dame Agatha would’ve read Grafton’s mysteries, had she been alive. I highly recommend each one (couldn’t pick a favorite) which I’ve listed below:
“A” is for Alibi: A Kinsey Millhone Mystery
READ THE SENSATIONAL BLOCKBUSTER THAT STARTED IT ALL!
Take it from the top in #1 New York Times bestselling author Sue Grafton’s knockout thriller that introduced detective Kinsey Millhone—and a hot new attitude—to crime fiction…
A IS FOR AVENGER
A tough-talking former cop, private investigator Kinsey Millhone has set up a modest detective agency in a quiet corner of Santa Teresa, California. A twice-divorced loner with few personal possessions and fewer personal attachments, she’s got a soft spot for underdogs and lost causes.
A IS FOR ACCUSED
That’s why she draws desperate clients like Nikki Fife. Eight years ago, she was convicted of killing her philandering husband. Now she’s out on parole and needs Kinsey’s help to find the real killer. But after all this time, clearing Nikki’s bad name won’t be easy.
A IS FOR ALIBI
If there’s one thing that makes Kinsey Millhone feel alive, it’s playing on the edge. When her investigation turns up a second corpse, more suspects, and a new reason to kill, Kinsey discovers that the edge is closer—and sharper—than she imagined.
“B” Is for Burglar
Beverly Danziger looked like an expensive, carefully wrapped package from a good but conservative shop. Only her compulsive chatter hinted at the nervousness beneath her cool surface. It was a nervousness out of all proportion to the problem she placed before Kinsey Millhone. There was an absent sister. A will to be settled–a matter of only a few thousand dollars. Mrs. Danziger did not look as if she needed a few thousand dollars. And she didn’t seem like someone longing for a family reunion.
Still, business was slow, and even a private investigator has bills to pay. Millhone took the job. It looked routine.
Elaine Boldt’s wrappings were a good deal flashier than her sister’s, but they signaled the same thing: The lady had money. A rich widow in her early forties, she owned a condo in Boca Raton and another in Santa Teresa. According to the manager of the California building, she was last seen draped in her $12,000 lynx coat heading for Boca Raton. According to the manager of the Florida building, she never got there. But someone else had and she was camping out illegally in Mrs. Boldt’s apartment. The job was beginning to seem a bit less routine.
It turned tricky when Beverly Danziger ordered Millhone to drop the case and it took on an ominous quality when Aubrey Danziger surfaced, making all kinds of wild accusations about his wife. But it only became sinister when Millhone learned that just days before Elaine Boldt went missing, her next-door neighbor and bridge partner had been murdered and the killer was still at large.
A house destroyed by arson. A brutally murdered a woman. A missing lynx coat. An apartment burgled of valueless papers, another ransacked in a melée of mindless destruction. And more murder. As Millhone digs deeper into the case, she finds herself in a nightmarish hall of mirrors in which reality is distorted by illusion and nothing–except danger–is quite what it seems.
“C” Is for Corpse
He was young-maybe twenty or so-and he must once have been a good-looking kid. Kinsey could see that. But now his body was covered in scars, his face half-collapsed. It saddened Kinsey and made her curious. She could see he was in a lot of pain. But for three weeks, as Kinsey’d watched him doggedly working out at the local gym, putting himself through a grueling exercise routine, he never spoke.
Then one Monday morning when there was no one else in the gym, Bobby Callahan approached her. His story was hard to credit: a murderous assault by a tailgating car on a lonely rural road, a roadside smash into a canyon 400 feet below, his Porsche a bare ruin, his best friend dead. The doctors had managed to put his body back together again-sort of. His mother’s money had seen to that. What they couldn’t fix was his mind, couldn’t restore the huge chunks of memory wiped out by the crash. Bobby knew someone had tried to kill him, but he didn’t know why. He knew he had the key to something that made him dangerous to the killer, but he didn’t know what it was. And he sensed that someone was still out there, ready to pounce at the first sign his memory was coming back. He’d been to the cops, but they’d shrugged off his story. His family thought he had a screw loose. But he was scared-scared to death. He wanted to hire Kinsey.
