When I started participating in A-Z Wednesday, I thought to myself, "it's possible to go from A to U just reviewing Sue Grafton's Kinsey Milhone novels." But I resisted. Until now.
You see, I have read them all, save the newest book, U is for Undertow. I am on the waiting list for it at the library though. But the first one I read -- and the reason I am tackling Sue Grafton today -- is the excellent H is for Homicide. Many years ago, not long after this book came out in paperback, I was at my son's school's fun fair in May and spied this gem on the book table. I had not read Grafton's previous books but snapped this up anyway. Often, it is confusing to read a book in the middle of a series -- you don't know the characters, you don't know their backstories -- but I decided to risk it. With this book, it didn't matter. A few pages in and I was captivated by both Kinsey Milhone, the sassy private investigator I instantly adored, and the adventurous job and life she leads.
H is for Homicide finds Kinsey investigating auto insurance claims. She ends up spending a night in jail as she hangs out, undercover of course, with a suspect. Anything for a case! Since she's befriended this woman so she can further investigate her, Kinsey then finds herself in a Los Angeles barrio, living in slum conditions with this woman as she continues to secretly spy on those around her. It's quite a predicament. You'll laugh a lot, but you'll also be at the edge of your seat too. A lot. The suspense in this book is, at times, intense.
After I finished H is for Homicide, I began a library quest to find A is for Alibi, the first book in the series, as well as the other books between A and H. That summer, I read my way through all of them and, when I got to H, I re-read it.
Grafton is an excellent author and I highly recommend this series. I also recommend that you start with the first novel, A is for Alibi, and read them all in order. That way, you can appreciate both the character development and the changes Kinsey experiences as the years go by. With the cool nights upon us, I suggest settling in with these books and a mug of the hot beverage of your choice....what a great way to spend an evening!