July 27, 2017

‘K’ Is For Killer by Sue Grafton

Lorna Kepler was beautiful and willful, a loner who couldn't resist flirting with danger. Maybe that's what killed her.

Her death had raised a host of tough questions. The cops suspected homicide, but they could find neither motive nor suspect. Even the means were mysterious: Lorna's body was so badly decomposed when it was discovered that they couldn't be certain she hadn't died of natural causes. In the way of overworked cops everywhere, the case was gradually shifted to the back burner and became another unsolved file.

Only Lorna's mother kept it alive, consumed by the certainty that somebody out there had gotten away with murder.

In the ten months since her daughter's death, Janice Kepler had joined a support group, trying to come to terms with her loss and her anger. It wasn't helping. And so, leaving a session one evening and noticing a light on in the offices of Millhone Investigations, she knocked on the door.

In answering that knock, Kinsey Millhone is pulled into the netherworld of unavenged murder, where only a pact with the devil will satisfy the restless ghosts of the victims and give release to the living they have left behind.

I just need to mention how much I love Kinsey as a character. I feel like I identify with her and her sassiness and general inability to deal with people’s nonsense. She makes me laugh every time I read one of the books. She also has actual deep feeling though, and those were on display in this book with Danielle. It is a shame we will not be able to know whether they could develop a deeper friendship or not.

This was one of those mystery books were everyone seems like they are guilty. They are all a little bit off, and I was almost positive that everyone was guilty at one point. I am extremely dissatisfied with how this novel closed though. I feel like there was no real conclusion and that it wasn’t actually solved.

I wish we would have figured out more about the motive of the murder, more about the relationships that Lorna had with people, and who the heck she was getting married to. There were a lot of things that I wanted more of, but I guess it would have been too long of a book at that point.

Reading about Kinsey barely sleeping and then messing up her sleeping schedule was also hilarious and I felt myself identifying with her more.

If we could  have gotten more of a resolution and a deeper dive into the relationships, this book would get a full 5-star rating.

3/5 Stars

Memorable Quotes: "I'm the current ranking expert at reading upside down and seldom hesitate to insert myself into matters that are not my concern."

“Sometimes anxiety and caffeine have the same effect.”

“I could feel my stomach lurch at the thought of more coffee. The cups I’d consumed were already making my brain vibrate like an out-of-balance washing machine.”

“I fell asleep wondering if there was a cause-and-effect relationship between memory loss and abstinence. Apparently so, as that was the last thing I was aware of for the next four hours.”

“If I’d gone to bed at nine or even ten o’clock, I could have slept through the night. But now my sleep permit had reached its expiration point. Having stayed awake this long, I was consigned to further wakefulness.”

“’I didn’t actually say that, but if I did, I lied. I’m really a wretched person. I’m sorry you didn’t understand that. Now get out of my car’”

“My phone rang at noon. I’d been awake for an hour but unwilling to stir. Having completed my transmigration into the nocturnal realms, I found the notion of getting up any time before two repugnant.”

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July 20, 2017

“J” Is For Judgment by Sue Grafton

"J" is for Jaffe: Wendell Jaffe, dead these past five years. Or so it seemed until his former insurance agent spotted him in the bar of a dusty little resort halfway between Cabo San Lucas and La Paz.
Five years ago, when Jaffe's thirty-five-foot Fuji ketch was found drifting off the Baja coast, it seemed a sure thing he'd gone overboard. The note he left behind admitted he was flat broke, his business bankrupt, his real estate gambit nothing but a huge Ponzi scheme about to collapse, with criminal indictment certain to follow. When the authorities soon after descended on his banks and his books, there was nothing left: Jaffe had stripped the lot.
But Jaffe wasn't quite without assets. There was the $500,000 life insurance policy made out to his wife and underwritten by California Fidelity. With no corpse to prove death, however, the insurance company was in no hurry to pay the claim. Dana Jaffe had to wait out the statutory five years until her missing husband could be declared legally dead. Just two months before Wendell Jaffe was sighted in that dusty resort bar, California Fidelity finally paid in full. Now they wanted the truth. And they were willing to hire Kinsey Millhone to dig it up.
As Kinsey pushes deeper into the mystery surrounding Wendell Jaffe's pseudocide, she explores her own past, discovering that in family matters as in crime, sometimes it's better to reserve judgment.
"J" is for judgment: the kind we're quick to make and often quicker to regret.
"J" Is for Judgment: Kinsey Millhone's tenth excursion into the dark places of the heart where duplicity is the governing rule and murder the too-frequent result.
J Is For Judgment takes us on an interesting journey with Kinsey. From traveling to Mexico, pretending to be a hooker, getting shot at, and swimming out to sea, there definitely wasn’t any down time for our favorite Private Investigator.

We also got a little peek into the history of Kinsey’s family and actually met some of her family members. We didn’t think there were any of them. She has always been used to being alone, not suddenly she has a lot of family pretty close by. I hope the next book explores her family a bit more, but I also kind of hope that they don’t become super prominent characters. Kinsey has always worked better on her own, and I think it should stay that way. For now, if anything. Having family nearby adds for an interesting wrinkle in the story, though, and I do think it should be explored.

As for her investigator storyline, this one was a bit different because she wasn’t trying to figure out who was guilty for most of the book, she was just trying to prove that someone was alive. Once she gets further into her investigation, we meet one really interesting but messed up family.

The family in this one certainly made for an interesting plot, but they were almost less “exciting” that characters in some of the other books. By less exciting, I mean they didn’t really do a whole lot.

The way this one ended, it makes me wonder if Renata will show up again in another book or not. I’m not sure there would be much of a need for her to, but I am curious about it.

Overall, another solid Kinsey story. There was a lot of action in this one. I think I want one with her interacting more with the people she knows and loves in the next one – maybe even a romance. You never know what Kinsey is going to get into.

4/5 Stars

Memorable Quotes: “The hard thing about death is that nothing ever changes. The hard thing about life is that nothing stays the same.”

“I pictured myself impales on an ornamental shrub. Not a pretty sight, that one – a hard-assed private eye, punctures by a sticker bush.”

“If I didn’t work on behalf of law enforcement, I’d be in jail, I’m sure.”

“I’ve never once downed a hit of NyQuil without shuddering violently afterward. Nonetheless, I’m aware that I harbor all the incipient characteristics of an over-the-counter cold medicine addict.”

“I perched on a bar stool, munching junk food while I sorted through the mail I’d stolen. It’s hard to give up chronic thievery when my crimes net me such a bonanza of information.”

“Please understand: I don’t have the answers. I’m simply posing the questions. God knows I have questions about my own life to answer yet.”

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