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review 2020-02-05 17:04
P is for Peril
P is for Peril - Sue Grafton

This was such a good Kinsey Millhone mystery. I loved that I did not see the ending coming until Kinsey finally grasped what really went on. There were so many players in this one that I was wondering who was the murderer. I also liked we get to see Kinsey contemplating a new romantic interest who was not all that he seemed. 

 

"P is for Peril" has Kinsey employed by an ex-wife of a missing man (Dr. Dowan Purcell). His ex-wife Fiona believes his current wife, Crystal had something to do with things. Crystal has a somewhat shady past as an ex-dancer/stripper but now is a devoted mother to their son. When Kinsey starts investigating she soon realizes that Dr. Purcell had a lot of reasons to want to disappear. With him dealing with his ex-wife and their family, his current's wife's family, and some issues at his job, Purcell could be long gone. Kinsey being Kinsey though quickly starts to realize something is amiss. Along with that, Kinsey comes across to two brothers with her becoming a possible interest to one, Tommy Hevener. 

 

Kinsey was a little bit off for me in this book, in a good way. She starts to question herself once she starts to realize she is getting so many things wrong along the way with Dr. Purcell's case. She also wonders about getting romantically involved with Tommy. That one was a bit murkier, but Kinsey appears to like it when someone pushes back on her and her attitude. I thought it was interesting to have her involved with someone that wasn't her constantly missing ex or whatever he is, Robert Dietz.

 

I think it was a nice showcase to show that Kinsey's work at times is mostly lucky guesses. She gets shown as being arrogant and naive at times in this book which we know the fictional Kinsey would hate. 

 

This one ends a bit differently than other Millhone books though. Usually Grafton ends with an epilogue that ties up the case. However, I liked how she ended this one with you realizing what would come next, without you having it spelled out for you. 

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review 2019-11-18 17:56
Spirit of Christmas Past
O is for Outlaw - Sue Grafton

This book was a great look into Kinsey's past. We have heard offhand via the books that Kinsey was married twice. Her first marriage was to an ex-cop Mickey Macgruder and we know that Kinsey and he parted on bad terms. This book gives us even more information than what we were given before. Mickey was accused of murder and Kinsey bounced. She never talked to Mickey again after the divorce, but you start to see some glimmers in the man which probably is what led her to getting hooked up with her long-time lover Robert Dietz. This book does such a great job of developing Kinsey. She's like a pit-bull this entire book. Once she realizes that someone hurt Mickey and is setting her up to take the fall for it, she doesn't let go and her investigation leads her all the way back to the Vietnam War. 

 

"O is for Outlaw" has Kinsey at a bit of loose ends. When a storage vultuer (no idea what else to call the guy) calls Kinsey and tells her that a storage locker he bought has her stuff in it, he offers her cash for some of the belongings. Through that Kinsey realizes that her ex-husband Mickey has kept a ton of her things in this locker, but has stopped paying on it. When Kinsey gets her belongings back (l loved how she does that) she finds a letter sent to her which implies that Mickey was having an affair and was with his mistress at the time when Mickey was accused of killing some man. With that Kinsey starts trying to track down Mickey and get to the truth, which has her in the police's cross-hairs since someone out there is trying to make it seem as if Kinsey is part of whomever gunned down her ex.

 

 

Kinsey was great in this one. I think Grafton did a great job of showing that Kinsey was wrong about Mickey, and that her jealous over realizing the guy was cheating on her while married was actually understandable. You see her still feeling territorial over him, but also realizing that a lot of tricks she now employs she learned from him. At one point I did wonder was this book going to lead to Kinsey getting arrested, cause she seems to be dancing on the local police's nerves through this whole thing.


Other characters are fascinating to read about as well. Though we don't get any one on ones between Mickey and Kinsey, you get very good insight into him and what made him tick. You realize though the guy wasn't the greatest husband, he was actually a very good cop. 


Other people that Kinsey knew back in the day pop up in this one and that also helps you get a better sense of Kinsey too. She's kind of a prude is what someone says about her and I had to laugh at Kinsey's sense of outrage about that.


The writing actually moves at a fairly big clip. I wondered how Mickey's shooting could tie back to what happened years earlier and then when you find out what Mickey was up (investigation wise) I got even more hooked. It's a really fascinating story and there are a lot of moving parts in this one. The flow works from beginning to end and I really did feel a sense of sadness on how things ended in this one. Kinsey gets to the truth, but doesn't get to do a verbal amends. 

 

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review 2019-11-04 15:16
Kinsey Moves Settings to Slightly Average Results
N Is For Noose (Kinsey Millhone Mystery) - Sue Grafton

Not a bad look at Kinsey, just not that interesting I have to say. When Kinsey tends to leave Santa Teresa the story-line often suffers. This one just fell flat to me. I think that is because it's a lot of Kinsey not putting a lot of stuff together and the ending leaving things up in the air about what happens to someone. I don't like unresolved story-lines, and this one wasn't resolved to me.


"N is for Noose" has Kinsey agreeing to go and work for a client that is referred to her by Dietz. Kinsey drives to Carson City to take care of Dietz after he has surgery and quickly realizes she's aching for some alone time. When Dietz tells her about a case she can quickly look into she decides to take it. Kinsey arrives in the town of Nota Lake to meet with the widow of the former sheriff, Tom Newquist. Tom was found in his patrol car dead after suffering a heart attack. It does not appear to be foul play, but Tom's widow, Selma believes that something was weighing on his mind and wants to know if that could have caused him stress and could have led to his heart attack. Kinsey thinks the whole thing is just Selma throwing away good money, but she quickly starts to figure out that something is not quite right in Nota Lake, and that maybe someone out there knows what was causing Tom stress.


