Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Read Lately: U Is For Undertow by Sue Grafton

  • As far as I'm concerned, the government should declare a national holiday whenever Sue Grafton releases a new book. There is no other series that I am so devoted to as the adventures of Kinsey Millhone. So when U Is For Undertow can out at the end of 2009, I was hugely excited. But I held off from buying it for various reason. My beautiful wife wouldn't let me go too long without it, though, and a copy arrived for Christmas. I immediately put down the last book I was working on (I was only a couple pages in) and started reading.

  • Then I didn't finish until mid-February. Hmm. I can't lay all the blame on the book. I've been in a bit of a reading slump. Plus with all the great games out in the last month or two, I've been distracted. Even with the excuses, though, I was up until two AM finishing the last hundred pages.

  • The central mystery of U Is For Undertow is the kidnapping of a little girl that occured in 1967. When a man comes forward in 1988 who vaguely remembers something that maybe might be related to the crime, he turns to Kinsey for help. Mixed in with the mystery are further advancements in Kinsey's relationship with her maternal family, as well as catching up with Henry, Rosie, and a few other regulars from prior novels. Thankfully Grafton does not overwhelm the novel with Kinsey's personal life, finding a better balance than prior books.

  • Following the example of new novels since R Is For Ricochet, Grafton avoids the straightforward first person narrative. This time around, she jumps between the heads of multiple characters in both timeframes. Though telling the story this way is interesting, it pulls the teeth out of the mystery. But Grafton (like in T Is For Tresspass) is telling a different type of story, one for which the structure works okay.

  • U Is For Undertow do not get under my skin the same way her prior novel did, but it's always a treat to spend time with Kinsey Millhone and Sue Grafton.

© 2010 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.

1 comment:

  1. My wife loves Sue Grafton, we have quite a few of her books on the bookshelf.