His case didn’t have a whole lot going for it, but he was hard to resist: young, brave, hurt. She took him on. And three days later, Bobby Callahan was dead.
Kinsey Millhone never welshed a deal. She’d been hired to stop a killing. Now she’d find the killer.
“D” Is for Deadbeat
He called himself Alvin Limardo, and the job he had for Kinsey was cut-and-dried: locate a kid who’d done him a favor and pass on a check for $25,000. It was only later, after he’d stiffed her for her retainer, that Kinsey found out his name was Daggett. John Daggett. Ex-con. Inveterate liar. Chronic drunk. And dead. The cops called it an accident–death by drowning. Kinsey wasn’t so sure.
Pulled into the detritus of a dead man’s life, Kinsey soon realizes that Daggett had an awful lot of enemies. There’s the daughter who grew up with a cheating drunk for a father, and the wife who’s become a religious nut in response to an intolerable marriage. There’s the lady who thought she was Mrs. Daggett–and has the bruises to prove it–only to discover the legal Mrs. D. And there are the drug dealers out $25,000. But most of all, there are the families of the five people John Daggett killed, victims of his wild, drunken driving. The D.A. called it vehicular manslaughter and put him away for two years. The families called it murder and had very good reason to want John Daggett dead.
Deft, cunning, and clever, this latest Millhone mystery also confronts some messy truths, for, as Kinsey herself says, “Some debts of the human soul are so enormous only life itself is sufficient forfeit”–but as she’d be the first to admit, murder is not a socially acceptable solution.
“E” Is for Evidence
E IS FOR EX
It was the silly season and a Monday at that, and Kinsey Millhone was bogged down in a preliminary report on a fire claim. Something was nagging at her, but she couldn’t pin it. The last thing she needed in the morning mail was a letter from her bank recording an erroneous $5,000 deposit in her account. Kinsey had never believed in Santa Claus and she wasn’t about to change her mind now. Resigning herself to a morning of frustration, she phoned the bank and, assaulted by canned carols, waited on hold for an officer to clear up the snafu.
It was with something less than Christmas cheer that Kinsey faced off only minutes later with California Fidelity’s Mac Voorhies. Voorhies was smart, humorless, stingy with praise, and totally fair. He was frowning now.
“I got a phone call this morning.” he said, his frown deepening. “Somebody says you’re on the take.”
Suddenly the $5,000 deposit clicked into place. It wasn’t a mistake. It was a setup.
“E” is for evidence: evidence planted, evidence lost. “E” is for ex-lovers and evasions, enemies and endings. For Kinsey, “E” is for everything she stands to lose if she can’t exonerate herself: her license, her livelihood, her good name. And so she takes on a new client: namely, Kinsey Millhone, thirty-two and twice-divorced, ex-cop and wisecracking loner, a California private investigator with a penchant for lost causes–one of which, it is to be hoped, is not herself.
As Kinsey begins to unravel the frame-up, she finds that her future is intimately tied to one family’s past and to the explosive secret it has protected for almost twenty years. Digging deeper, she discovers that probing the past can have lethal consequences as she follows a trail of murder that leads to her own front door. And in what may well be her most challenging case, Kinsey comes up against the fact that sometimes, “E” is forever.
“F” Is for Fugitive
Floral Beach wasn’t much of a town: six streets long and three deep, its only notable feature a strip of sand fronting the Pacific. It was on that sandy beach seventeen years ago that the strangled body of Jean Timberlake had been found.
The people of floral Beach didn’t pay a whole lot of mind to past history, especially when Bailey Fowler, the self-confessed killer, had been properly processed and convicted. They weren’t even unduly concerned when, a year after the murder, Fowler walked away from the men’s prison at San Luis Obispo, never to be seen again. After all, everyone knew Jean had been a wild kid. “Like mother, like daughter,” some said–though never within hearing of Shana Timberlake, who, whatever her faults, still mourned her murdered child.
