A spiderweb of dangerous relationships is at the heart of this daring new novel from the #1 New York Times-bestselling author.
Kinsey on Kinsey: "I know there are people who believe you should forgive and forget. For the record, I'd like to say I'm a big fan of forgiveness as long as I'm given the opportunity to get even first."
– from V is for Vengeance
A woman with a murky past who kills herself-or was it murder? A dying old man cared for by the son he pummeled mercilessly. A lovely woman whose life is about to splinter into a thousand fragments. A professional shoplifting ring racking up millions in stolen goods. A brutal and unscrupulous gangster. A wandering husband, rich and powerful. A spoiled kid awash in gambling debt thinking he can beat the system. A lonely widower mourning the death of his lover, desperate for answers that may be worse than the pain of his loss. An elegant but ruthless businessman whose dealings are definitely outside the law: the spider at the center of the web.
And Kinsey Millhone, whose thirty-eighth-birthday gift is a punch in the face that leaves her with two black eyes and a busted nose.
It's April, 1988, a month before Kinsey Millhone's thirty-eighth birthday, and she's alone in her office doing paperwork when a young man arrives unannounced. He has a preppy air about him and looks as if he'd be carded if he tried to buy booze, but Michael Sutton is twenty-seven, an unemployed college dropout. Twenty-one years earlier, a four-year-old girl disappeared. A recent reference to her kidnapping has triggered a flood of memories. Sutton now believes he stumbled on her lonely burial when he was six years old. He wants Kinsey's help in locating the child's remains and finding the men who killed her. It's a long shot but he's willing to pay cash up front, and Kinsey agrees to give him one day. As her investigation unfolds, she discovers Michael Sutton has an uneasy relationship with the truth. In essence, he's the boy who cried wolf. Is his current story true or simply one more in a long line of fabrications?
Grafton moves the narrative between the eighties and the sixties, changing points of view, building multiple subplots, and creating memorable characters. Gradually, we see how they all connect. But at the beating center of the novel is Kinsey Millhone, sharp-tongued, observant, a loner – 'a heroine,' said The New York Times Book Review, 'with foibles you can laugh at and faults you can forgive.'
Kinsey Millhone, twice-divorced ex-cop, ever dauntless, ever vulnerable ("A" is for Alibi, etc., etc.), now investigating claims for California Fidelity, is assigned a seemingly routine claim from the files of deceased co-worker Parnell Perkins – robbed and shot dead. The case leads Kinsey to elusive, beautiful Bibianna Diaz and to a late-night restaurant meal interrupted by an attempt to kidnap Bibianna that ends with the shooting death of Chago Maldonado – killed by Bibianna's escort Jimmy Tate – an ex-cop and old pal of Kinsey's. Tate lands in the hospital; Bibianna and Kinsey in jail – to be greeted on release by Chago's brother and Bibianna's ex-lover, Raymond – a tense hood racked by the involuntary spasms of Tourette's Syndrome and by his obsession to marry a frightened Bibianna, who thought she'd escaped him. His plan to take her back to his Los Angeles barrio apartment is reinforced by gun-toting henchman Luis. Bibianna clings to new-found friend Kinsey, who goes along, knowing she's onto a mega-insurance scam and, possibly, Parnell's killer. Days later it's all over – a densely textured adventure heavy with unflagging menace lightened by wisps of humor; a three-dimensional villain; a surprise twist, and a heroine to have in your comer. First-class work from an author whose range grows steadily deeper and richer.
