By Sue Grafton
Read by Judy Kaye
13 1/2 hours
I have read or listened to all of Sue Grafton's novels. The last couple have left me wondering what she was doing. Stretching her wings as a writer, I suppose. Unfortunately, all of this flapping has left Kinsey Milhone, the much-loved female detective of the alphabet series, a bit lost.
In X, Grafton has three subplots going, but no main plot. Even my husband, who listened to the first part of this book with me on our drive to Pennsylvania and back in September, noted the lack of a plot. Trust me, he is no book connoisseur, and if he noticed, then there was no plot.
Apparently as the series winds down, Grafton wants to bring back old characters - I know she brought up the name of several minor characters throughout this book - and I felt like she was trying to wrap up not only the books but her story world, too.
Maybe Kinsey will find some other way to fill her time by the time we hit the final two books.
In this story, a betrayed spouse outwits Kinsey by pretending she's someone she's not in order to steal a valuable painting from the former husband. The new folks who have moved in next door to Kinsey and Henry do not seem to be who they say they are. Kinsey has a banker's box with an envelope in it that seems to mean something, but she's not sure.
The latter subplot was probably meant to be the real mystery, but there wasn't enough meat on that story to make a book. It also ended with a thud. I will say no more in case you want to read the story.
The reviews on Amazon are all over the place on this one - some people give it a four, some give it a two. I don't think it was one of Grafton's best novels, by any stretch of the imagination, and I think she is searching for a way to wrap up this series. She started writing it in 1982 and with the last books staring her in the face, she has to be wondering what's next. This book felt like a writer wandering, trying to figure out what's next.
I also thought Kinsey did a few things in this book that a good, ethical detective would not have done, and that bothered me.
Of course I will read the next books, just like I plodded through Janet Evanovich's bad books in the teens of the Stephanie Plum series (though I admit I am a few books behind on that now).
If you've never read Grafton's books, go back and start at the beginning. If you pick up with X, you will be lost and left wondering what all the fuss is about.