Narrated by Judy Kaye
In 1979, 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…
I am a die-hard Kinsey Millhone fan and have read every book in the series but this one I listened to which felt like coming full circle. My first exposure to Kinsey was I don’t even remember how long ago. I was traveling and made a stop at my aunt and uncle’s house and my aunt said I should listen to books on tape while driving and she loaned me this great book she had called “A is for Alibi”. I don’t remember who narrated the first one but it definitely captured my imagination. This latest in the series was no less captivating than the first one. Kinsey seems to be a little bothered to have a case but needs something to do, if for no other reason than to get away from the homeless people camped out in her landlord’s yard. I have to say that Sue Grafton is really an expert at characterization and her characters always act in a way that surprises but seems to fit them completely. That being said, the facts of this case are at times graphic and brutal. The story moves back and forth between the events in 1979 and the “present day” of 1989. I was particularly impressed with the way that the author depicted how the past events, the choices the kids made as teenagers, impacted how their lives played out. These people are haunted by those events, each in different ways, but you get the sense that they will never be able to get away from them.
Finally, I want to give a shout-out to the cat in this story, who plays a key role in catching a bad guy. This book hits all the marks for me and if you haven’t yet met Kinsey, what are you waiting for?
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Kinsey Millhone is probably my all-time favorite female detective and she did not disappoint me with this investigation. In “X”, Kinsey is on the trail of a woman who hired her under false pretenses and then paid her in counterfeit bills. She has also discovered an unfinished investigation that Pete Wolinsky was working on at the time of his death and decides, rather reluctantly, to see it to completion. And just to make her days a little more interesting, she and Henry have some annoying neighbors and a water leak on the property.
As usual, I thoroughly enjoyed hanging out with Kinsey. She continues to delight me with her somewhat caustic personality and her persistence. I also really enjoy getting to hang out in sunny California while reading this series. Sue Grafton continues to deliver with carefully crafted plots that flow seamlessly from beginning to end. This story, in particular, has several different threads weaving through it that all work together to present an engaging mystery. Another job well done. Mystery lover should not miss out on this one, or any of the books in this series.
Alinefromabook’s rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 5 stars!!!
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I just love hanging out with Kinsey Millhone, and she is at the top of her game for this case. Kinsey is still living in Henry’s garage but there’s a new addition to the family, a cat named Ed. Personally, I love cats in mystery stories, so I was very excited when Ed appeared. There’s also a brief visit from a former love interest of Kinsey’s. So what’s going on with this time?
Kinsey is called to the morgue one day to identify a body. She’s never seen him before, so why did they call her? Her business card was found in the victim’s pocket. Terrence Dace, the victim, was a homeless man. Kinsey does some routine checking and finds out his identity, then she is present when his safe deposit box is opened. Inside is his will and much to Kinsey’s surprise, she is named not only as executor of Dace’s estate but also beneficiary of the half million dollars in that estate. Dace has explicitly disinherited his three children. Kinsey is going to have to break the news to them.
In parallel to Kinsey’s story is the story of Pete Wolinsky, a run-down, shady private eye who Kinsey was acquainted with but hadn’t, thankfully, had contact with for years. Pete is out for a buck, and while good intentioned, gets involved in something bigger than himself and ends up dead. There is no obvious connection between Pete’s death and Kinsey’s investigation of Terrence Dace’s death. But just keep reading.
As is usual in one of Sue Grafton’s books there are lots of twists and turns, and just when you think you have it figured out … you don’t. This book is another homerun for Grafton, perhaps the best yet. If you are a mystery lover and have not yet discovered this series, well, what are you waiting for?
W is for Wasted (Kinsey Millhone Mysteries)