From Publishers Weekly
PI Kinsey Millhone's trademark dry sense of humor is largely absent in the first half of the 15th book in this justifiably popular series, though it resurfaces as the suspense finally begins to build in the second half. In the bleak November of 1986, Kinsey looks into the disappearance of Dr. Dowan Purcell, who's been missing for nine weeks. Dr. Purcell is an elderly physician who runs a nursing home that's being investigated for Medicare fraud. His ex-wife, Fiona, hires Kinsey when it seems as though the police have given up on the search. Fiona thinks that he could be simply hiding out somewhere, especially since he's pulled a disappearance stunt twice before. However, Purcell's current wife, Crystal, believes that he may be dead. Kinsey is dubious about finding any new leads after so much time has elapsed. She's also worried about having to move out of the office space she now occupies in the suite owned by her lawyer, and between her interviews with suspects she tries to rent a new office from a pair of brothers whose mysterious background begins to make her suspicious. Grafton's Santa Teresa seems more like Ross Macdonald's town of the same name than ever before, with dysfunctional families everywhere jostling for the private eye's attention. The novel has a hard-edged, wintry ambience, echoed in Fiona Purcell's obsession with angular art deco furniture and architecture. Unfortunately, Grafton's evocation of the noir crime novels and styles of the 1940s, although atmospheric, doesn't make up for a lack of suspense and lackluster characters. (June 4)Forecast: With a 600,000-copy first printing and a national author tour, this Literary Guild Main Selection is sure to shoot well up the bestseller lists.
Wise-cracking, staunchly independent, and chronically curious, Grafton's gritty gumshoe Kinsey Millhone is back. This time, the alphabet series star will take on the toughest case to date: her past. What begins as a random phone call from a "storage space scavenger" (someone who buys the contents of defaulted storage units) leads Kinsey to a box of old papers and personal effects that her ex-husband, Mickey Magruder, left behind. Inside, she finds a 15-year-old unsent letter from a bartender that, among other things, reveals her former hubby was having an affair. The letter also contains details about the murder of a transient-a crime for which Mickey was blamed. Although never convicted, Mickey was ruined-losing his job, wife, and friends. But 15 years later, Kinsey realizes that foul play may have been involved in the murder, a deadly temptation for her.
Die-hard fans will especially enjoy Kinsey's self-disclosure-something she's infamous for not doing-about her childhood, the fate of her parents, and the randy details of her first marriage. A very vulnerable and interesting side to Kinsey's character is also revealed when her obsessive-compulsive fact-finding bent is mixed up with matters of the heart.
A fast, fun read, O Is for Outlaw is packed with Grafton's clear, colorful imagery and signature metaphors: "Our recollection of the past is not simply distorted by our faulty perception of events remembered, but skewed by those forgotten. The memory is like orbiting twin stars, one visible, one dark, the trajectory of what's evident forever affected by the gravity of what's concealed."
"Suppose we could peer through a tiny peephole in time and chance upon a flash of what was coming up in the years ahead?" The questioner is Kinsey Millhone, middle-aged, two-time divorcee detective and junk food junkie star of Sue Grafton's popular "alphabet" mysteries; the book is 'N' Is for Noose. If Kinsey had had just a smidgen of foresight, she would never have taken her current case, handed down to her from her on-again, off-again flame and comrade in arms, Robert Dietz. We encounter the two this time out after Deitz's knee surgery, as Kinsey drives his "snazzy little red Porsche" back to Carson City, where she checks out his digs for the first time. To her surprise, he lives in a palatial penthouse, which-under the unspoken bylaws of investigative etiquette-she qualmlessly snoops through. They sit around for a fortnight playing gin rummy and eating peanut butter and pickle sandwiches together, but perennially single Kinsey grows wary: "It was time to hit the road before our togetherness began to chafe."
She heads off to meet Dietz's former client, Mrs. Selma Newquist, a devastated widow whose makeup tips seem to come from Tammy Faye Baker. Her husband Tom Newquist, a detective himself, had been working on a mysterious case when he abruptly died of a heart attack. Selma suspects foul play, but bless her, she isn't the brightest star in the sky and can't figure out what Tom was working on even though he's left behind enough paper to fill a recycling truck. Kinsey digs right in and roams the sleepy, one-horse town of Nota Lake for clues, interviewing a colorful cast of in-laws and locals. Beneath the quaint, quiet, country veneer, she unearths a bubbling hotbed of internal strife and familial double-dealing. Was Tom covering up for his partner? Is Selma protecting someone? Grafton's knack for gritty details and realistic characters ("[Selma's] skin tones suggested dark coloring, but her hair was a confection of white-blond curls, like a cloud of cotton candy"), coupled with the fast-paced, believable story line, makes for another delightful, entertaining read.
