Today I am reviewing X by Sue Grafton. I received an eGalley of this book in exchange for my honest review.
About the book (from the publisher): X: The number ten. An unknown quantity. A mistake. A cross. A kiss.
X: The shortest entry in Webster’s Unabridged. Derived from Greek and Latin and commonly found in science, medicine, and religion. The most graphically dramatic letter. Notoriously tricky to pronounce: think xylophone.
X: The twenty-fourth letter in the English alphabet.
Sue Grafton’s X: Perhaps her darkest and most chilling novel, it features a remorseless serial killer who leaves no trace of his crimes. Once again breaking the rules and establishing new paths, Grafton wastes little time identifying this sociopath. The test is whether Kinsey can prove her case against him before she becomes his next victim.
My review: I’ve long been a fan of Grafton’s alphabetical Kinsey Millhone series. Somehow, along the way, I missed out on reading the most recent books in the series – perhaps the last 3 or 4.
What was I thinking?
Reading X immediately reminded me of the reason Grafton’s novels are so popular and why I made a point of reading each new release in the series. Kinsey Millhone, private detective, is independent, feisty, methodical, and tough – she knows her marital arts. She’s also compassionate.
Grafton writes with the same methodical quality that Kinsey possesses. She usually juggles at least 2 or more plot lines in the course of a novel and she does it extremely well. With any detective novel, we observe the process of discovery. We watch the detective sort through clues, interview witnesses, eliminate suspects. In this book, we watch as Kinsey tries to build a case against a man that she’s pretty sure is bad through and through. It can be tedious. It can be dangerous. She’s also caught in the middle of a potential heist – another case – and is dealing with a drought and water shortage, along with some mysterious and questionable neighbors.
Grafton knows her stuff. I was completely engrossed in this newest Millhone story from start to finish. Taking place in Santa Teresa (think Santa Maria), these novels paint a vivid picture of that part of California. Time and place are clearly defined, richly and vividly written. Side note: The first novel in this series, A is for Alibi, was published in 1982. Grafton has kept the timeline true to Kinsey’s age, so the novels are still taking place in the 1980’s – without computers, cell phones, or any of the other high-tech wonders we’ve become used to. It’s refreshing.
The supporting cast of characters that are part of Kinsey’s everyday life are here, as they have been throughout the series. We’ve come to know them very well over the course of this series.
It’s an excellent read, one I know you’ll love.
Guess what I’m doing today? I’m going to my library to check out the books I’ve missed!
About the author: Sue Grafton is a writer who fearlessly bends the rules of the genre. Her recognitions include the Cartier Golden Dagger, bestowed by the British Crime Writers’ Association, and the Mystery Writers of American Grand Master Award. She has also won three Shamus Awards, three Anthony Awards, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from Boucheron, and the Ross MacDonald Literary Award. She lives in Montecito and Louisville.
Thank you to NetGalley and Marion Woods Books/Putnam for an eGalley of this book.
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