Tag: mystery

September 28, 2016

Review | N is for Noose by Sue Grafton

Review | N is for Noose by Sue GraftonN Is For Noose by Sue Grafton
Series: Kinsey Millhone, #14
Publisher: Fawcett, January 1970
Pages: 322
Format: Paperback
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Tom Newquist had been a detective in the Nota Lake sheriffs office --- a tough, honest cop respected by everyone. When he died suddenly, the town folk were sad but not surprised. Just shy of sixty-five. Newquist worked too hard, drank too much, and exercised too little.
Newquist's widow, Selma, didn't doubt the coroner's report. But still, she couldn't help wondering what had so bothered Tom in the last six weeks of his life. What was it that had made him prowl restlessly at night and brood constantly? Determined to help Selma find the answer, Kinsey Millhone sets up shop in Nota Lake, where she finds that looking for a needle in a haystack can draw blood --- very likely, her own ...

Slipping back into Kinsey’s world is like returning home. It’s comforting, despite the murders and violence that undoubtedly appear in each installment, and familiar. When she undertakes a case on the road as a favor for her friend (is he her friend? Not sure) Robert Dietz, Kinsey finds herself in arguably the biggest mess she’s dealt with.

Tom Newquist was an all-around popular guy in Nota Lake, so when he’s found dead in his truck on the side of the road, the town reels. Even though he was one of two police investigators in the area, no one seems to hold a grudge against him, yet Selma, Newquist’s bizarre widow, can’t shake the feeling that there’s more to the story. Enter Kinsey.

N is for Noose isn’t a cut-and-dried murder mystery, at least, not in the beginning. Instead, Kinsey faces the wild dynamics of a small, tight-knit town, an employer whom she’s pretty sure doesn’t tell the whole truth (only when it suits her), and a nagging feeling in her stomach that just won’t go away. There’s something definitely wrong in Nota Lake…but what it is?

While Tom’s murder was the initial hook for the mystery, I was drawn into the town vs. Kinsey dynamic that permeated the pages. Kinsey was an outsider, asking questions that wasn’t any her never mind. Small towns generally don’t take too kindly to that. The friction and tension in the atmosphere created this draw, this intense need to read the next page, to know what happened.

N is for Noose had even more surprises lying in wait. After reading 13 of Grafton’s other books, I thought I had her pattern down pretty well. I even thought I knew who the killer was and why.

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Won’t make that mistake twice. She blew me away. The killer, the motive, the method…that final scene was just simply amazing.

4 Stars

Posted September 28, 2016 by Ellen in reviews / 0 Comments
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August 25, 2016

Review | M is for Malice by Sue Grafton

Review | M is for Malice by Sue GraftonM Is For Malice by Sue Grafton
Series: Kinsey Millhone, #13
Publisher: Fawcett, January 1970
Format: Hardcover
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Approaching middle age warily, PI Kinsey Millhone of the Southern California coast is mildly depressed, romantically vulnerable and in the process of reassessing her family ties. Yet, when it comes to her professional abilities, she's at the top of her form, as this deftly plotted and absorbing novel proves. Bader Malek, a local industrial tycoon, has died, and his four sons now stand to inherit a substantial fortune. But one of them, Guy, has been missing since 1968. A drug addict, ne'er-do-well and all-around miscreant, Guy had been disinherited by his exasperated father shortly before he vanished. But that particular will has disappeared, and Kinsey has been hired by the family to find out if Guy is still alive and thus in line to collect his original portion of the estate.

When Kinsey Millhone thinks of the letter “M,” the first thing that comes to mind is murder. Yet when her long-lost cousin, the probate lawyer, asks her to lend a hand to close a missing person’s case, Kinsey finds herself embroiled in a family fueled by murder and malice.

Although M is for Malice isn’t an unusual set-up for one of Kinsey’s case, I was drawn into the story. There was one outstanding difference between this thirteenth book and her other twelve: the victim.

