Wednesday, October 13, 2010

U is for Undertow by Sue Grafton

It's April, 1988, a month before Kinsey Millhone's 38th birthday and she's alone in her office doing paperwork when a young man arrives unannounced. He has a preppy air about him and looks as if he'd be carded if he tried to buy booze, but Michael Sutton is 27, an unemployed college drop-out. Twenty-one years before, a four-year old girl disappeared. A recent reference to her kidnapping has triggered a flood of memories. Sutton now believes he stumbled on her lonely burial when he was six years old. He wants Kinsey's help in locating the child’s remains and finding the men who killed her. It’s a long shot but he's willing to pay cash up front and Kinsey agrees to give him one day. As her investigation unfolds, she finds out Michael Sutton has an uneasy relationship with the truth. In essence, he's the boy who cried wolf. Is his current story true or simply one more in a long line of fabrications?

Grafton moves the narrative between the eighties and the sixties, changing points of view, building multiple subplots, and creating memorable characters. Gradually, we see how they all connect. But at the beating center of the novel is Kinsey Millhone, sharp-tongued, observant, a loner—"a heroine," said The New York Times Book Review, "with foibles you can laugh at and faults you can forgive."

This is my first Sue Grafton book and I'll be back for more. I think I got it as a book club selection. In the beginning I was only getting 10 to 15 minutes of read time at a sitting and it was definitely difficult to keep up with the characters. Lots of mystery and intrigue. Another "oh what a tangled web we weave" if you know what I mean. After years of covering up a bad past it will eventually come back to haunt you. Lots of little side lines going on at once including some from Kinsey Millhone who was orphaned at the young age of 4 and then raised by her aunt. Good read, you'll want to keep reading to see who dun it.


B Boys Mom said...

I think I have some of her books. I'll look for them for you.

Becki said...

Is this really your first Sue Grafton book???

You've been Boo'd! Check out this post for details: