V IS FOR VENGEANCE
Leave it to Grafton to plait together several fascinating storylines into an intricate braid of murder, blackmail, family loyalties and, perhaps, redemption. Kinsey Milhone’s tough-talking PI is loyal, savvy and honorable, yet also vulnerable and at the mercy of her own impulsiveness. Grafton’s story unfolds in flashback, but with the imperativeness of being “in the moment,” with Kinsey explaining how she wound up with two black eyes and a broken nose on her 38th birthday. It’s a story well worth hearing, as shoplifting, infidelity, gambling and murder twine into one explosive climax.
When Kinsey Milhone spotted a well-dressed middle-aged woman shoplifting and reported her, she never expected to be dragged into a case with so many complications she might not survive it. The woman soon turns up dead, but was it suicide or murder? Kinsey’s hired by the woman’s fiancé to look into it and turns up evidence on a professional shoplifting ring pulling in millions. Then there’s the gentleman gangster who wants out of the family business, a philandering husband whose wife is putting her own plans into motion, the rich kid with a gambling problem who thought he could beat the system and the ex-con and his wife who are keeping one step ahead of a corrupt and brutal cop. (PUTNAM, Nov., 448 pp., $27.95)