U IS FOR UNDERTOW
It's hard to believe that this is the 21st book featuring private detective Kinsey Millhone. Grafton's gift is that she keeps readers wanting more. In this outing, she's set up an intricate plot that moves seamlessly back and forth between the 1960s and the '80s. The pieces of a giant puzzle are parceled out a little bit at a time, which keeps readers guessing how it will all come together. The overriding theme here is family and how time and circumstance change the dynamics of that unit. As Kinsey brings this case together, she makes some discoveries about her mother's family that have her looking at her childhood in a new way.
A recent article about the unsolved kidnapping of a young girl that took place more than 20 years ago has unleashed a flood of memories for 27-year-old Michael Sutton. He believes he ran across two men burying the victim when he was 6 and wants Kinsey to look into the case. It's a long shot, but Kinsey is soon fascinated. As she investigates, it becomes clear her client's memory isn't entirely reliable. Is Kinsey on the right path, or has Sutton sent her on a wild goose chase? (PUTNAM, Dec., 416 pp., $27.95)