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Sue Grafton
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A Is for Alibi
paperback
224 pages
First in Sue Grafton's "Alphabet Series". When divorc lawyer Laurence Fife got murdered, plenty of people had reason to want him dead. Soon a suspect was found in the shape of his wife Nikki who found out about his affairs and checked all the boxes, motive, access and opportunity. She was convicted and sentenced.

Eight years later and out on parole, Nikki hires Kinsey Millhone, P.I., to find the real killer. Even though the trail is cold after 8 years Kinsey starts to dig around and find out what happened to all those people that might have wanted Laurence dead all those years ago.. With better result than is healthy!

Quite tense thriller with a good plot, a good dose of humour, some nice plot-layers and an excellent lead figure in P.I. Kinsey Millhone..
Excellent!
7/10
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Sue Grafton
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B is for Burglar
paperback
384 pages
The second installment in the popular Alphabet series. Once again we meet Kinsey Millhone, a quirky no-nonsense gal who lives in a converted garage apartment and drives a VW bug. Though she may sound boring, you'll soon see that the life of this private investigator is anything but ordinary.

When Kinsey arrives at her office one morning, a woman is waiting out front. Turns out she's Beverly Danziger and that she wants to hire Kinsey to locate her sister Elaine Boldt, who's dissapeared without a trace. It seems like a simple case, so Kinsey's off to do a little legwork. When she arrives at Elaine's Santa Teresa appartment she finds out she's probably left to stay in her summer residence in Florida.

However, once Kinsey gets down to Florida it turns out nobody there has seen her either, and someone else is staying in Elaind's place, claiming to be subletting it and having spoken to Pat before..

Then she finds out there's been a suspicious death only a few doors down from Elaine's place, and she starts suspecting foul play. Then however she gets pulled of the case by Beverly Danziger, which of course only adds to Kinsey's suspicion..

Again the story is made by the details and depth given to portraying Kinsey's struggle with life as an independent woman. Although the plot is good enough to keep the suspense it's not one of the best of the series

At the end things improve and get exciting again, so overall we can give it a recommended!
8/10
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Sue Grafton
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D is for Deadbeat
paperback
352 pages
PI novel from Sue Graftons Alphabet Series. Private investigator Kinsey Millhone gets hired by a mysterious stranger calling himself Alvin Limbardo. Despite the fact she has a strange feeling about him from the start she accepts the job because it should be fairly easy money. He wants to hire Kinsey to deliver a $25000 check to someone named Tony Gahan. She sets of the trace down the guy but before she gets a chance she finds her suspicions confirmed when the check he gave her as advance bounces.

She tries to track down Limbardo but soon finds out he was using a fake name. His real name is John Daggett, and he turns out to be an ex con with five counts of vehicular manslaughter under his belt. And he's just been found dead on a beach..

As she's still holding the check for $25000 she feels obliged to stick to it and find the mysterious Tony Gahan. She soon finds out he's the son of one of the victims of John Daggett. Although the police are treating John Daggett's death as accidental, Kinsey's convinced there's more to it. Then John's daughter contacts her to hire her to investigate her Dad's death, and she sets out to find out the truth about who killed John Daggett.

It doesn't take her long to figure out there's plenty of people who rejoiced to hear John Daggett had died, including his 2 wives and those left behind due to John's crimes. Not to mention those whose money John stole to pay for the $25000 check...

D is for Deadbeat chronicles Kinsey's hunt for answers. The investigation has her going to Los Angeles and back, dealing with people from all walks of life. Not the most cheerful of the Alphabet Series it starts depressing and doesn't get much better further down the line. The way Kinsey's portrayed makes for an entertaining read and there's enough suspense and suspects to maintain a reader's interest.
Recommended!
7/10
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Sue Grafton
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E is for Evidence
paperback
240 pages
Fifth novel in Sue Grafton's Aphabet Series. It's Christmas and things aren't looking too great for Kinsey Millhone. She discovers someone's deposited $5,000 in her account, and she has no idea who it was. To top it all off all her friends have left and she's looking forward to celebrating the holidays on her own. Lukcily she gets a job from her ex-employer, landlord and neighbours, California Fidelity Insurance to investigate a suspicious warehouse fire.

Kinsey examines the evidence at Wood/Warren, a family-owned manufacturer of hydrogen furnaces. She's been giving the fire officer's report and has been asked to verify it's findings that there's nothing suspicious to be found. She can indeed not find anything out of the ordinary so she ok's the claim and heads back to her office at California Fidelity Insurance to record her findings and then go home to enjoy her lack of holiday celebration.