On 5th May, Kinsey Millhone celebrates her birthday, moves back into her apartment and is hired to bring Mrs Clyde Gersh's mother back from the Mojave desert. She also finds out that she has made it into Tyrone Patty's hit list. This is the seventh book featuring Kinsey Millhone.
From Publishers Weekly
Approaching middle age warily, PI Kinsey Millhone of the Southern California coast is mildly depressed, romantically vulnerable and in the process of reassessing her family ties. Yet, when it comes to her professional abilities, she's at the top of her form, as this deftly plotted and absorbing novel (her 13th appearance, after L Is for Lawless) proves. Bader Malek, a local industrial tycoon, has died, and his four sons now stand to inherit a substantial fortune. But one of them, Guy, has been missing since 1968. A drug addict, ne'er-do-well and all-around miscreant, Guy had been disinherited by his exasperated father shortly before he vanished. But that particular will has disappeared, and Kinsey has been hired by the family to find out if Guy is still alive and thus in line to collect his original portion of the estate. She quickly succeeds in locating him and brings back a sweet, guileless and totally reformed man. But is he? The three other brothers?a truly devious, arrogant and greedy lot?are deeply ambivalent about Guy's return. A murder in the family leaves the surviving Malek kin as prime suspects. This is a subtle and swiftly moving novel, pleasantly unpredictable, with an agreeable overlay of smoldering romance, as fellow PI and former lover Robert Dietz reenters Kinsey's life. Grafton's heroine?more introspective, yet still feisty and surefooted?leads this finely tuned and at times electrifying tale to a thoroughly satisfying conclusion. 1,000,000 first printing.
This is the latest in the ABC of crime, featuring the wise-cracking female private investigator, Kinsey Millhone. Baily Fowler was convicted of murder and then went missing. 16 years later he's found by the police and Kinsey Millhone is hired by Fowler's father to clear his name.
From Publishers Weekly
The corpse in private eye Kinsey Millhone's third adventure ("A" Is for Alibi and "B" Is for Burglar is that of Bobby Callahan, a young man she first meets while both are working out in a local gym. Bobby is convinced the car crash he'd been injured in was really an attempt on his life and, fearful of another assault, persuades Kinsey to investigate. A few days later, Bobby is indeed killed, and Kinsey stays on the case. She is befriended by Bobby's wealthy mother, his opportunistic stepfather and druggie, anoretic stepsister. She learns Bobby was having an affair with a friend of his mother's whose first husband had been killed in a suspicious burglary, and whose second is county pathologist. While the almost hard-boiled Kinsey ferrets out the ugly secrets behind Bobby's death, she's also trying to save her elderly landlord from the schemes of the scam-operating senior lady he's smitten with. Kinsey Millhone is nobody's fool; she's also sensitive, funny and very likable. Writing with a light, sure touch, Grafton has produced a fast-moving California story about quirky, believable people.
From Publishers Weekly
While private detective and former cop Kinsey Millhone ("D" Is for Deadbeat) is investigating a possible case of industrial arson involving a company owned by the family of a former schoolmate, someone tries to make it look as if she's on the take. A mysterious $5000 appears in her bank account. She sets out to clear herself, while two or possibly more cases of murder occur, including one by bombing. A Christmas spent alone and the reappearance of her second ex-husband, Daniel, who had deserted her, add to Kinsey's depression. Grafton has an accurate, wicked eye for California lifestyle and wise-cracking Kinsey is an appealing, nonhackneyed female detective. Particularly illuminating are the descriptions of document searches, which make up much of real detective work today. This fifth entry in the series, however, is not quite up to the standards of its predecessors because the motivation for the crimes seems weak. That caveat notwithstanding, readers will be glad that further letters of the alphabet await Grafton's imagination.
Both new readers and old fans will welcome this 12th Kinsey Milhone adventure in the "A" is for Alibi series by Sue Grafton. In this case, Kinsey agrees to do a favor for a friend of a friend and gets herself into so much trouble that she promises at the outset never to do such a thing again without careful consideration.