And then, by sheer fluke, the cops stumbled on Bailey Fowler. And a case seventeen years dead came murderously to life again.
For Royce Fowler, old and sick with not much time left, his son’s reappearance was the chance to heal an old wound. For Kinsey Millhone, the case was a long shot, but she agreed to take it on. She couldn’t know then it would lead her to probe the passions buried just below the surface of family relations, where old wounds fester and the most cherished emotions become warped until they fuse into deadly, soul-destroying time bombs.
“G” Is for Gumshoe
G IS FOR GAME…
When Irene Gersh asks PI Kinsey Millhone to locate her elderly mother Agnes, whom she hasn’t heard from in six months, it’s not exactly the kind of case Kinsey jumps for. But a girl’s gotta pay her bills, and this should be easy money—or so she thinks. Kinsey finds Agnes in a hospital. Aside from her occasional memory lapses, the octogenarian seems fine. And frightened.
G IS FOR GUN…
Kinsey doesn’t know what to make of Agnes’s vague fears and bizarre ramblings, but she’s got her own worries. It seems Tyrone Patty, a criminal she helped put behind bars, is looking to make a hit. First, Kinsey’s car is run off the road, and then days later, she’s almost gunned down, setting in motion a harrowing cat and mouse game…
G IS FOR GUMSHOE
So Kinsey decides to hire a bodyguard. With PI Robert Dietz watching her 24/7, Kinsey is feeling on edge…especially with their growing sexual tension. Then, Agnes dies of an apparent homicide, Kinsey realizes the old lady wasn’t so senile after all—and maybe she was trying to tell her something? Now Kinsey’s determined to learn the truth…even if it kills her.
“H” Is for Homicide
His name was Parnell Perkins, and until shortly after midnight, he’d been a claims adjustor for California Fidelity. Then someone came along and put paid to that line of work. And to any other. Parnell Perkins had been shot at close range and left for dead in the parking lot outside California Fidelity’s offices.
To the cops, it looked like a robbery gone sour. To Kinsey Millhone, it looked like the cops were walking away from the case. She didn’t like the idea that a colleague and sometime drinking companion had been murdered. Or the idea that his murderer was loose and on the prowl. It made her feel exposed. Vulnerable.
Bibianna Diaz was afraid for her life. If there was one thing she knew for sure, it was that you didn’t cross Raymond Maldonado and live to tell the tale. And Bibianna had well and truly crossed him, running out on his crazy wedding plans and going into hiding in Santa Teresa–light years away from the Los Angeles barrio that was home turf to Raymond and his gang. Now she needed money to buy time, to make sure she’d put enough space between them. And the quickest way she knew to get money was to work an insurance scam–just like the ones Raymond was running down in L.A. The trouble was, Bibianna picked California Fidelity as her mark. And it wasn’t long before her name surfaced in one of Parnell Perkins’s open files and Kinsey was on her case. But so, too, was her spurned suitor, Raymond Maldonado.
He had a rap sheet as long as his arm, a hair-trigger temper that was best left untested, and an inability to take no for an answer. He also had Tourette’s syndrome, which did nothing to smooth out the kinks in his erratic and often violent behavior. All in all, Raymond Maldonado was not someone to spend a lot of time hanging out with. Unfortunately for Kinsey, she didn’t have a lot of choice in the mater. Not after the love-sick Raymond kidnapped Bibianna. Like it or not, Kinsey was stuck babysitting Bibianna along with Raymond and his macho crew. You might say she was a prisoner of love.
“I” Is for Innocent
Readers of Sue Grafton’s fiction know she never writes the same book twice, and “I” Is For Innocent is no exception. Her most intricately plotted novel to date, it is layered in enough complexity to baffle even the cleverest among us.
