Tuesday, May 05, 2009

'K' is for Killer, by Sue Grafton

(pb; 1994: eleventh book in the Kinsey Millhone mysteries)

From the back cover:

"When Kinsey Millhone answers her office door late one night, she lets in more darkness than she realizes. Janice Kepler is a grieving mother who can't let the death of her beautiful daughter Lorna alone. The police agree that Lorna was murdered but a suspect was never apprehended: the trail is now ten months cold. Kinsey pieces together Lorna's young life: a dull day job at the local water treatment plant spiced by sidelines into prostitution and pornography. She tangles with Lorna's friends: a local late-night DJ; a sweet, funny teenaged hooker; Lorna's sloppy landlord and his exotic wife; her all-business boss; the wealthy nurse whose house and elderly father Lorna babysat. But to find out which one, if any, turned killer, Kinsey will have to inhabit a netherworld from which she may never return. . ."


Echoes of Chinatown resound throughout this Kinsey Millhone outing, as she attempts to figure out what it was that waterworks employee/prostitute Lorna Kepler was killed for. Was she murdered for knowing too much about a possibly-dirty land/water political deal? Did it have something to with her sidegig as a prostitute/porn flick actress? Or was it something else?

Grafton, excellent writer that she is, deftly avoids hewing too close the Chinatown template, putting out a tale that's decidedly Millhone-ish. The bad guys aren't too obvious, the writing is reader-hooking, and the chilling conclusion is one that's sure to cause plot- and character-ripples in future Millhone outings.

Check this series out!

Followed by 'L' is for Lawless.

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