Monday, November 18, 2013

*Review* W is for Wasted (Kinsey Millhone #23) by Sue Grafton

W is for Wasted is the 23rd novel in the Kinsey Millhone series. It has been 31 years since A is for Alibi (1982) was released by St. Martins. At the rate these books are being written and released, it will be 2019 before we finally see the end to this series. It is rumored that the series will end with the arrival of the year 1990, but we shall see.

If you haven't already read this series, let me summarize for you. The series itself takes place over the course of the 1980's. W is for Wasted actually takes place in 1988 the same year that I graduated from Ithaca College. Yes, this does, in fact, make me feel a bit old.

38 year old Kinsey Millhone is a private investigator and former police officer living in the fictional city of Santa Teresa, California (based on the city of Santa Barbara). She has been married twice, and divorced twice. She currently lives in a loft provided to her by octogenarian Henry Pitts (88). Henry has always been my favorite. He's been like a father to Kinsey and is always there with food, or a word to the wise to keep Kinsey from self exploding. Henry is now the proud owner of a Japanese cat named Ed who is just as adorable as Henry is.

If you are wondering about the romance angle of this series, Kinsey has had 3 solid possibilities including PI Robert Dietz, and Lt. Cheney Phillips but nothing has panned out to the point where Kinsey can retire from being a PI and just enjoy life. Both men make appearances and play their own parts in the story. The question remains whether or not Grafton will introduce a new character that Kinsey will eventually settle down with since she's pressing 40 years of age.

"Two dead bodies changed the course of my life that fall. One of them I knew and the other I’d never laid eyes on until I saw him in the morgue."

The dead bodies are that of PI of ill-repute Pete Wolinsky and R. Terrence Dace who was found with Kinsey's name and phone number in his pocket. Grafton tells the story from Kinsey's POV and also that of Pete's. I found myself skipping over major parts of Pete's story because I just could not find anything nice to say about him, or his exploits that end up causing his death. I would say that he actually got exactly what he deserved, but that would be a bit callous on my part.

Once again, Grafton jumps into Kinsey's assorted family ties when she is named the executor of Dace's will and finds out that she has been left a hefty amount of money and finds that she has relatives that she did not know existed. Kinsey has always thought of herself as a loaner, and an orphan ever since her parents died when she was 5, and later when her aunt who raised her passed away. It has been a major struggle for Kinsey to realize that the Millhone family is basically gone, while the Kinsey side is still around and she doesn't know how to act or what to say when they're around.

Grafton has a tendency to jump into social issues, and this time it is about the homeless population. On one side Grafton argues that something needs to be done about it, but, doesn't offer any solutions which has plagued this country for centuries. I think Kinsey feels as though someone needs to find a solution and that not all homeless people are lazy and unwilling to do anything about their current situations. Yes, there are those who refuse to clean themselves up and later dive into alcohol and drug abuse. There is no easy solution to this problem.

W is for Wasted is a story that is pretty obvious in the apparent revelation of the antagonist and how the story will end except for the fact that Kinsey has a bit of darkness in her that flares up in the end. I sincerely hope that we don't have to wait until 2015 for the next book. It has been a roller coaster ride of good books and mediocre books.

Author - Sue Grafton
Title - W is for Wasted (Kinsey Millhone # 23)
Publisher - Marian Wood/Putnam
Released - September 10, 2013
Genre - Mystery
Borrowed via Library

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