When rebel-without-a-cause Guy Malek left the family home, he didn’t expect to return to it a changed man. Yet, when Kinsey knocks on the door of the reformed bad boy, born again Christian, Malek enters the story with an unexpected touch of innocence. It’s like he grew younger – instead of older and wiser, he became slightly more naive and searched constantly for the good in other people. It created a protective need in both Kinsey and I.

His family, in turn, may win the award for the biggest bunch of arrogant misfits yet. An older brother with a desperate need to control everything, his borderline alcoholic wife, and two younger brothers who have no idea who they truly are and no real desire to figure it out. Leaving Guy Malek with them was something like a sheep among wolves.

The innocence of Guy and the madness of his family created a fantastic story, one that Kinsey narrated, for the most part. She stayed in the background, watching this family drama play out. Normally, the decision to stick her to the sidelines would bother me, but with all the drama going on, it was the perfect choice.

I liked that Grafton pushed Kinsey a little personally. Bringing back Robert Dietz, her old flame, to act as a partner in M is for Malice forced Kinsey to confront some demons she didn’t know she was carrying.

All in all, I loved it. M is for Malice had a great hook – the impressionable, irresistable Guy Malek.

4 Stars

Posted August 25, 2016 by Ellen in reviews / 0 Comments
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August 4, 2016

Review | L is for Lawless by Sue Grafton

Review | L is for Lawless by Sue Grafton"L" is for Lawless by Sue Grafton
Series: Kinsey Millhone, #12
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks, November 2009
Pages: 352
Format: Paperback
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When Kinsey Millhone's landlord asks her to help deceased World War II vet Johnnie Lee's family find out why the military has no record of his service, she thinks it'll be a cinch. But she is about to meet her match in world-class prevaricators who take her for the ride of her life.
When Lee's apartment in burgled and a man named Ray Rawson, who claims to be an old friend of Lee's, is beaten up, Kinsey soon finds herself on the trail of a pregnant woman with a duffel bag. Soon the intrepid P.I. is following leads halfway across the country and encountering another man from Lee's past—a vengeful psychopath.
Stalked by a new enemy and increasingly suspicious of Rawson—not to mention running out of time and money—now Kinsey must steer a collision course to solve a decades-old mystery that some would like better left unsolved.…

When Kinsey agrees to do a small favor for her landlord, Henry, she thinks it’ll be a small investigation. Well, not even an investigation – more of a research project. When a simple search for a deceased’s military ID turns into a story of cops and robbers, a missing stash of cash and jewels, and a lawless man’s hidden history, Kinsey may finally be in over her head.

Logically, I didn’t expect all of the Kinsey Millhone books to be murder mysteries, but I will admit missing the hunt and drama that accompanies Kinsey’s search for a killer. Instead, L is for Lawless tells the tale of how a seemingly simple quest to give a veteran a military burial turns out to be one of the oddest mysteries Kinsey’s ever unraveled.

To be honest, I’m not sure how I feel about this installment. I appreciated Grafton’s effort to shake it up, but Kinsey’s trek halfway across the country to unravel the truth about the veteran who wasn’t a veteran didn’t do it for me.

Kinsey herself felt disjointed, misplaced. From Dallas onward, it just didn’t feel like Kinsey. The odd situation and race against time didn’t showcase her character – instead, the landscape and weird family dynamics of the minor characters took over Lawless. Consequently, the rest of the story began to fall flat, and I found my mind wandering more often than not.

I would have loved more about Rosie and William’s wedding – the little glimpses Grafton shares were downright hilarious. As two well-loved recurring minor characters, I felt they deserved more of the story’s time.

Maybe L is for Lawless wasn’t a winner for me, but I’ll keep plugging away at the Kinsey’s stories. After loving the first 11 of them, maybe #12 was just a hiccup.

