Wednesday, November 30, 2011

V is for Vengeance

V is for Vengeance by Sue Grafton (NY: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2011).

Kinsey Milhone is back and taking hits again in this latest (twenty-second!) installment of Grafton's alphabetical detective series. Nominally, she's investigating the probable suicide of a woman she witnessed shoplifting at a high-end department store.  The woman's fiance is sure she's been murdered, and Kinsey's equally sure there's more to the death than is immediately apparent.  After all, the woman looked like a pro in the store and her partner-in-crime tried to run Kinsey down in the parking garage.  Various threads emerge--and merge--as Kinsey deals with some seemingly unrelated situations that end up being oddly related as she digs into a shoplifting ring, its organized crime connections, the family at the heart of it, a dirty cop, and more.

Some detective series diminish severely as they progress, but this one continues to deliver.  Kinsey is sharp, caustic, and complex, and this latest case twists and turns engagingly.  Sadly, Kinsey's neighbor Henry is out of town for much of the narrative, but Rosie and William are present for some comic relief.  The crime boss is creepy yet human, and there's even a bit of romance as he pursues a beautiful woman who's tied to him in ways he hadn't anticipated. All in all, highly recommended for Grafton fans new and returning.

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