Please note that there are spoilers for all previous events from prior books. Do not read if you have not read up to X by Sue Grafton.
You may recall my review for X and how frustrated I was with that book. I thought that the majority of that book was just filler. Kinsey felt off and Henry drove me nuts. It also seemed to have two stories smashed into one and neither of them worked. But with "Y is for Yesterday" Sue Grafton hits everything on such a pitch perfect level I have no qualms about saying this book is a five star read.
This book is going to be the end of 1989 for the Kinsey Millhone series. Z is for whatever it's going to stand for is I hope going to take place in 1990, but we'll have to see what tricks Sue Grafton has for us long time readers.
"Y is for Yesterday" has Kinsey taking a case that actually starts back in 1979. Kinsey is asked to find out who may be blackmailing a man just released from juvenile detention. Ten years ago, the man (Fritz) and his friends taped a gang rape. Though he was found guilty of murder as a juvenile, his family is afraid this tape may lead to him being incarcerated again.
I have to say that I love the fact that even though this book takes place in 1989 there's definitely some similarities to what's going on in the world today in this book. There's the question of rape, there's the question of getting consent, there's the question of violence against women and what do women do in order to fight back against that. I feel like all of those are discussion topics that are very relevant in today's world.
We have an older and finally wiser Kinsey. After a run in that almost left her dead, Kinsey decides to start taking some self defense classes, you as well as doing more security measures. She's had to change her routine, but she's doing what she can to stay safe while hoping to track down a serial killer. Her newest case gives her something to sink her teeth into which is leading Kinsey down a path that many would like her to leave alone. My favorite Kinsey is her fighting for the truth no matter what.
We have the usual suspects in this one. We have Henry, Rosie, William (in small doses thank God) Cheney Phillips, Kinsey's cousin Anna, and Jonah. We even have references to a lot of characters we haven't read or even interacted with in years. Heck we have Kinsey on the phone and hanging out with Vera.
I've really hated how isolated Kinsey felt to me in the past few books was just her interacting with Henry and Rosie. But this one definitely showcases how many people are connected to Kinsey, and how many people just love her.
I was really glad to finally see it seem to laying to rest her whole relationship with the missing Robert Dietz. And I think I see a game plan coming with regards to Cheney Phillips. It was good to read what was going on with him and finally having me not wanting to kick the crap out of him based on what I thought was going on with this character.
I do have to say though that the gullibility of Henry is starting to just work my nerves. But in this volume it ends up wrapping things up perfectly though with regards to another plot so I can't complain.
I honestly could not stand Kinsey's cousin Anna. I felt like she shoved her way into Kinsey's life and was trying to take over. But in this one we get some revelations about this character and I still don't understand how Kinsey didn't punch her in her face. But it definitely changes things for the good with the series so I'm kind of curious about where Grafton's going to go with this character next.
The writing was great and I cheered several times. Thank goodness Grafton makes a quick mention of the drought California is experiencing and moves on. No talk of water conservation.
"They were also committed to the notion of equality between the sexes, which spawned an unspoken competition to see who could force the other to knuckle under and pick up the slack."
"The odd but unremarkable truth about women is we’ve had the aggression bred right out of us."
“You’re denigrating my experience. Minimizing the impact. Guys are famous for putting women down. Why don’t you get over it? Why can’t you let it go?” she said mockingly. “What you really mean is, ‘Why make me eat shit for something that happened to you?’”
“I want to make sure you’re awake for this because I have one final word of advice. You don’t never want to mess with women, son. They will take you down.”
I thought that the flow in this book was really good. The books shifts perspective between Kinsey and her investigation and the events going on in her life, and then transitioning back to 1979 and focusing on different people who were involved in the events that led up to the murder of a young girl. You eventually can put two and two together and realize what happened with some of the key players but the final revelation I thought was great.
I always love visiting Santa Teresa and now in the 25th book this feels like such a real place to me with this town and this place that Kinsey calls home that I just would love to read about it for 25 more books.
I do have to say though I kind of wonder what is the end plan for Kinsey. At this point she has a ridiculous amount of money so she's just working and still living with Henry because she chooses to. She can move on anytime. She's now 39 years old so one wonders if she wishing for something new. The epilogue of the book ends in 1990, and now I wonder what's going to happen to Kinsey in this new era. The 1990s was what, the beginning of the AIDS crisis in America, more women in the workplace fighting for equality, we had a lot of scandals going on in America and worldwide, and we are going to start to see the rise of the computer age.
So I wonder if whenever we do get to the final volume with Z, where is that going to leave Kinsey. I hope it ends on a good note, I feel kind of scared like many readers did when JK Rowling was finishing with the Harry Potter series and people were begging her to please not kill Harry. So I'm just going to put that out there, please Sue's Grafton don't kill off Kinsey, I want her to have a happy ending.