Posted August 4, 2016 by Ellen in reviews / 1 Comment
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July 11, 2016

Review | The Fifth Gospel by Ian Caldwell

Review | The Fifth Gospel by Ian CaldwellThe Fifth Gospel by Ian Caldwell
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, March 2015
Pages: 431
Format: Hardcover
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A mysterious exhibit is under construction at the Vatican Museums. The curator is murdered at a clandestine meeting on the outskirts of Rome a week before it opens. That same night, a violent break-in rocks the home of Greek Catholic priest Father Alex Andreou. When the papal police fail to identify a suspect in either crime, Father Alex decides that to find the killer he must reconstruct the secret of what a little-known, true-to-life fifth gospel known as the Diatessaron reveals about the church’s most controversial holy relic. But just as he begins to understand the truth about his friend’s death and its consequences for the future of the Christian church, Father Alex discovers a ruthless stalker is hunting him—an enemy with a vested stake in the exhibit that he must outwit to survive.
Rich, authentic, erudite, and emotionally searing, The Fifth Gospel is a riveting novel of suspense and a feast of biblical history that satisfies on every level.

When Father Alex Andreou volunteers to help a new curator friend research the gospels to prepare for his new exhibit, he expects nothing extraordinary. Yet when his friend is killed in a mysterious meeting, Alex is pulled into a deep mystery involving the Shroud of Turin, a discovered fifth gospel, and more secrets the Vatican is desperately trying to hide. As Alex struggles to free his brother, arrested for murder, and uncover the truth, he will discover more than he ever expected.

I’m a sucker for religious history. The Da Vinci Code might have introduced me to the layers beneath the Catholic church, but it also launched a intense curiosity for all things religious (not just Christian, as you might have noticed). When I found The Fifth Gospel lingering on the shelf at the library, it felt like kismet.

To be frank, The Fifth Gospel is nothing like The Da Vinci Code. Caldwell tries to recreate the same fascinating mystery, the intense need to churn through the pages as quickly as possible, but the result is a little more lackluster. Don’t get me wrong – the plot is interesting enough, but not enough to hook me.

In fact, if it weren’t for the vast amounts of religious history, I probably would have chalked this book up to DNF and put it back in my library bag. Alex was interesting enough, but as much as I tried, I didn’t feel that connection with him, that investment. Why? He kept telling me how he felt, instead of showing me.

But the history…oh, it plucked my nerdy heartstrings. I know next to nothing about the Orthodox Church, but have been intrigued by it. I loved how Alex epitomized the differences between the two churches, even as a man (an Orthodox priest who worked for the Vatican) who belonged to both and neither at once. The light biblical theology and the heavy religious history piqued my curiosity enough to start delving into the history and traditions of the Orthodox.

Typically, the religious history/thriller fiction I’ve read portrays either a nameless or a fictional pope. I found Caldwell’s decision to use John Paul slightly unsettling. He isn’t depicted negatively – if anything, he’s a symbol of power – but the scenes with him yanked me out of the fictional world.

While The Fifth Gospel isn’t the heart-pounding, intense religious history/thriller I was hoping for, the amount of real history of examination of traditions makes up for it. If you’re looking for another Da Vinci Code, this book is a pass.

3 Stars

Posted July 11, 2016 by Ellen in reviews / 0 Comments
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July 1, 2016

Review | K is for Killer by Sue Grafton

Review | K is for Killer by Sue GraftonK is for Killer by Sue Grafton
Series: Kinsey Millhone, #11
Publisher: Ballantine Books, January 1970
Pages: 292
Format: Hardcover
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When Kinsey Millhone answers her office door late one night, she lets in more darkness than she realizes. Janice Kepler is a grieving mother who can't let the death of her beautiful daughter Lorna alone. The police agree that Lorna was murdered, but a suspect was never apprehended and the trail is now ten months cold. Kinsey pieces together Lorna's young life: a dull day job a the local water treatment plant spiced by sidelines in prostitution and pornography. She tangles with Lorna's friends: a local late-night DJ; a sweet, funny teenaged hooker; Lorna's sloppy landlord and his exotic wife. But to find out which one, if any, turned killer, Kinsey will have to inhabit a netherworld from which she may never return.
From the Paperback edition.

