Sunday, February 28, 2016

3 Stars - X by Sue Grafton

Publisher: Putnam
Mystery
Buy: AMZ

About The Book

X: The number ten. An unknown quantity. A mistake. A cross. A kiss.

X: The shortest entry in Webster’s Unabridged. Derived from Greek and Latin and commonly found in science, medicine, and religion. The most graphically dramatic letter. Notoriously tricky to pronounce: think xylophone.

X: The twenty-fourth letter in the English alphabet.

Sue Grafton’s X: Perhaps her darkest and most chilling novel, it features a remorseless serial killer who leaves no trace of his crimes. Once again breaking the rules and establishing new paths, Grafton wastes little time identifying this sociopath. The test is whether Kinsey can prove her case against him before she becomes his next victim.

~

Going into X, I had already A through P in the Kinsey Millhone series before I burned out. The premise of X and the knowledge this series would soon end brought me back for a trial period, and I worried at first I might be lost. After a few pages, I returned easily to Santa Teresa as though I'd never left. Maybe I need a refresher on some names referenced, but otherwise I had no trouble.

That said, the book's summary calls X Grafton's darkest and most chilling novel yet in the series. I'm not sure about it. There's no lack of suspense, but it comes slowly and gradually and is interrupted by other things Kinsey has going on at the moment. In this adventure she has no real paying clients and has taken on various tasks:

The suspicious next-door neighbors running a long con on dear Henry Pitts.

The deception of a spurned ex-wife who uses Kinsey for her own gain.

Taking on unfinished business from a dead detective acquaintance.

These threads braid into the story and as I read through to the end I figured out much of the conclusion. No surprises for me, but that doesn't necessarily make X a bad story. I get the impression we might revisit some of this in Y and/or Z, but X reads like things are winding down for the series. If you've enjoyed the series, you might like this one.

ARC received from publisher via NetGalley.

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