Monday, September 16, 2013

W is for Wasted by Sue Grafton

Over the years, I've found some of Sue Grafton's Kinsey MIllhone mysteries to be fascinating, and I never finished some of them. But, the stories are never dull, and Grafton has changed styles, added characters, developed Kinsey's background without taking her out of the 1980s. It can't be easy to write about the same character for 23 books. In W is for Wasted, Kinsey deals with some interesting topics; homelessness, addiction, and medical research. And, she finds out a little more about her background along the way.

Two deaths in 1988 impacted Kinsey's life. She knew one of the dead men, while the death of an unknown man, and her discoveries, changed her life. She knew Pete Wolinsky, a somewhat shady private detective who was shot on a Santa Teresa beach. She didn't know the man who ended up in the morgue with her name and address on a slip of paper in his pocket. But, never introduce a mystery to a private detective with time on her hands. The dead man was homeless, and Kinsey became obsessed with finding out who he was. That search led to a safe deposit box. "And just like that, the lid to Pandora's box flew open. It would take me another day before I understood how many imps had been freed."

Kinsey Millhone's questions lead to a connection between the two deceased men, although neither knew the other. Grafton skillfully intertwines Kinsey's current search for answers in the death of the homeless man with Pete Wolinsky's last case. For those of us who have followed the series, though, the most interesting developments are the new facts about Kinsey's background. For years, she never thought she had a family after the death of her parents when she was five. And, she certainly didn't know anything about her parents and their backgrounds. But, someone remembered her family, and came looking for her.

W is for Wasted is a difficult book to summarize without spoiling the book. Since Kinsey is the narrator, the reader should be just as surprised as she is to uncover the elements of the mystery. Saying that, this is one of the more appealing books in the series, touching on issues in society, and Kinsey's background. If you're one of those readers that pick up some of the books in this series, you'll want to read this one.

Sue Grafton's website is

W is for Wasted by Sue Grafton. G.P. Putnam's Sons. 2013. ISBN 9780399158988 (hardcover),496p.

FTC Full Disclosure - Library book


Beth Hoffman said...

I haven't read a Sue Grafton book in years, and this one sounds good. Thanks for the recommendation, Lesa!

Lesa said...

You're welcome, Beth. They all serve as standalones, so you can pick it up even if you haven't read one of her books in years.

Liz said...

Just finished. One of her better ones I thought, although I've enjoyed most of hers.

Lesa said...

I agree, Liz. I thought it was one of her better ones, too.

Anonymous said...

Glad to read your review. I was forgetting to read this one. (I am also behind on the series.)

--Brenda W.