Christmas hasn't passed yet or Kinsey is summoned to the office to be interrogated about her report. When she gets to the office she's presented with a completely different version of the fire officers report, stating that it appears that someone tried to burn the Wood/Warren warehouse down in an attempt to collect insurance money. As Kinsey has $5000 in her account and is used to be friends with one of the daughters of the Wood family suspicion has fallen on her.

California Fidelity prohibits Kinsey from accessing her office and with nothing to do and no office in which to do it, Kinsey heads home to investigate her own case. To top it all of she finds her 2nd ex-husband Daniel there on the doorstep, which is the last thing she needs! When she gets rid of him she goes off to talk to the Woods family to find out their side of the story and promplty gets invited to a evening party by one of the daughters..

And then things start getting really explosive!

Excellent addition to the series and the best one I've read so far, magnificent characters, great plot and plenty of speed and tension make this a definite must-read. Superb!

7/10
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Sue Grafton
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F is for Fugitive
paperback
352 pages
Yet another one of Sue Grafton's Alphabet series. Kinsey's taken up a case in a little town down the coast. Royce Foyler, local hotel owner, has hired her to investigate the case of High school senior Jean Timberlake, who was strangled at the Floral Beach seawall. Problem is of course this happened seventeen years ago... Her one-time boyfriend Bailey Fowler, Royce's son, confessed at the time and was charged with the crime and sent to prison. He eventually escaped while on work detail 1 year after..

Sixteen years later he was nabbed in a case of mistaken identity, whilst living a lowabiding, straight life, holding down a successful job. This time around her withdraws his confession and it's up to Kinsey to find out who did kill Jean all those years ago..

Under the idylic front of a nite little seaside resort unexpected things are brewing, as can be expected.. Kinsey needs all her wits about her to unravel all the threads..

Bit slow to start but things get exciting at the end. Not the best in the series but good enough to be worth reading!
7/10
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Sue Grafton
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R Is for Ricochet
hardcover
300 pages
Kinsey Millhone's on the job again. As times are a little slow she decides to take on a what appears an easy money assignment escorting a released convict back to her home, on behalf of her rather wealthy father.

All she has to do is to make sure she registers with the parole board and stays away from booze, drugs and bad company for a few days until she gets back on her feet.

Of course this would be a rather boring book if all went according to plan. Turns out Reba and Kinsey get along quite well, and soon she finds out that Reba commited her crime for a man, who also happened to be her boss. Then Reba finds out he's not quite so innocent himself and he's not only cheating on her with her best friend, but also trying to fool her into believing he's going to leave his wife for her. Before Kinsey realises it she's deeply involved in Reba's crusade to get back at the man who put her in jail.

Whilst all this is going Kinsey also runs in to an old love interest, police officer Cheney. It doesnt take long before they're mixing pleasure and business..

Reba really comes to life in this novel, as one of Grafton's more endearing creations. It almost seems like Grafton's spend more time creating a character out of Reba and that Kinsey's playing second fiddle..
Let's hope this isn't a sign of fatique and that in the next outing it'll be Kinsey once more who's the star of the book..

Not a bad attempt but by far not the best in the series, story is quite captivating but things seem a little slow at times, although the end makes up for that somewhat..
Good read!
8/10
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Sue Grafton
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H is for Homicide
paperback
288 pages
One morning, Kinsey Millhone arrives at work to find the building surrounded by police cars and yellow crime tape. The body on the street is that of Parnell Perkins, her co-worker at California Fidelity.


The murder is quite a shock to Kinsey. She copes by burying herself in private investigation work. Her current case involves Bibianna Diaz, suspected of making a faulty worker's compensation claim.

Kinsey dons a fake name and disguise and befriends Bibianna in an attempt to expose her as a fraud. The trusty p.i. gets more then she bargains for and winds up criminally linked to Bibianna.

In order to save her own hide and hopefully solve her case, Kinsey cooperates with her colleague, Lieutenant Dolan of the Santa Teresa Police Department. He tells her that Bibianna's small comp case is actually linked to a massive fraud ring out of Los Angeles. Since Kinsey has made so much headway with Bibianna, Dolan wants her to continue her disguise and infiltrate the ring.