Henry Pitt, her longtime landlord asks her to help a fellow neighbor find evidence that his grandfather served in the military during the Second World War. With such proof, the man can be decently buried, courtesy of the U.S. government. It seems such a simple thing, but with Kinsey, it rarely is. Before long she finds herself entangled with an eccentric and quarrelsome family as well as a long lost buddy who has turned up just in time to get himself beaten up in a robbery attempt of the alleged veteran's apartment. It seems there is a reason the Armed Services have no record of the dead man's service. Kinsey sets out to determine what he might have been doing instead of fighting against the Japanese and why someone might think his shabby apartment worth a burgle.
Typical of the series, the mystery is not the central point of the story, but rather a starting point for Kinsey to become embroiled in a suspenseful (and delightful) search-and-rescue operation, usually against her better judgement. In this case, a gun-toting, arthritic octogenarian and revelations of the inner workings of bargain-rate motels are all part of the adventure. This is an easy and enjoyable read, and a solid addition to Grafton's string of alphabetical hits
From Publishers Weekly
The 11th adventure of Santa Teresa, Calif., PI Kinsey Milhone has a dark tone-due in great part to Kinsey's working this case mostly at night. Kinsey agrees to look into the 10-month-old death of Lorna Kepler, a young woman whose decomposed body was discovered in her cabin so long after death that it was impossible to determine the cause. Kinsey's client, Lorna's mother, who works the night shift in a 24-hour diner, suspects murder. So does Kinsey, especially after investigating Lorna's effects and her considerable assets, some unaccounted-for. An anonymously delivered pornographic tape adds to the emerging portrait of the dead woman as an intriguingly self-sufficient, ambitious woman of the evening. In nighttime forays, Kinsey talks to an all-night deejay whom Lorna often visited at his studio; she meets-and befriends-a prostitute who occasionally teamed up with Lorna to party with clients. She also investigates the victim's day job as a part-time receptionist for the water district, where a high-stakes development project is currently raising tempers. A host of suspects includes a porn filmmaker in San Francisco, members of Lorna's family, her landlord, the water district employees and even a smooth-dressing cop, whom Kinsey talks to at night. But lack of sleep dulls Kinsey's perceptions and it takes two more deaths and the surprise appearance of a deus ex limousine to lead her to a solution. Even sleep-deprived, Kinsey shows spunk and appeal, but she is not at her sharpest here. 600,000 first printing; author tour.
From Kirkus Reviews
California's formidable p.i. Kinsey Millhone (``A'' Is for Alibi, etc.), fired from her comfortable berth with Fidelity Insurance, now rents office space from busy Santa Teresa lawyer Lonnie Kingman. His usual outside investigator Morley Shine has died of a heart attack, and he hires Kinsey to take over the case that Morley was working on. It involves the upcoming trial of David Barney, acquitted of the six-year-old murder of his wife, Isabelle, but now being sued for wrongful death in civil court by Isabelle's first husband, Ken Voigt. Voigt, represented by Lonnie Kingman, is sure that Barney killed Isabelle and wants to keep her considerable fortune out of his hands. Lonnie thinks he has a strong case, buoyed by damning new evidence from drifter Curtis McIntyre. But what Kinsey finds as she begins to probe is a surprising number of people with reasons to hate Isabelle-among them Voigt's second wife, Francesca, and Isabelle's business mentor Peter Weidmann and his overprotective wife, Yolanda. She also uncovers curious gaps in Morley's files and begins to question his ``heart attack,'' as Lonnie's seemingly solid case collapses bit by bit, with her own life on the line in the gritty finale. A sober, resolute Kinsey, romanceless at the moment, and a clever, meaty puzzle-for which the publisher plans a 300,000 first printing. Rack up another winner for Grafton.
