23 September 2016

Review #527: X (Kinsey Millhone, #24) by Sue Grafton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.”

----Joe Klaas

Sue Grafton, an American bestselling author, returns with her popular alphabetical mystery series of Kinsey Millhone and this time it's the 24th letter, X that welcomes the infamous and odd female detective, Kinsey and her sarcasm about herself when she uses a marked bill at a grocery store that was paid by one of her recent clients, thereby leading her to dig up dirt about that mysterious client's background, also her late and former colleague's wife is facing a tax issue on her dead husband's assets, so Kinsey needs to find out what her former colleague was working on and last but not the least, her landlord is facing trouble with new next door tenants, so that too needs to be addressed by Kinsey.


X is the New York Times number 1 bestseller and thrilling, twenty-fourth book in the Kinsey Millhone Alphabet series from Sue Grafton.

In hindsight, I marvel at how clueless I was . . . What I ask myself even now is whether I should have picked up the truth any faster than I did, which is to say not fast enough . . .

When a glamorous red head wishes to locate the son she put up for adoption thirty-two years ago, it seems like an easy two hundred bucks for P. I. Kinsey Millhone. But when a cop tells her she was paid with marked bills, and Kinsey's client is nowhere to be found, it becomes apparent this mystery woman has something to hide. Riled, Kinsey won't stop until she's found out who fooled her and why.

Meanwhile, the widow of the recently murdered P. I. - and Kinsey's old friend - Pete Wolinsky, needs help with her IRS audit. This seemingly innocuous task takes a treacherous turn when Kinsey finds a coded list amongst her friend's files. It soon leads her to an unhinged man with a catalogue of ruined lives left in his wake. And despite the devastation, there isn't a single conviction to his name. It seems this sociopath knows exactly how to cause chaos without leaving a trace.

As Kinsey delves deeper into the investigation she quickly becomes the next target of this tormentor. But can Kinsey prove her case against him before she becomes the next victim?

In this book, our favorite female private detective, Kinsey, gets wrapped up in so many parallel cases at a time. Firstly, she is hired by a rich mid aged lady to find out the whereabouts about an illegitimate son she had ages ago and paid her by cash, but unfortunately the cash that the lady paid Kinsey with are marked as those notes were once used to ransom a lost and invaluable painting, and Kinsey needs to find out who that mysterious client was. Secondly, the widow of her former and late colleague is facing some tax issues regarding the case involving a ruthless and shrewd man and his escapades with many young women over the years and it is clear that someone wants some documents and proof that Kinsey's former colleague kept it to expose that person, unfortunately that person is a clever man who would do anything to stop anybody from being expose and Kinsey must be careful before digging up old dirt. Lastly, Kinsey's landlord, Henry is facing domestic issues with the new next door tenants, and Kinsey must rescue him, before things get messy and out of control for her too.

Well sadly this is my first time that I read any book by such an excellent author, and after reading this book, I'm currently in process of purchasing the previous 23 books from this series. The plot is so well driven with layers of twists and turns that kept me anticipating for the next one, although, the author knows how to concoct a plot with unpredictable turns that will blow the minds of the readers. The only disappoint that I had while reading this book is that there is almost no character development, especially of the main character, whose brief sketch is a complete turn down for such a gripping story line. Nevertheless, the plot simply excelled and overcame all the negative aspects of the story.

The author's writing style is really brilliant and is laced with enough drama to keep the readers on their edges right after the end of each chapter. The narrative is not that engaging enough to arrest the minds of the readers. The pacing of the book is slow but it won't bother the readers too much, as there are so many unraveling mysteries to look forward to. In the beginning, the story opens in a bit dull way, but with the progress of the story, the plot intensifies urging readers to stay glued to the story line.

The mystery concocted by the author is really strikingly as the author steadily unwraps the layers in each puzzle one-by-one thereby increasing suspense and anticipation from the readers. There is not much action though in the plot, yet the each piece of puzzle of such a grand mystery will keep the readers' minds arrested into the story line.

The characters from the book are, sadly, very, very boring and lacks depth hence their development sucked a lot. The main character, Kinsey, is very hard to describe except her humor about herself and her boring and single life style. The supporting cast too fail to interest or excite the plot with their demeanor.

In a nutshell, the story is highly interesting and if you can overlook the characters, then this is a must read book for all the crime fiction fans.

Verdict: Captivating and gripping thriller although the characters lacked growth.

Courtesy: Thanks to the publisher from Pan Macmillan India for giving me an opportunity to read and review this book.

Author Info:
Received the Shamus Award, "The Eye" (Lifetime achievement award) in 2003.
Family History:
Father: C.W. Grafton, born 1909, third son of Presbyterian Missionaries, born and raised in China, educated Presbyterian College, Clinton, South Carolina; practicing attorney in Louisville, Kentucky with a 40-year specialty in municipal bonds. Author of THE RAT BEGAN TO GNAW THE ROPE, THE ROPE BEGAN TO HANG THE BUTCHER, BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT, MY NAME IS CHRISTOPHER NAGEL. Died, 1982.
Mother: Vivian Harnsberger, oldest daughter of Presbyterian Missionaries; born 1908 in Spruce, West Virginia, raised in China, educated at Radford State Teachers College with a degree in secondary education; taught high school chemistry before her marriage in 1932 to C.W. Grafton, a childhood sweetheart. Died 1960.
Siblings: one sister, Ann; a retired librarian who lives in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Personal History:
Subject born in Louisville, Kentucky April 24 1940; graduated University of Louisville, BA 1961 with a major in English Literature, minors in Humanities and Fine Arts.
Subject married to Steven F. Humphrey with three children from previous marriages: a daughter, Leslie; a son, Jay; a daughter, Jamie; and three granddaughters, Erin, age 21, Kinsey, age 13, Taylor, age 4, and Addison, age 2.
Employment History:
Subject has worked in the medical field as an admissions clerk, cashier, and clinic secretary, St. Johns Hospital, Santa Monica; medical secretary to a GP and later medical education secretary, Cottage Hospital, Santa Barbara, California.
Subject has written numerous movies for television: "Walking Through the Fire" for which she won a Christopher Award, 1979, "Sex and the Single Parent," "Mark, I Love You," and "Nurse." In addition, with Steven Humphrey, she adapted two Agatha Christie novels, "Caribbean Mystery" and "Sparkling Cyanide." The two also cowrote "Killer in the Family," and "Love on the Run."
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