On the surface, Lorna Kelper was an ordinary girl, if a little private. In one of the more grisly cases at the Santa Teresa Police Department, she was found dead in her home, a case left unsolved for years. But when Lorna’s mother arrives on Kinsey’s office doorstep late one night, asking for help in finding her daughter’s killer, Kinsey can’t refuse.

Grafton’s 11th book takes a turn to the darker side. While I wouldn’t consider the Kinsey Millhone series light and fluffy, the dark nature of the victim and crime took the series down a darker path. Part was due to the life of the victim herself: a manipulative woman living on the edge, working as a prostitute and testing the patience of those who loved her. I didn’t identify with Lorna or her surviving family, but I felt for them. The arrogance, the denial, the hurt that haunts that household as potently as if Lorna’s ghost actually drifted in the halls.

Kinsey’s relationships didn’t feel quite as real in K is for Killer. I liked the minor characters, but they didn’t have the same vibrancy I’d come to expect from Grafton. They mist have been overshadowed by Lorna’s powerful character – it’s hard to overlook a whirlwind like her.

When Cheney, the new guy, arrives on the scene, I was thrilled. It’s about time Kinsey’s personal life got a little shakeup. At first, everything seemed fine, yet more than halfway through the book, he suddenly mentions a girlfriend. Kinsey doesn’t act surprised, but I found myself rocked and more than a little confused.

Despite a few plot holes, K is for Killer is fascinating. I had to find out what happened to Lorna, why it happened. When Kinsey tugs at a few strings in the family’s defenses, the whole ball unravels and opens the door to the most fascinating depictions of how different people handle grief and jealousy.

As a fan of Grafton’s series, I found K is for Killer fascinating, but without the previous context, it might fall flat for some readers. Yet I loved the darker turn and the focus on the grief, jealousy, and how it affects us.

4 Stars

Posted July 1, 2016 by Ellen in reviews / 0 Comments
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June 18, 2016

Review | A Drop of Night by Stefan Bachmann

Review | A Drop of Night by Stefan BachmannA Drop of Night by Stefan Bachmann
Publisher: Greenwillow Books, March 2016
Pages: 464
Format: Hardcover
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Seventeen-year-old Anouk has finally caught the break she’s been looking for—she's been selected out of hundreds of other candidates to fly to France and help with the excavation of a vast, underground palace buried a hundred feet below the suburbs of Paris. Built in the 1780's to hide an aristocratic family and a mad duke during the French Revolution, the palace has lain hidden and forgotten ever since. Anouk, along with several other gifted teenagers, will be the first to set foot in it in over two centuries.
Or so she thought.
But nothing is as it seems, and the teens soon find themselves embroiled in a game far more sinister, and dangerous, than they could possibly have imagined. An evil spanning centuries is waiting for them in the depths. . .
A genre-bending thriller from Stefan Bachmann for fans of The Maze Runner and Joss Whedon’s The Cabin in the Woods.
You cannot escape the palace.
You cannot guess its secrets.

Anouk is on the adventure of a lifetime. After receiving a mysterious letter in the mail and completing the vast amounts of training, she’s finally on her way to help with one of history’s most astounding discoveries yet: a forgotten palace from the French Revolution. But there’s more hidden in this historical site than meets the eye, a horror laying in wait for centuries.

I had one major problem with A Drop of Night that I just couldn’t get over, as much as I tried.

I hated Anouk.

If you’ve been with me for a while, you might notice that I rarely say I hate a character. Usually, I can find something in them, some redeeming quality. With her…no.