Kinsey reluctantly agrees and finds herself in a world of danger. Raymond, the head of the crime ring, is a very dangerous man. Kinsey tries to stay close to Bibianna. The result is both women virtually being held prisoner by Raymond's gang.

Millhone gets the answers she's looking for, but can she get out alive with the story? Until then, can she play her role safely without the crooks finding out her true identity?

Car insurance scams, medical fraud, and murder: these are the subjects in the eighth installment of the Kinsey Millhone series titled "H" is for Homicide.

For readers who are not familiar with the series or title character, here's a quick description. Kinsey Millhone, a quirky no-nonsense gal who lives in a converted garage apartment and drives a VW bug. Though she may sound boring, readers soon see that the life of this private investigator is anything but ordinary.

I've read most of the books in this popular Sue Grafton series and enjoy them all. Unfortunately, "H" is for Homicide is not one of my favorites. I had a hard time accepting Kinsey in her role as prisoner in disguise. My favorite scenes in these books are of Kinsey hightailing it up and down the state in her trusty VW Bug, gradually gathering clues until the mystery is solved.

In this story, the poor girl is trapped in a filthy apartment with dangerous gang members throughout most of the plot. Granted, she stays in character. All the famous wise cracks are present, but the depressing setting made me feel closed in as a reader as well.

I don't criticize Grafton's choice of story line. Car insurance scams are a popular career option in California. Perhaps the path the plot took is what bothers me. The epilogue is rather short. For such a wild case, I need a little more debriefing.

Of course, this is just a matter of reader preference. I still love Kinsey as a character and the way she lives through Grafton's words.

The one legitimate criticism I have pertains to background information. Since this is a series, its necessary to fill readers in on past events. If a reader begins the series in the middle, he or she can't get a picture of the character is question. Grafton is usually pretty good at providing this information, but there was less of it in this book. I doubt new readers would be lost, but they wouldn't know the real Kinsey.

Just because "H" is for Homicide isn't my highest-rated book doesn't mean it should be skipped. There's nothing wrong with this story; it's simply one of my least favorites.

I still recommend that you pick up a copy of "H" is for Homicide. Fans of the series must read them all. Most of my complaints about this book are a matter of personal preference. Who knows? You may think this Sue Grafton work is an excellent installment in the series
6/10
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Sue Grafton
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G is for Gumshoe
paperback
304 pages
This is the seventh adventure for Kinsey Milhone and in this one who needs the help of a bodyguard. Receiving a call on her 33rd birthday from a fellow private investigator, she learns that she is the target of Tyrone Patty, a killer she helped track down. He suggests she might think about getting a body guard. But Kinsey feels she has better things to do with her money and decides to tackle her next case.

This case is one of tracking down her client's mother who lives on the edge of the Mojave Desert and is rather eccentric. But before she can even start the case, she is run off the road by a red pick up truck, wrecking her 1968 VW and landing her in the local hospital.
Maybe a body guard is a good idea after all. Enter Robert Dietz, a burnt out detective in his late 40's, with bad knees. Not only is he her body guard but he becomes her lover and this is something that Kinsey was not planning on at all.

One of the better books in the series!
8/10
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Sue Grafton
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I is for Innocence
paperback
304 pages
California's formidable PI Kinsey Millhone finds herself fired from her comfortable arrangement with Fidelity Insurance. Now she is forced to rent office space from busy Santa Teresa lawyer Lonnie Kingman. His usual outside investigator Morley Shine has died of a heart attack, and he asks Kinsey to take over the case that Morley was working on.

It involves the upcoming trial of David Barney, acquitted of the six-year-old murder of his wife, Isabelle, but now being sued for wrongful death in civil court by Isabelle's first husband, Ken Voigt. Voigt, represented by Lonnie Kingman, is sure that Barney killed Isabelle and wants to keep her considerable fortune out of his hands. Lonnie thinks he has a strong case, buoyed by damning new evidence from ex-convict Curtis McIntyre.

But when Kinsey starts her investigation she she finds a surprising number of people with reasons to hate Isabelle, such as Voigt's second wife, Francesca, and Isabelle's business mentor Peter Weidmann and his overprotective wife, Yolanda. She also uncovers curious gaps in Morley's files and begins to question his "heart attack", as Lonnie's seemingly solid case collapses bit by bit, with her own life on the line in the gritty finale.

One of the better in the Alphabet series, with a sober, resolute Kinsey, and a clever, well devised mystery. Yet another recommended for Sue Grafton!
7/10
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Running Apache