Friday, November 08, 2013

W is for Wasted by Sue Grafton

(hb; 2013: twenty-third book in the Kinsey Millhone mysteries)

From the inside flap:

"The first [corpse] 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 found on the beach six weeks later.  He'd been sleeping rough.  Probably homeless.  No identification.  A slip of paper with Kinsey Millhone's name and number was in his pants pocket.  The coroner asked her to come down to the morgue to see if she could ID him.

"Two seemingly unrelated deaths, one a murder, the other apparently from natural causes.

"But as Kinsey digs deeper into the mystery of the John Doe, some very strange links begin to emerge.  Before long, at least one problem is solved when Kinsey literally finds the key to the John Doe's identity.

" 'And just like that,' she says, 'the lid to Pandora's box flew open.  It would take me another day before I understood how many imps had been freed, but for the moment, I was inordinately pleased with myself.'

"In this multilayered tale, the surface seems clear-cut, but beneath them is a fault line of betrayals, misunderstandings, age-old resentments, unnerving complications, and outright murderous fraud.  And Kinsey, through no fault of her own, finds herself thoroughly compromised."


W is for Wasted is another engaging PI-suspense novel from Grafton.  She once again imbues her work with a palpable sense of anything-goes danger, and its white-knuckle climax and equally satisfying wrap-up left me impatient for the next Kinsey novel.

That said, I can see why readers who prefer Grafton's leaner, earlier writing might be put out by the last few books in the Kinsey series - yes, they're more chatty at times; yes, they cut between multiple POVs* (in W it's limited to two). These flaws - minor (for me) - didn't prevent me from enjoying W.

If you fall into the "Kinsey's gone to crap" camp, don't bother reading W or anything Grafton writes in the future. Move on, find other authors who make you happy - life, especially in this age of don't-think-just-immediately-respond technology, is negative enough without seeking/creating more unnecessary unpleasantness. . . Or, if you feel you must (try to) read W, check it out from the library. Then that way, you won't have directly spent money on it.

Followed by X.

[*points of view]

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