From the opening pages of A Drop of Night, she was bratty (scribbling her goodbye note on her parents’ fridge), childish (inner monologue is all about how jealous she is of her sister), plain bitchy (who doesn’t tell their parents they’re running off to France?), arrogant (inner monologue also details how almighty smart she is. Right.), and just rude (to the driver, the other students on the plane). How on earth am I supposed to identify with this girl?

To be honest, I didn’t. I couldn’t get over the opening introduction to her character, which seemed to deteriorate as A Drop of Night continued. Consequently, the entire premise of the story fell flat and I found myself yearning for it to be over.

The one redeeming quality that raised this from a one star to two? I loved Bachmann’s flashbacks to the French Revolution. His writing came to life in these scenes. I saw the light from the torches, heard the madness of the mob, and felt my heart race with the family as they struggled for safety.

More French Revolution, less (or no) Anouk? A winner for me. A Drop of Night? Not my cup of tea.

2 Stars

Posted June 18, 2016 by Ellen in reviews / 1 Comment
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June 13, 2016

Review | Free Agent by J.C. Nelson

Review | Free Agent by J.C. NelsonFree Agent by J.C. Nelson
Series: Grimm Agency, #1
Publisher: Ace, July 2014
Pages: 281
Format: Paperback
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When it comes to crafting happily-ever-afters, the Agency is the best in the land of Kingdom. The Fairy Godfather Grimm can solve any problem—from eliminating imps to finding prince charming—as long as you can pay the price…
Working for Grimm isn’t Marissa Locks’s dream job. But when your parents trade you to a Fairy Godfather for a miracle, you don’t have many career options. To pay off her parents’ debt and earn her freedom, Marissa must do whatever Grimm asks, no matter what fairy-tale fiasco she’s called on to deal with.
Setting up a second-rate princess with a first-class prince is just another day at the office. But when the matchmaking goes wrong, Marissa and Grimm find themselves in a bigger magical muddle than ever before. Not only has the prince gone missing, but the Fae are gearing up to attack Kingdom, and a new Fairy Godmother is sniffing around Grimm’s turf, threatening Marissa with the one thing she can’t resist: her heart’s wishes.
Now Marissa will have to take on Fairies, Fae, dragons, and princesses to save the realm—or give up any hope of ever getting her happy ending…

All Marissa Locks wants is to be a free agent. Is that really too much to wish for?

Yet, due to the deal struck between her parents and Grimm, the Fairy Godfather, Marissa needs years’ worth of Glitter to pay off the debt. And, well, to be honest, she kind of likes working as Grimm’s agent, helping to keep the peace in the magical and non-magical worlds and help lost princesses find their princes. But when a straightforward matchmaking mission goes awfully awry, it’s up to Marissa to save them all.

To be honest, I didn’t expect much from Free Agent. Partly due to my cranky mood when I started it and my hit/miss relationship with books lately. Thankfully, J.C. Nelson saved the day with Marissa’s character.

She’s complicated. A girl thrust into the world of indentured servitude (even though Grimm is a nice guy, it’s not every girl’s dream to set up everyone else’s happy-ever-afters) without her memories of her past is bound to left afloat and lost in the world. Despite her bravado, Marissa has the same fears and uncertainties that haunt many of us. It’s her decision to throw the matchmaking mission’s plans to the wind that makes her stand out, creating an underdog.

I especially loved the world building, the idea that a magical kingdom sat over an everyday street, accessible only if you knew how. There were touches of whimsy throughout Free Agent that gave it the fairy tale feel we love, but grounded by hints of darkness to keep it from getting too frivolous.

Grimm’s character is one of more complicated in the story. I would love to get an inside glimpse into his story and more about his world (we get a bit, but not much). Maybe that will come in future stories?

The only drawback to Free Agent is the pace. The pace is all over the place. quiet, quiet, quiet, ACTION, infodump, quiet, quiet, ACTION. The action scenes were good, the quiet okay, but the infodumps could be spread out a little more.

