Saturday, January 2, 2010

Book review: U is for Undertow, Sue Grafton

From The Independent Weekly (Australia) --

Book review: U is for Undertow, Sue Grafton --

23 Dec, 2009 --

Kinsey Millhone is back for another outing as the series gets perilously close to the end of the alphabet. What fate awaits the doughty protagonist as Z advances?

In the late’ 80s, Kinsey is interviewing Michael Sutton. He is having a delayed reaction to something he saw when he was a small child in the late ’60s. Two days after Mary Claire Fitzhugh was kidnapped, Michael says he saw two men digging a hole that would accommodate the body of a small child. What the police find at the site when they dig it up gives Kinsey reason to extend her inquiries.

Meanwhile, also back in the late ’60s, Deborah Unruh has to give shelter to her dropout son and his heavily pregnant hippie girlfriend and her small son. When the child is born, Shelly, the mother, has no compunction about moving on with Greg, Deborah’s son, and leaving the child, Rain, to grow up as Deborah’s adored daughter.

The melding of these two threads is done well and the introduction of Kinsey’s family problems serves to keep the interest of the reader on the investigator.

The characters are believable, including, unfortunately, the baddies, who are very bad indeed. Michael Sutton, the fellow who starts Kinsey on the case, is a strange bird indeed.

Further chunks of Kinsey’s family are no doubt lying in wait for readers as the author approaches the terminus of the alphabet. – Macmillan, $32.99

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