Lonnie Kingman is in a bind. He’s smack in the middle of assembling a civil suit, and the private investigator who was doing his pretrial legwork has just dropped dead of a heart attack. In a matter of weeks the court’s statute of limitations will put paid to his case. Five years ago David Barney walked when a jury acquitted him of the murder of his rich wife, Isabelle. Now Kingman, acting as attorney for the dead woman’s ex-husband and their child (and sure that the jury made a serious mistake), is trying to divest David Barney of the profits of that murder. But time is running out, and David Barney still swears he’s innocent.
Patterned along the lines of a legal case, “I” Is For Innocent is seamlessly divided into thirds: one-third of the novel is devoted to the prosecution, one-third to the defense, and a final third to cross-examination and rebuttal. The result is a trial novel without a trial and a crime novel that resists solution right to the end.
When Kinsey Millhone agrees to take over Morley Shine’s investigation, she thinks it is a simple matter of tying up the loose ends. Morley might have been careless about his health, but he was an old pro at the business. So it comes as a real shock when she finds his files in disarray, his key informant less than credible, and his witnesses denying ever having spoken with him. It comes as a bigger shock when she finds that every claim David Barney has made checks out. But if Barney didn’t murder his wife, who did? It would seem the list of candidates is a long one. In life, Isabelle Barney had stepped on a lot of toes.
In “I” Is For Innocent, Sue Grafton once again demonstrates her mastery of those telling details that reveal our most intimate and conflicted relationships. As Kinsey comments on the give-and-take by which we humans deal with each other, for better and sometimes for worse, the reader is struck yet again by how acute a social observer Ms. Grafton can be. Frequently funny and sometimes caustic, she is also surprisingly compassionate– understanding how little in life is purely black and white. Except for murder.
Somewhere out there, a killer waits to see just what Kinsey will find out. Somewhere out there, someone’s been getting away with murder, and this time it just might turn out to be Kinsey’s.
“J” Is for Judgment
“J” is for Jaffe: Wendell Jaffe, dead these past five years. Or so it seemed until his former insurance agent spotted him in the bar of a dusty little resort halfway between Cabo San Lucas and La Paz.
“In truth, the facts about Wendell Jaffe had nothing to do with my family history, but murder is seldom tidy and no one ever said revelations operate in a straight line. It was my investigation into the dead man’s past that triggered the inquiry into my own, and in the end the two stories became difficult to separate.”
Five years ago, when Jaffe’s thirty-five-foot Fuji ketch was found drifting off the Baja coast, it seemed a sure thing he’d gone overboard. The note he left behind admitted he was flat broke, his business bankrupt, his real estate gambit nothing but a huge Ponzi scheme about to collapse, with criminal indictment certain to follow. When the authorities soon after descended on his banks and his books, there was nothing left: Jaffe had stripped the lot.
“Given my insatiable curiosity and my natural inclination to poke my nose in where it doesn’t belong, it was odd to realize how little attention I’d paid to my own past. I’d simply accepted what I was told, constructing my personal mythology on the flimsiest of facts.”
But Jaffe wasn’t quite without assets. There was the $500,000 life insurance policy made out to his wife and underwritten by California Fidelity. With no corpse to prove death, however, the insurance company was in no hurry to pay the claim. Dana Jaffe had to wait out the statutory five years until her missing husband could be declared legally dead. Just two months before Wendell Jaffe was sighted in that dusty resort bar, California Fidelity finally paid in full. Now they wanted the truth. And they were willing to hire Kinsey Millhone to dig it up.
As Kinsey pushes deeper into the mystery surrounding Wendell Jaffe’s pseudocide, she explores her own past, discovering that in family matters as in crime, sometimes it’s better to reserve judgment.
“J” is for judgment: the kind we’re quick to make and often quicker to regret.
“K” Is for Killer
Lorna Kepler was beautiful and willful, a loner who couldn’t resist flirting with danger. Maybe that’s what killed her.