Regardless, Free Agent was a surprising, fun read. I can’t wait to see what happens next with Armageddon Rules!

 

3 Stars

Posted June 13, 2016 by Ellen in reviews / 0 Comments
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June 6, 2016

Review | J is for Judgment by Sue Grafton

Review | J is for Judgment by Sue GraftonJ is for Judgment by Sue Grafton
Series: Kinsey Millhone, #10
Publisher: Ballantine Books, December 1997
Pages: 360
Format: Hardcover
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Wendell Jaffe looks great for a dead man! He’s been six feet under for five years ago—until his former insurance agent spots him at a dusty resort bar in Mexico. Now California Fidelity wants its insurance money back. Can P.I. Kinsey Millhone get on the case?
Just two months earlier, Jaffe’s widow pocketed $500,000 in insurance benefits after Jaffe went overboard. Was his “pseudocide” a last-ditch effort to do right by his beloved wife? Perhaps. But how would that explain the new woman in Jaffe’s second life?
Kinsey is in for the long haul as she delves deeper into the mystery surrounding Jaffe’s life and death…and discovers that, in family matters as in crime, sometimes it's better to reserve judgment…

A missing (presumed dead) man spotted, an empty sailboat recovered, and a million dollar insurance policy paid out. When Kinsey Millhone hears the particulars of California Insurance’s case, her natural curiosity calls for her to dig in. But when Kinsey gets caught up in the midst of family drama, it’s hard not to cast blame in J is for Judgement.

loved the deep dive into Kinsey’s past. It’s always been Kinsey and her aunt Gin since her parents died in a horrific car accident. She’s grown up independent, and she’s just fine with that, thank you very much…right? But when the case reveals that her extended family isn’t as far away as she thinks, Kinsey suddenly has to struggle with whether or not she wants to be a part of their world. I loved how Grafton explores the difference between what we actually want and what we’re just used to.

The case behind J is for Judgement is a mix of sad and intriguing. The missing man, Wendell Jaffe, leaves behind a wife, two teenage sons, and a mountain of debut for his family to dig themselves out of. It’s a heartbreaking situation, but the family rebuilds their lives the best they can. But when a retired CI insurance agent spots the missing man living it up in Mexico, his wife and sons have to struggle against a recurrence of the pain.

J is for Judgement is less about Kinsey’s case and more of a look about what happens to the people left behind to pick up the pieces. Both Kinsey and Jaffe’s family has to learn how to live again after rebuilding their lives in the first place. It’s a much more human story than the traditional whodunit I had expected. Either way, it’s another crowning jewel in Grafton’s series.

4 Stars

Posted June 6, 2016 by Ellen in reviews / 0 Comments
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May 19, 2016

Review | The Good, the Bad, and the Undead by Kim Harrison

Review | The Good, the Bad, and the Undead by Kim HarrisonThe Good, the Bad, and the Undead by Kim Harrison
Series: The Hollows, #2
Publisher: HarperTorch, January 2005
Pages: 453
Format: Ebook
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Rachel Morgan, sexy witch, independent bounty hunter, prowls the downtown Cincinnati for criminal creatures of the night. She can handle leather-clad vamps and a cunning demon or two. But a serial killer who feeds on the experts in the most dangerous kind of black magic is an ancient, implacable evil that threatens her very soul.

Rachel Morgan is finally getting used to life as an independent bounty hunter (even though The Good, the Bad, and the Undead begins with what one could charitably call an unsuccessful run) when life throws her a curveball: the case of the missing warlock. As she starts digging, a new plot comes to light, complete with a serial killer stalking witches. What’s a girl to do?

Safe to say, I had mixed reactions to the characters in The Good, the Bad, and the Undead. I loved Rachel’s development from the first book in the series. She’s finally becoming comfortable in her own skin and being on her own. Her dependencies on others (specifically Ivy) are lessening, and her somewhat snarky true nature (which I love) is shining through.

