Tag Archives: Sue Grafton

Book Review of “R” Is For Ricochet By Sue Grafton

“R” Is For Ricochet

By Sue Grafton

I don’t know what to say about this one. Grafton has delivered stupendous work in the past (and hopefully will keep doing so) but R for Ricochet got a bit messed up I believe. There is a bit too much going on in here – and it is not all that captivating.

Santa Teresa detective Kinsey is hired by a wealthy man Nord Lafferty to drive his daughter (Reba) home from prison.

Reba has been a brat – a spoilt child. Now that she is released, her father is concerned and wants her to stay away from trouble. She had committed a fraud and admitted the crime, for which the judge had given her a four year sentence, but she is released early for good behavior.

Kinsey and Reba talk, share stuff and crib together and of course become friends.

Reba admits to her gambling habits. She promises her parole officer she would stay off gambling and drinking during her parole time.

Kinsey takes Reba for dinner that evening where they bump into Reba’s ex-employer Alan Beck. Kinsey realizes this is a set up. Beck was the one who put Reba in the prison in the first place. She pretends to leave but hides and watches Reba and Beck making love in the backseat of Beck’s car.

Reba wants to elope with Beck but the cops are closing in on Beck for some money laundering stunt.

Kinsey’s baby-sitting task turns out to be a bit more complex – like her other cases.

A fed agent visits Kinsey and wants her to convince Reba to turn witness for the FBI and put Beck behind the bars for all his hideous acts. He even has photographs of Beck in bed with another woman.

Reba decides to avenge herself (after seeing the proofs) but the feds want things their way. Kinsey to tries to coax Reba to listen to the authorities before things go out of control and she is put back into the prison.

This suspense-thriller, set in the 80’s, lacks the usual action. Not to say there is none – but I liked the earlier series better. This one has many predictable parts. The characters have been etched fine and you do end up caring for Reba. She is fun, reckless and seems hopelessly in love. Kinsey is more mature and serious and also gains a love interest in this one.

But there was no fun in knowing about Kinsey’s old landlord/neighbour’s love interest; or his brother’s case; etc.

Read it only if you have bought the book. Else skip it – no loss.

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Book Review of “S – Is For Silence” By Sue Grafton

“S” Is For Silence

By Sue Grafton

 

In this one, Sue Grafton’s main protagonist Kinsey Millhon, a Private Investigator, is asked to solve an almost 34 year old mystery.

On the 4th of July, 1953, Violet Sullivan had left her daughter Daisy (seven years old) under a babysitter’s care and gone to see the fireworks of the 4th of July. She drove a 1953 Chevrolet Bel Air and had taken her dog along. But she never returned and no one saw her after that.

Daisy, now grown, seeks Kinsey’s help to trace her mother. Though apprehensive about such an old mystery Kinsey takes up the case. Daisy provides Kinsey with newspaper clippings and contacts of all the possible people who knew Violet-the babysitter, the neighbors, the cops of the town, the relatives, the husband, but it all seems like a wild goose chase. Serena Station (the town) is too small to hide secrets it seems and everyone has an opinion (a rather nasty one) about Violet’s character.

The options for Violet’s disappearance are many. She could have either run away with her secret lover (since her marriage was hitting the rocks) or she could’ve been murdered. As Kinsey goes deeper into the case she suspects many people with a motive to kill Violet. Some secrets are being hidden. What they are, Kinsey needs to find out.

But someone seems to be stalking Kinsey too. Her room and car are tempered with. But towards the end Kinsey manages to solve the mystery, almost getting herself killed in the process.

S for Silence makes for a cool crime-detective novel. The action shifts between two different time frames. A different approach by Grafton compared to her previous 18 novels.

The plot gradually unravels, keeping the readers hooked on till the last page. But funnily, Kinsey’s conclusions and interpretations are based on her instinct. Rather unusual for a PI of Kinsey’s caliber. Overall, this is an interesting (stand-alone) novel in the alphabet series of Sue Grafton.

 

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Book Review of “T- Is For Trespass” by Sue Grafton

“T” Is For Trespass

By Sue Grafton

T is for Trespass is an entertaining mystery with a gripping tale of treachery. Though the setting dates back to the 80’s, the instances are relevant to today’s time.

The trespasser here is Solana Rojas, a con artist who has a thirty five year old developmentally disabled, obese, and emotionally disturbed son named Tomasso. She uses dishonest and illegal means to make quick bucks. Also, Solana is not her real name. It is a fake identity that she has assumed over the years posing as a home help nurse, caring for elderly people. She is smart to ascertain her victim’s net worth before robbing them in the most unsuspicious way.

She is now assigned to take care of Kinsey’s elderly friend – Gus Vronsky after he has a bad fall and is hospitalized.

Gus is a cranky old man always complaining, yelling and making a nuisance of himself for his neighbors. After his hospitalization his great-niece Melanie flies in form NY and hires Solana (the imposter) as his caretaker, after a brief and satisfactory background check. Solana soon gets on with her con-job and appraises Vronsky’s paintings and searches his house for jewelry and other assets while keeping him mostly sedated. She begins to set the stage for Gus’s death.

Through lies, deception, deliberately confusing times of day and drugging his food, he soon appears to have dementia and memory loss to friends who visit.

Kinsey gets a bit suspicious of Gus’s personality change and starts her own investigation, only to become an object of Solana’s abuse.

It is soon discovered that Solana Rojas is one of the darkest and most dangerous sociopaths Kinsey Millhone has ever encountered. As the plot unfolds the readers enjoy a battle of wits between herself and a formidable adversary to rescue Gus from a life threatening situation.

Grafton juggles many story lines with ease and keeps them pretty much interesting and entertaining.
The tale is gripping but depressing at the same time. It deals with current common newsworthy topics – elder abuse and theft. She highlights the miseries and dangers that stalk our older citizens. Too often, children and other relatives live far away and are preoccupied with their own concerns to care for them. And thus fall easy prey to opportunists looking to con them.

The pace of the novel is smooth and fast. It also provides a fresh perspective (the villain’s POV). The characterization is commendable.

Though the climax was a bit abrupt the story overall was highly interesting and unique.

 

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Book Review of “U- Is For Undertow” By Sue Grafton

“U” Is For Undertow

By Sue Grafton

“U is for Undertow” is an interestingly mind-tickling thriller/murder-mystery tactfully presented by Sue Grafton.

Brilliantly descriptive with crisp writing and well ideated plots, this is a satisfying read that moves swiftly from flashbacks to present day (in 1988) and rallies all your emotions – from sympathy, to anger, to triumph.

The story jiggles between 1988 and a murder that happened around 1967.

The lead protagonist, Kinsey Millhone, is a PI solving crime mysteries and occasionally socializing with a select group of friends.

She is approached by Michael Sutton to investigate an unsolved kidnapping of a little girl, Mary Claire Fitzhugh, who disappeared twenty years ago.

Michael has a past history of “crying wolf” and trusting him becomes a bit difficult.

Her investigation leads to a bunch of complicated matters and revelations revolving around the (twenty year old) mystery. Shocking and stunning, none the less.

Add to it, sub plots about Kinsey’s past were really emotional and touching.

Not to forget the regular mix of greedy relatives, estranged/ dysfunctional families, shady characters, a blend of insight and drama to make the story darn interesting.

Kinsey comes across as a sharp, smart and “go-getter” kind of an investigator, who looks into all aspects of her notes with different perspectives lest she miss something.

Overall, a fine 21st installment by a master story teller who is just about 6 alphabets away from completing the unique alphabet soup!

 

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