Wednesday 11 December 2013

Book ~ "W is for Wasted" (2013) Sue Grafton

From ~ "Two dead men changed the course of my life that fall.   One of them I knew and the other I’d never laid eyes on until I saw him in the morgue."

 The first was a local PI of suspect reputation. He’d been gunned down near the beach at Santa Teresa. It looked like a robbery gone bad. The other was on the beach six weeks later. He’d been sleeping rough. Probably homeless. No identification. A slip of paper with Millhone’s name and number was in his pants pocket. The coroner asked her to come to the morgue to see if she could ID him. 

Two seemingly unrelated deaths, one a murder, the other apparently of natural causes.   But as Kinsey digs deeper into the mystery of the John Doe, some very strange linkages begin to emerge.

In this multilayered tale, the surfaces seem clear, but the underpinnings are full of betrayals, misunderstandings, and outright murderous fraud. And Kinsey, through no fault of her own, is thoroughly compromised. 

W is for . . . wanderer . . . worthless . . . wronged . . . W is for wasted.

The body of a homeless man is found on the beach with Kinsey's name and phone number.  When contacted, she has no idea who he, Terrance Dace, an alcoholic and drug addict, is.  You can imagine her surprise when she discovers that Dace is a long lost relative and she is the beneficiary of his estate valued at almost $600,000. This prompts Kinsey, who is a PI, to investigate and she discovers Dace has three adult children and an ex-wife who now want to lay claim to the money, even though they had kicked him out of their lives years ago and turned him away months before when he went to visit them.

A second story involves a shifty PI named Pete Wolinsky who was hired by a husband to tail his wife who he suspects is having an affair.  Pete discovers there is more to this.  Dodging bill collectors, he sees a way to take advantage of what he has learned and goes for it.  All he wants to do is raise some cash so he can take his beloved wife on a fabulous cruise for their 40th anniversary next year.  Unfortunately, Pete is killed, an apparent victim of robbery.

The stories seemingly have nothing to do with each other ... it's not 'til near the end that they come together and we find out how they are connected.

This is the 23rd in the "alphabet series" featuring Kinsey Millhone.  I discovered them in the mid-1990s and have been a fan since and have read them all ... the first one, A is for Alibi, was written in 1982.  They are all set in the 1980s before everyone had a computer, cell phone, etc. When Kinsey is out of town, she has to get a pile of change when she makes long distance calls to her neighbour, Henry.  When she wants to do to research, she has to go to the library.  It's funny to remember the way it was.

The books are substantial (this one is 486 pages) and the plots aren't regurgitated as with another series I read ... I like that Grafton hasn't sold out and is still writing for her readers rather than just for meeting deadlines and making money.  I like the writing style ... it's funny and sarcastic at times.  The language isn't offensive but is for a mature reader.

I enjoyed this book and it kept me interested.  The two stories kept going back and forth and I was wondering how they would be interconnected ... everything comes together in the end.  It was in first person perspective when it was Kinsey's story and third person perspective when it was telling Pete's story.  This book challenges Kinsey's lack of need/want for a family because she comes across relatives she didn't know existed.  It also hows a more softer side of Kinsey because she befriends Dace's homeless friends (despite their rough edges) and Henry's new cat, Ed.

I would recommend this book and am sad that there are only three left before the series is over.

1 comment:

Masshole Mommy said...

I like books that connect the two stories like that.