Her death had raised a host of tough questions. The cops suspected homicide, but they could find neither motive nor suspect. Even the means were mysterious: Lorna’s body was so badly decomposed when it was discovered that they couldn’t be certain she hadn’t died of natural causes. In the way of overworked cops everywhere, the case was gradually shifted to the back burner and became another unsolved file.
Only Lorna’s mother kept it alive, consumed by the certainty that somebody out there had gotten away with murder.
In the ten months since her daughter’s death, Janice Kepler had joined a support group, trying to come to terms with her loss and her anger. It wasn’t helping. And so, leaving a session one evening and noticing a light on in the offices of Millhone Investigations, she knocked on the door.
In answering that knock, Kinsey Millhone is pulled into the netherworld of unavenged murder, where only a pact with the devil will satisfy the restless ghosts of the victims and give release to the living they have left behind.
Eleven books into the series that has won her readers around the world, Sue Grafton takes a darkside turn, pitching us into a shadow land of pain and grief where killers still walk free, unaccused, unpunished, unrepentant. With “K” is for Killer she offers a tale that is dark, complex, and deeply disturbing.
“L” is for Lawless
Kinsey’s skills are about to be sorely tested. She is about to meet her duplicitous match in a couple of world-class prevaricators who quite literally take her for the ride of her life.
“L” Is for Lawless: Call it Kinsey Millhone in bad company. Call it a mystery without a murder, a treasure hunt without a map, a quest novel with truly mixed-up motives. Call it the return of Kinsey as bad girl– quick-witted and quicksilvery, smart-mouthed and smart-alecky– poking her nose into everyone’s dirty laundry as she joins up with a modern-day Bonnie and Clyde in an Our Gang comedy that will take her halfway across the country and leave her with a major headache and an empty bank balance.
America’s favorite borderline delinquent is back with her one-liners on tap and her energy level on high, romping through her fastest and funniest adventure in this, her twelfth foray into the alphabet of crime.
“M” Is for Malice
M” is for money. Lots of it. “M” is for Malek Construction, the $40 million company that grew out of modest soil to become one of the big three in California construction, one of the few still in family hands.
“M” is for the Malek family: four sons now nearing middle age who stand to inherit a fortune–four men with very different outlooks, temperaments, and needs, linked only by blood and money. Eighteen years ago, one of them–angry, troubled, and in trouble–went missing.
“M” is for Millhone, hired to trace that missing black sheep brother.
“M” is for memories, none of them happy. The bitter memories of an embattled family. This prodigal son will find no welcome at his family’s table. “M” is for malice.
And in brutal consequence, “M” is for murder, the all-too-common outcome of familial hatreds.
“M” is for malice . . . and malice kills.
“N” Is for Noose
Kinsey Millhone should have done something else–she should have turned the car in the direction of home. Instead, she was about to put herself in the gravest jeopardy of her career.
Tom Newquist had been a detective in the Nota Lake sheriff’s office–a tough, honest cop respected by everyone. When he died suddenly, the townsfolk were saddened but not surprised: Just shy of sixty-five, Newquist worked too hard, smoked too much, and exercised too little. That plus an appetite for junk food made him a poster boy for an American Heart Association campaign. Newquist’s widow didn’t doubt the coroner’s report. But what Selma couldn’t accept was not knowing what had so bothered Tom in the last six weeks of his life. What was it that had made him prowl restlessly at night, that had him brooding constantly? Selma Newquist wanted closure, and the only way she’d get it was if she found out what it was that had so bedeviled her husband. Kinsey should have dumped the case. It was vague and hopeless, like looking for a needle in a haystack. Instead, she set up shop in Nota Lake, where she found that looking for a needle in a haystack can draw blood. Very likely, her own.”N” Is for Noose: a novel in which Kinsey Millhone becomes the target and an entire town seems in for the kill.
“O” Is for Outlaw
Through fourteen books, fans have been fed short rations when it comes to Kinsey Millhone’s past: a morsel here, a dollop there. We know of the aunt who raised her, the second husband who left her, the long-lost family up the California coast. But husband number one remained a blip on the screen until now.
