Saturday 5 May 2018

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

From Goodreads ~ 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. And before long at least one aspect is solved as Kinsey literally finds the key to his identity. “And just like that,” she says, “the lid to Pandora’s box flew open. It would take me another day before I understood how many imps had been freed, but for the moment, I was inordinately pleased with myself.”

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.

It's the late 1980s and Kinsey Millhone is a private detective in her late thirties in Santa Teresa, CA.  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. 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 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, Ruth, 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.

I thought this story was okay.  The two stories kept going back and forth and I was wondering how they would be interconnected ... everything comes together in the end.  I found the Dace story more interesting than the Pete story.  It was in first person perspective when it was Kinsey's story and third person perspective when it was telling Pete's story. As a head's up, there is swearing.

This book challenges Kinsey's lack of need/want for a family because she comes across relatives on her father's side she didn't know existed. It also shows a more softer side of Kinsey because she befriends Dace's homeless friends (despite their rough edges) and Henry's new cat, Ed.

This is the twenty-third in the "alphabet series" featuring Kinsey Millhone.  Though it is part of a series, it works as a stand alone.  I discovered this series in the mid-1990s and have read them all.  I started rereading them last year.  With the author's recent death, Y is for Yesterday will be the end of the series.

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