Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Beach Read: V IS FOR VENGEANCE by Sue Grafton

Life usually limits me to reading while I eat breakfast and at the end of the day once the computer is closed down, the dishes are washed and the kitchen cleaned.  But there are some exceptions to this rule, and one is when the book is so good that no dinners are cooked, no laundry is done and definitely no email sent.  This book was one of those that fall into the life-interrupted-to-read categories.

Book Title: V is for Vengeance (Kinsey Millhone Series #22)
Author:  Sue Grafton
Genre: Mystery
Setting: Fictional town of Santa Teresa, CA, 1988
Format:  Hardcover
Pages:  437
Publication date: Dec, 2011
Publisher:  G.P. Putnam’s Sons, a member of The Penguin Group (USA), Inc
Opening Line: Philip Lanahan drove to Vegas in his 1985 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet, a snappy little red car his parents had given him two months before, when he graduated from Princeton.
Favorite Passage:  I placed a second copy of my report in an unlocked file drawer labeled GYNECOLOGY & FEMININE HYGIENE ISSUES, subjects I hoped the average thief would find repulsive. 

Beach Read Rating: 5 out of 5 Beach Umbrellas

Review: V is for Vicarious, because the writing was so rich that I lived main character Kinshey Milhone’s life for a few exciting days.  The writing in this book is superb.  Sue Grafton pays such attention to detail that the reader can’t help but be transported to Santa Teresa California (a fictional version of Santa Barbara, CA created by Ross Macdonald in his 1949 mystery The Moving Target.)  So enthralled was I that one afternoon I was confused when I looked up from my book and saw snowflakes outside my window.  Snowflakes in Southern California?  Oh, that’s right.  I live in New England and I’m not a PI who is being pursued by mobsters.  Phew.
          The alphabet series was originally written in first person only.  Long about the letter S (S is for Silence) Ms. Grafton started weaving 3rd person omniscient into her 1st person character of PI Kinsey Millhone.  She has perfected the blended viewpoint, and what makes it so well done is the unique “voice” of each of the POV characters.  I particularly liked the voice of the mobster, Lorenzo Dante Junior.  And the non-POV characters of Rosie the Romanian tavern owner, her psychosomatic husband William, the hapless and loveable thief Pinky Ford—well, the list goes on and on.  Every one of them is as real to me as my own neighbor.   
How much longer before W is released?  One, maybe two years?  I can’t bear to think about it!!! 

Flap Copy: 

A woman with a murky past who kills herself—or was it murder? A spoiled kid awash in gambling debt who thinks he can beat the system. A lovely woman whose life is about to splinter into a thousand fragments. A professional shoplifting ring working for the Mob, racking up millions from stolen goods. A wandering husband, rich and ruthless. A dirty cop so entrenched on the force he is immune to exposure. A sinister gangster, conscienceless and brutal. A lonely widower mourning the death of his lover, desperate for answers, which may be worse than the pain of his loss. A private detective, Kinsey Millhone, whose thirty-eighth-birthday gift is a punch in the face that leaves her with two black eyes and a busted nose.
And an elegant and powerful businessman whose dealings are definitely outside the law: the magus at the center of the web.
V: Victim. Violence. Vengeance. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have yet to read a Sue Grafton book, and I don't know why. With so many friends who really enjoy her novels, I suppose I should give it a try. Thanks, Jayne.