The call comes on a Monday morning from a guy who scavenges defaulted storage units at auction. Last week he bought a stack. They had stuff in them–Kinsey stuff. For thirty bucks, he’ll sell her the lot. Kinsey’s never been one for personal possessions, but curiosity wins out and she hands over a twenty (she may be curious but she loves a bargain). What she finds amid childhood memorabilia is an old undelivered letter.
It will force her to reexamine her beliefs about the breakup of that first marriage, about the honor of that first husband, about an old unsolved murder. It will put her life in the gravest peril. “O” Is for Outlaw: Kinsey’s fifteenth adventure into the dark side of human nature.
“P” Is for Peril
Kinsey Millhone never sees it coming. She is mired in the case of a doctor who disappeared, his angry ex-wife, and beautiful current one—a case that is full of unfinished business, unfinished homes, and people drifting in and out of their own lives. Then Kinsey gets a shock. A man she finds attractive is hiding a fatal secret—and now a whole lot of beauty, money, and lies are proving to be a fatal distraction from what Kinsey should have seen all along: a killer standing right before her eyes…
“Q” Is for Quarry
She was a “Jane Doe,” an unidentified white female whose decomposed body was discovered near a quarry off California’s Highway 1. The case fell to the Santa Teresa County Sheriff’s Department, but the detectives had little to go on. The woman was young, her hands were bound with a length of wire, there were multiple stab wounds, and her throat had been slashed. After months of investigation, the case remained unsolved. That was eighteen years ago. Now, the two men who found the body, both nearing the end of long careers in law enforcement, want one last shot at the case. Old and ill, they need someone to do the legwork for them, and they turn to Kinsey Millhone. They will, they tell her, find closure if they can just identify the victim. Kinsey is intrigued with the challenge and agrees to work with them. But revisiting the past can be a dangerous business, and what begins with the pursuit of Jane Doe’s real identity ends in a high-risk hunt for her killer.
“R” Is for Ricochet
Reba Lafferty was a daughter of privilege, the only child of an adoring father. Nord Lafferty was already in his fifties when Reba was born, and he could deny her nothing. Over the years, he quietly settled her many scrapes with the law, but he wasn’t there for her when she was convicted of embezzlement and sent to the California Institution for Women. Now, at thirty-two, she is about to be paroled, having served twenty-two months of a four-year sentence. Nord Lafferty wants to be sure she stays straight, stays at home and away from the drugs, the booze, the gamblers.” “It seems a straightforward assignment for Kinsey: babysit Reba until she settles in, make sure she follows all the rules of her parole. Maybe all of a week’s work. Nothing untoward – the woman seems remorseful and friendly. And the money is good.” But life is never that simple, and Reba is out of prison less than twenty-four hours when one of her old crowd comes circling round.
“S” Is for Silence
Cases don’t get much colder than that of Violet Sullivan, who disappeared from her rural California town in 1953, leaving behind an abusive husband and a seven-year-old named Daisy. But P.I. Kinsey Millhone has promised Daisy she’ll try her best to locate Violet, dead or alive. Kinsey tries to pick up a trail by speaking to those who remember her-and perhaps were more involved in her life than they let on.
But the trail could lead her somewhere very dangerous. Because the case may have gone cold, but some peoples’ feelings about Violet Sullivan still run as hot as ever…
“T” Is for Trespass
A miser and a hoarder, Gus Vronsky is so crotchety that after he takes a bad fall, his only living relative is anxious to find him some hired help and get back home as soon as she can.
In an effort to help, Gus’s neighbor, private investigator Kinsey Millhone, runs a check on an applicant for the job, Solana Rojas. Social Security, driver’s license, nursing certification: It all checks out. And it sounds like she did a good job for her former employers. So Kinsey gives her the thumbs-up, figuring Gus will be the ideal assignment for this diligent, experienced caregiver.
