Kinsey Millhone, the prickly star of Sue Grafton’s California based alphabet series, is no slouch detective. She follows the details, writes notes on 3×5 cards as she gathers information, and is great at ferreting out the facts. In “T is for Trespass,” she still eats way too much fast food, cuts her own hair, takes morning runs near the beach when she’s in the mood, but now drives a ’70 Mustang instead of the beat up ‘74 VW that was totaled in the last book.
Along with other legal detail work, Kinsey is a process server to take care of the bills in between the big cases, and is conscientious about everything she does in her professional life. So, when Kinsey does a cursory background check on a home health aide as a favor, and unwittingly places an elderly neighbor in harm’s way, she feels obligated to undo the damage. The problem is that no one, especially not the neighbor’s reluctant niece who hired Kinsey, wants to be bothered with the inconvenient truth.
The villain in “T is for Trespass,” an evil psychopath, is one of the best that Grafton has written. Grafton has placed us inside the mind of the twisted caregiver and created a chilling character study. I was alarmed, gripping the pages and worried that Kinsey might not survive this one – and we were only up to “T.”
The search for a missing witness to a car accident (with surprising results) unexpectedly overlaps the search for the primary villain. Grafton has set the scenes in the two stories in such a way as to make the overlap seamless and absolutely believable.
Grafton has taken on two issues that affect enormous segments of the 2013 American population – identity theft and health care for senior citizens. She handles the senior care concerns with ripped-from-the-headlines accuracy as she reveals the stark reality of what can happen when our parents/relatives become the victims of elder abuse. Sobering – and it reads like fact, not fiction.
Not too much changes in Kinsey’s personal behavior through the series – the twenty books take place over a five year span in the ‘80s, before cellphones. This way, Kinsey gets shot at, arrested, threatened and harassed, all without backup coming anytime soon.
What a life just to avoid a 9 to 5 schedule. What a ride!
Grafton received the Ross Macdonald Literary Award in 2004 and was named a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America in 2009.
For more about Sue Grafton and her most recent work, please visit www.suegrafton.com