So Kinsey was just alright in this one. She keeps doing dumb things after dumb things which makes you wonder how she even survived as long as she has as an investigator. I think at one point when I read this for the first time through years ago, wondered if Grafton was setting up Kinsey to be murdered. Kinsey gets attacked in this one and wonders why someone is out there trying to hurt her since she can't figure out what if anything Tom's job had to do with what was troubling him. 


The characters we meet in this one don't really matter cause they are never referred to again in other books. One of the reasons why I loathe when Kinsey leaves Santa Teresa, we don't get a look at the usual suspects. I didn't care for Selma (the widow) at all and thought her son (Brant) was a jerk. The townspeople and people he worked with were secretive and definitely seemed hostile towards Selma and her attempts to figure out what was troubling her husband before his death. 


The writing was not really working for me much in this one. Still pretty solid, but I think the whole plot-line about what was troubling Tom was weak as hell. When we get the reveal my whole head hurt and honestly just decided to go with it. The flow was pretty good throughout, but after a while though it felt like Grafton was throwing stuff out there to keep the story going as long as she did.


The setting of Nota Lake reads like a town about to die out. The people there all seemed so off-putting and hostile I got why Kinsey didn't care for it either. After Kinsey is beaten, she returns to Santa Teresa and would not have blamed her for not returning. 

The ending as I said leaves things hanging about the culprit who tried to killed Kinsey. 

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review 2019-10-11 16:27
A Kinsey Installment Looking at Family
M Is For Malice (Kinsey Millhone, #13) - Sue Grafton

I ended up finishing this book last night and found the overall story to work quite well, while also providing us more details into Kinsey's maternal family as well as her relationship with Dietz. I was surprised by the ending though since I honestly couldn't figure out who the murderer was, and when we understand what happened and why I felt pity for the character of Guy Malek. Grafton is often able to write a victim of a murder in such a way that you get a pretty sense of them. She does the same thing here for Guy Malek.

 

"M is for Malice" is the 13th book in the Kinsey Millhone series. At this point readers should know the particulars, but of course Grafton lays them out for us again. Things are a bit different in this one though with Kinsey finally coming face to face with a maternal cousin she didn't know about until a few books ago. Kinsey's cousin Tasha talks to her about doing some work for her and that coincides with Robert Dietz popping back into Kinsey's life.

 

One of the many things that will make me sad about Sue Grafton passing away is that we never will get a resolution about Kinsey's romances. I know who I am rooting for though (no spoilers).

 

Kinsey in this one is more emotionally fragile than we are used to. She has to come to terms to realizing what her Aunt Gin told her about their family was a lie. And Kinsey has to come to terms with that she really isn't as much a loner as she professes. When her cousin Tasha asks her about tracking down wayward son, Guy Malek, Kinsey meets someone she has an instant kinship with. Something about Guy has Kinsey wanting to protect him, and when she sees how his family treats him, starts to feel worried that he should just leave the family home and get his inheritance. When Guy is found murdered though, Kinsey decides she is going to find out who killed Guy and why. 

 

The secondary characters are good in this one. The Malek family is a mess and a half and Grafton does a great job of showcasing all of the personalities as well as the servants that the family employs. Dietz sticks around for this one, which is surprising. It's been almost 3 years since Kinsey has seen him or heard from him and I definitely get why she was reluctant to have him near her again. I liked them together though in this one, Kinsey having someone to bounce ideas off of and also run down leads was interesting. 

 

The writing is typical Grafton. I usually get into a reading groove with these books and just hang on for the ride. The flow worked though I wanted at times the story to go faster since it felt like Kinsey was just spinning her wheels. The setting of the book is mostly in Santa Teresa. 

 

Next up is N is for Noose!

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review 2019-07-02 19:53
What Makes a Family
L is for Lawless (Kinsey Millhone, #12) - Sue Grafton

Have to say that this one was pretty good though the usual suspects are not in it much (Rosie, Henry, William, etc.). We have Kinsey following someone who stole something from a neighbor/client's home and then gets caught up with I guess you can just say are a family of not so bright thieves.

 

Kinsey is still prepping for Rosie and William's wedding in this one. She is asked by Henry to do a favor for the family of an old neighbor of both of them which causes her to go down a long winding path of ill gotten loot from decades ago. 

 

Kinsey is still smarting over finding out about what went down with her mother's side of the family after her father and mother died. She found out a few books ago that she has relatives that she never knew about and that her Aunt Gin had never told her about them. One wonders about Aunt Gin at times. Kinsey rejects any notion of family and then gets yanked into a case that is all about it. Irony. We still have Kinsey being a smart ass here and there, but she's mostly out of depth in this one. Most of the book is just her running from place to place it seems.


I can't say much about Henry or Rosie. They are in this one, but barely. It was interesting to read about Henry's siblings and loved hearing how they celebrated their birthdays. However, we don't spend much time with them which I thought was a shame. 

 

The writing is good though at times the plot gets way too complicated. We have the missing money as a plot and it never made much sense to me why Kinsey still sticks with the people she does though. The Kinsey we have known to this point would have peaced out and and minded her own business. The flow was a bit off though. I just found myself getting bored towards the end (hence the 4 stars). 


The setting of the book is mostly in Texas and Kentucky of all places. Since I am used to reading these books and thinking of California, it was a weird to have all of the action away from home and Kinsey's usual band of merry men and women.


The ending was sweet though and I did laugh at Kinsey having to suck it up and reach out to her mother's side of the family. 

 

 

 

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