Yet I had major issues with the two characters closest to Rachel, her boyfriend and her roommate.

I WANT NICK TO GROW A BACKBONE. (Yes, it needed all caps.) He feels like such a pushover, like there’s no motivation or thought process of his own. He makes some of the most ridiculous decisions View Spoiler » that drove me bananas. Ivy, in turn, has plenty of backbone, but needs to learn how to use it in the right way. The push and pull between Rachel and her is interesting, but when Ivy’s breakdown makes her MIA for a good section of the book, it’s too much.

I can’t get a read on these two characters. They’re entirely out of my realm, and without the connection to their motives, they feel more like flotsam than supporting characters.

However, I loved every other character. Trent’s revelation kept The Good, the Bad, and the Undead moving at a fantastic pace and made him my favorite character of the series. Jenks’ personality offsets Rachel’s perfectly and he’s easy to identify with. The family dynamics between Edden and Glenn (the two cops Rachel works with) cracked me up and wove into the story well.

Despite the ups and downs with the characters, I’m intrigued to see what Harrison will pull out next. Rachel’s stories are fun, a little wacky, and make for great reads. I just hope I can find a connection with the supporting characters to keep me invested.

3 Stars

Posted May 19, 2016 by Ellen in reviews / 0 Comments
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April 8, 2016

Review | I is for Innocent by Sue Grafton

Review | I is for Innocent by Sue GraftonI Is for Innocent by Sue Grafton
Series: Kinsey Millhone, #10
Publisher: Pan Publishing, August 2012
Pages: 404
Format: Paperback
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When Morley Shine, a fellow PI, dies from a heart attack, Kinsey Millhone takes over the seemingly simple task of gathering evidence for Lonnie Kingman, a local attorney immersed in a civil suit.
Stakes are high. David Birney, acquitted of his wealthy wife's murder five years ago, got his hands on her fortune. Now Kingman wants to divest Birney of the money in favor of the wife's child by an earlier marriage. But the statute of limitations has about run out, and there is little progress.
Kinsey's easy investigation turns into a nightmare. Shine's files are in disarray and the key informant lacks credibility. And she senses danger...a killer waiting to see what Kinsey uncovers. Somebody got away with murder once...will it be Kinsey's turn this time?
From the Compact Disc edition.

Kinsey’s life is a bit of an upheaval. After losing her job with California Fidelity in H is for Homicide, she’s looking for a lucky break. One comes after a fellow private investigator dies suddenly of a heart attack and she’s asked to take over his case. The case, gathering evidence to support a murder charge (already once overturned), suddenly becomes a full-fledged investigation, one that brings into question who is truly innocent.

 Grafton’s novels are great reads on many levels, but what keeps me coming back is the moral hidden in each of the stories. In I is for Innocent, Kinsey faces the challenge of untangling who is telling the truth and what really happened that fateful night (normal day for her), but also ends up as a judge of sorts, a role she didn’t expect. She finds herself discerning just how innocent everyone is, because short of herself View Spoiler », everyone is complicit in some way.

innocent

Grafton’s gentle (and occasionally not-so-gentle) reminder that everyone has skeletons in their closet of some kind created a different atmosphere for Innocent – Kinsey’s main focus turns to finding out just what on earth happened that night.

Aside from the morals, Grafton has once again penned a superior mystery. When David Barney is acquitted of the cold-blooded murder of his wife, Isabelle, Kenneth, Isabelle’s former husband, doesn’t buy it. The conflicting emotions, hidden motives and long-buried secrets are slowly revealed as Kinsey starts poking around in the old case files.

The biggest hook came in the conflicting responses and actions of Isabelle’s husbands, both widower and ex. Both gave me the vague creeps from their differing reactions to Isabelle’s death, but the unusual situation and the varying nature of their personalities kept me captivated.

4 Stars

Posted April 8, 2016 by Ellen in reviews / 0 Comments
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