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. The 20th Kinsey Millhone crime novel (after 2005's S Is for Silence), a gripping, if depressing, tale of identify theft and elder abuse, displays bestseller Grafton's storytelling gifts. By default, Millhone, a private investigator in the small Southern California town of Santa Teresa, assumes responsibility for the well-being of an old neighbor, Gus Vronsky, injured in a fall. After Vronsky's great-niece arranges to hire a home aide, Solana Rojas, Millhone begins to suspect that Rojas is not all that she seems. Since the reader knows from the start that an unscrupulous master manipulator has stolen the Rojas persona, the plot focuses not on whodunit but on the battle of wits Millhone wages with an unconventional and formidable adversary. Grafton's mastery of dialogue and her portrayal of the limits of good intentions make this one of the series' high points, even if two violent scenes near the end tidy up the pieces a little too neatly.
Reba Lafferty was a daughter of privilege, Abandoned by her rebellious mother when she was an infant, she was the only child of a rich man already in his mid-fifties when she was born, and her adoring father thoroughly spoiled her. Now, at thirty-two, having had many scrapes with the law, she is about to be released on probation from the California Institution for Women, having served twenty-two months of a four-year sentence for embezzlement. Though Nord Lafferty could deny his daughter nothing, he wasn't there for her when she was brought up on this charge. Now he wants to be sure she stays straight, stays at home and away from drugs, the booze, the gamblers.
It seems a straightforward assignment for Kinsey: babysit Reba until she settles in, make sure she follows all the niceties of her parole. May 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 around.
"'Skilful and ingenious' Irish Times; 'I love Sue Grafton's Kinsey Millhone novels… you are never disappointed' Guardian; 'Will keep you awake until the last page has been turned' Daily Mail"
'My name is Kinsey Millhone. I'm a private investigator, licensed by the state of California. I'm thirty-two years old, twice divorced, no kids. The day before yesterday I killed someone and the fact weighs heavily on my mind…' When Laurence Fife was murdered, few cared. A slick divorce attorney with a reputation for ruthlessness, Fife was also rumoured to be a slippery ladies' man. Plenty of people in the picturesque Southern California town of Santa Teresa had reason to want him dead including, thought the cops, his young and beautiful wife, Nikki. With motive, access and opportunity, Nikki was their number one suspect and the Jury thought so too. Eight years later and out on parole, Nikki Fife hires Kinsey Millhone to find out who really killed her husband. But the trail has gone cold and there is a chilling twist even Kinsey didn't expect…"Skilful and ingenious". – "Irish Times". "I love Sue Grafton's Kinsey Millhone novels…you are never disappointed." – "Guardian". "Will keep you awake until the last page has been turned" – "Daily Mail".
Thirty-four years ago, Violet Sullivan put on her party finery and left for the annual Fourth of July fireworks display. She was never seen again.
In the small California town of Serena Station, tongues wagged. Some said she'd run off with a lover. Some said she was murdered by her husband.
But for the not-quite-seven-year-old daughter Daisy she left behind, Violet's absence has never been explained or forgotten.
Now, thirty-four years later, she wants the solace of closure.
In S is for Silence, Kinsey Millhone's nineteenth excursion into the world of suspense and misadventure, S is for surprises as Sue Grafton takes a whole new approach to telling the tale. And S is for superb: Kinsey and Grafton at their best.
From Publishers Weekly
"D" is for Detective Kinsey Millhone, given $25,000 of stolen drug money by a drunkard named Daggett who then dies in a drowning. When she decides to deliver the money to Daggett's designee, a young man who was the sole survivor of an auto accident perpetrated by Daggett, Kinsey finds herself in a dilemma: too many "D's" are after the loot. There are two Mrs. Daggetts, a daughter, the drug dealers and a determined killer who soon claims a second life. At this point, Grafton's lively, well-written adventure develops a deadly flaw. Kinsey comes upon the second victim shortly after he's been shot. Though dying, he is conscious and coherent. Why, then, doesn't she ask who did it? When asked the same thing by the police, she says, "I didn't want the last minutes of his life taken up with that stuff"a humane but unlikely rejoiner from any private eye. Even so, the pleasure of this story comes through. Let's give it a "D" for Dandy.