And the real Solana Rojas was indeed an excellent caregiver. But the woman who has stolen her identity is not, and for her, Gus will be the ideal victim…
“U” Is for Undertow
Eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable. Even more so when Kinsey Millhone’s only lead is a grown man dredging up a repressed childhood memory—of something that may never have happened…
Looking solemn, Michael Sutton arrives in Kinsey’s office with a story: When he was six, he wandered into the woods and saw two men digging a hole. They claimed they were pirates, looking for treasure. Now, the long-forgotten incident has come back to him—and he is convinced that he witnessed the burial of a kidnapped child.
Kinsey has little to go on. Sutton doesn’t even know where he was that day—and, she soon discovers, he has a history of what might generously be called an active imagination. Despite her doubts, Kinsey sets out to locate the so-called burial site. And what’s found there pulls her into a current of deceit stretching back more than twenty years…
“V” Is for Vengeance
Private detective Kinsey Millhone feels a bit out of place in Nordstrom’s lingerie department, but she’s entirely in her element when she puts a stop to a brazen shoplifting spree. For her trouble she nearly gets run over in the parking lot by one of the fleeing thieves—and later learns that the one who didn’t get away has been found dead in an apparent suicide. But Audrey Vance’s grieving fiancé suspects murder and hires Kinsey to investigate—in a case that will reveal a big story behind a small crime, and lead her into a web that connects a shadowy “private banker,” an angry trophy wife, a spoiled kid with a spiraling addiction, and a brutal killer without a conscience…
“W” Is for Wasted
W is for…wanderer…worthless…wronged…W is for Wasted.
Two dead men changed the course of my life that fall. One of them I knew and the other I’d never laid eyes on until I saw him in the morgue.
The first was a local PI of suspect reputation. He’d been gunned down near the beach at Santa Teresa. It looked like a robbery gone bad. The other was on the beach six weeks later. He’d been sleeping rough. Probably homeless. No identification. A slip of paper with Millhone’s name and number was in his pants pocket. The coroner asked her to come to the morgue to see if she could ID him.
Two seemingly unrelated deaths, one a murder, the other apparently of natural causes.
But as Kinsey digs deeper into the mystery of the John Doe, some very strange linkages begin to emerge. Not just between the two victims, but also to Kinsey’s past. And before long Kinsey, through no fault of her own, is thoroughly compromised…
X: The number ten. An unknown quantity. A mistake. A cross. A kiss.
X: The shortest entry in Webster’s Unabridged. Derived from Greek and Latin and commonly found in science, medicine, and religion. The most graphically dramatic letter. Notoriously tricky to pronounce: think xylophone.
X: The twenty-fourth letter in the English alphabet.
Sue Grafton’s X: Perhaps her darkest and most chilling novel, it features a remorseless serial killer who leaves no trace of his crimes. Once again breaking the rules and establishing new paths, Grafton wastes little time identifying this sociopath. The test is whether Kinsey can prove her case against him before she becomes his next victim.
“Y” is for Yesterday
The darkest and most disturbing case report from the files of Kinsey Millhone, Y is for Yesterday begins in 1979, when four teenage boys from an elite private school sexually assault a fourteen-year-old classmate—and film the attack. Not long after, the tape goes missing and the suspected thief, a fellow classmate, is murdered. In the investigation that follows, one boy turns state’s evidence and two of his peers are convicted. But the ringleader escapes without a trace.
Now, it’s 1989 and one of the perpetrators, Fritz McCabe, has been released from prison. Moody, unrepentant, and angry, he is a virtual prisoner of his ever-watchful parents—until a copy of the missing tape arrives with a ransom demand. That’s when the McCabes call Kinsey Millhone for help. As she is drawn into their family drama, she keeps a watchful eye on Fritz. But he’s not the only one being haunted by the past. A vicious sociopath with a grudge against Millhone may be leaving traces of himself for her to find…
Have you read Sue Grafton? If so, which mystery is your favorite? Share in the comments below.
MRS N, Book Addict